Many times during the week I receive calls from people asking, “can you check to see if I have a warrant for my arrest?” So what exactly is an arrest warrant? An arrest warrant is issued by a judge or a magistrate that authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest and detain a person. To obtain an arrest warrant, a law enforcement officer must give sworn testimony or an affidavit establishing facts to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a person committed a crime. Probable cause is one of those fancy legal words that basically means that there is evidence which indicates that the accused probably committed the offense. This is not a high hurdle for an officer to clear, and getting an arrest warrant is a relatively easy task. The bigger hurdle comes later, when the prosecution has to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt – this is a much tougher task. An arrest warrant is different than a bench warrant or a search warrant. We will discuss each of those in the future. The most practical advice that I give to clients, who may be faced with an arrest warrant, is to not resist arrest or make any statements, but to calmly cooperate. This makes the process go more quickly and smoothly. If there is a challenge to the arrest warrant, that can be done by a lawyer in court – not on the side of the road.
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