Many interactions with police officers are precipitated by alarming events or questionable circumstances, which can understandably make people hesitate before opening the door to communication. The reluctance to contact law enforcement is especially present if a person has had negative run-ins with police in the past, and finding out one has an outstanding arrest would certainly fall into this category. Most people only learn they are subject to arrest when pulled over for a driving infraction, but sometimes people discover the warrant through a search of court records or background check.
Having advance notice that the police are actively searching and authorized to arrest upon identification can cause panic and shock, and contacting an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney should be the first thing anyone facing this situation should do. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will know how to address the situation and neutralize the negative effects on the person to the best extent possible. The most important thing, though, is to resist the urge to flee, and instead to handle the situation head-on – attempting to circumvent the warrant will only prolong the process, and could make the situation worse. A discussion about the issuance and execution of arrest warrants, as well as ways to invalidate and otherwise respond to them, will follow below.
Issuing and Executing Arrest Warrants
Arrest warrants are orders issued by a judge that authorize police to arrest and detain a person on suspicion of involvement in a crime. Judges issue arrest warrants based on evidence presented to them by law enforcement, a district attorney or through a grand jury indictment. The evidence must show that there is a reasonable belief a person committed a crime, and if the judge agrees, a warrant is issued.
Judges issue warrants, but law enforcement executes them. Typically, police will first attempt to locate and arrest the person at home or at work, i.e., the places where people spend most of their time. Felony warrants can be executed at anytime, but warrants for misdemeanor offenses can only be executed between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., unless the arrest is made in public, the person is already in custody on another matter, or the warrant says it can be executed at any time.
When Warrants May Be Invalid
Once a warrant is issued, police must execute it within a reasonable time, and if they fail to do so, the person could be entitled to a dismissal of the charges based on the violation of his/her right to a speedy trial. Beyond the timeframe of the execution of a warrant, challenges to the warrant itself will only succeed if certain legal technicalities are tripped, which, even if proven, do not get rid of the case. Further, even improper execution of the warrant will not entitle someone to a dismissal of charges, but a defense attorney will argue any evidence obtained as a result of the arrest should be excluded. If police action was unjust or prejudiced the case, it will be easier to exclude additional evidence, which could lead to a reduction in charges or complete dismissal.
Bail and Voluntary Surrender
Finally, it is important to realize that bail will be set when the warrant is issued, excluding limited exceptions for certain serious offenses, which, if posted, entitles the arrestee to leave police custody. A criminal defense attorney may also be able to convince a court to reduce the bail or release someone without bail on the promise he/she will appear at the next court date, known as on his/her own recognizance.
While a person is free to voluntarily present themselves before a judge if he/she learns of an outstanding warrant, the likelihood of convincing the judge to “squash” or cancel the warrant is extremely small, and the person will likely end up being arrested anyway. If a criminal defense attorney appears before the judge instead, the attorney has much better chance getting the warrant cleared before penalties attach.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Knowing you could be arrested at any time on an arrest warrant is an extremely stressful situation that you should not try to handle alone. Hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your interests with the district attorney and judge. This representation will allow you to focus on making arrangements to pay any necessary bail and/or take time away from work without losing your job. The Los Angeles Manshoory Law Group, APC will give the effort your case requires to get you best possible result, regardless of the charges. Attorneys are available 24/7. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.