What Happens When There’s a Warrant Out for Your Arrest?
Maybe you missed a court date, violated parole, or overlooked paying fines on time. Whatever the reason for your warrant, it signals urgent legal issues requiring a quick response.
Unfortunately, many people facing potential arrest don’t fully understand the implications surrounding warrants. You wonder:
Will I face jail time if arrested? How long do warrants remain active? Should I consult with a criminal defense lawyer?
This article breaks down need-to-know basics surrounding warrants, typical causes, potential consequences, working with counsel, and taking proper next steps. Understand critical contexts around arrest warrants so you can address matters responsibly if one surfaces targeting you or a loved one.
What Exactly is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a legal document that gives law enforcement the authority to arrest you if they believe you’ve committed a crime.
There are several types of warrants, but for this discussion, we’ll focus on two: arrest warrants and bench warrants. An arrest warrant is issued when a crime has been committed, and there’s probable cause you’re involved. On the other hand, a bench warrant is typically issued when you’ve failed to appear in court as ordered.
Understanding these realities can empower you, helping you feel more secure and less anxious about the unexpected. Knowledge is power, and you deserve to wield it.
How Arrest Warrants Are Issued in Minnesota
Arrest warrants in Minnesota must be issued by a judge if the complaint and supporting documents show probable cause that the defendant committed the offense. The requirements and procedures include:
When a Warrant is Required
A judge must issue an arrest warrant if probable cause is established by the complaint. In some cases, a summons may be issued instead of a warrant unless:
- There is a substantial likelihood the defendant won’t appear
- The defendant’s location is unknown
- Arrest is necessary to prevent harm
The contents of the warrant will include:
- Defendant’s name/description
- Description of the charged offense
- Bail amount and other release conditions set by a judge
Per MN law, warrants are executed by authorized law enforcement officers. Defendants must be brought promptly before the issuing court if in session or within 36 hours, excluding the day of arrest.
Misdemeanor warrants cannot be executed on Sundays or 10 pm-8 am on weeknights unless urgent.
Summons can be issued instead of a warrant for misdemeanors punishable only by fines. Summons orders the defendant to appear in court at a stated time.
A summons may be served by officers or court administrators, including by mail/electronic.
What to Know About Arrest Warrants and Potential Jail Time
If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, you’ll face a series of legal consequences that can significantly impact your life.
When a warrant is issued, your legal situation immediately changes. You can be arrested at any time and any place, disrupting your daily routine and your sense of safety. The warrant will be part of your permanent record, visible to anyone conducting a background check. This could affect your employment prospects, housing applications, and more.
Evading arrest or attempting to outrun the law only compounds the problem. The charge of evading can add additional fines, jail time, or both to your sentence. It can also negatively affect how courts view your case, as it suggests a lack of respect for the law and an unwillingness to face your actions.
Can I Just Pay Off My Warrant to Resolve It?
Potentially, yes. Some minor, non-violent offenses like traffic violations, petty theft, or failure to appear carry bond amounts listed directly on warrants themselves. However, guidelines vary widely across states, counties, and individual judges issuing warrants regarding eligibility just to forfeit cash guarantees instead of arrest booking and formal court dates.
Always consult with a criminal defense lawyer first before attempting to independently negotiate bond payments. The specific nature of your charges, background, and outstanding actions requested in the warrant can greatly change rules on who qualifies for paying rather than appearing.
Directly contacting courts without counsel risks accidentally admitting guilt prematurely or accepting unfavorable rulings without grasping finer details.
How to Respond to a Warrant For Your Arrest
The moment you learn there’s a warrant out for your arrest, it’s crucial to understand your options and take appropriate action. Don’t panic, but treat the situation seriously. Engaging in smart decision-making can lead to a smoother warrant resolution process and less stressful police interaction.
Consider the following steps:
- Remain calm and do not panic. An arrest warrant sounds intimidating, but there are options.
- Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Choose an experienced lawyer to represent you.
- Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to voluntarily surrender or wait for police to make the arrest. There are pros and cons to each approach. Trust their expertise about the best legal strategy.
- Ask your attorney to handle communicating with the court and prosecution/law enforcement regarding the warrant. Negotiating on your behalf is their role.
- Work closely with your lawyer in developing your defense strategy and deciding how to plead to the charges. Carefully consider all of your options and the lawyer’s counsel when making this important decision.
- Be completely open and honest with your attorney so they can most effectively advise and represent you on the case. Providing accurate information is key.
- Promptly meet any bail conditions or release requirements so you can exit custody and prepare your defense.
The key is retaining an experienced Minnesota criminal justice attorney right away. Let the lawyer’s expertise guide your responses rather than taking actions out of panic or lack of understanding of the law. This gives you the best chance of resolving the situation favorably.
Legal Rights and Protections When You Have a Warrant Out
You’re entitled to certain legal rights and protections, even when a warrant is issued for your arrest. The importance of Miranda Rights can’t be overstated. These rights ensure you’re aware of your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney, and what can happen if you choose to speak. It’s your shield against self-incrimination and uninformed decisions.
Being part of a community means being informed and protected, so remember, the police must read your Miranda Rights during your arrest. If they don’t, any self-incriminating statements you make could be excluded in court. Your rights provide a sense of belonging and security in a situation that can feel isolating and intimidating.
Got an Arrest Warrant? Don’t Ignore It. Call NOW.
So, if you’ve got a warrant out for your arrest, it’s crucial to understand the process. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. The consequences are severe, and responding appropriately is key.
Remember, you’ve got legal rights and protections. Get legal help immediately to navigate this situation. Don’t let an arrest warrant dictate your life. Take control, be informed, and make the right decisions to protect your future.
Contact us today to discuss your options.