Facing an arrest warrant may trigger fear and confusion for defendants, but a person should consider all of his or her options before self-reporting. He or she should seek clarity on the charges and type of warrant, and consider the need for an attorney.
Clarifying the Type of Warrant
There are several types of warrants, each with different implications. Knowing the type of warrant helps defendants determine the best way of handling the situation. Most warrants specify the charges made against the defendant. If the charges are not clear, defendants can search online by looking at cases filed in the relevant county courts. The defendant can also ask a bondsman to check the charges with the sheriff’s department.
Cost warrants relate to money that an individual owes courts. They can result from unpaid tickets, fines, and other charges the defendant has failed to pay. Depending on the jurisdiction, a defendant can pay the fines directly or set up a payment plan. Some states require defendants to make a cash bond or get a bondsman to deposit a bond guaranteeing that the defendant will return for court hearings.
Bench warrants are issued by courts when a defendant fails to turn up for court hearings. Courts may also issue bench warrants when new charges have been filed against a defendant or when there is probable cause that a crime was committed. Sometimes courts set a bond amount for the bench warrant.
If the Defendant Can Post A Bond
Most warrants indicate the amount of bond to be paid by the defendant. If the amount is too high, the defendant can ask his or her lawyer to file for bond reduction. If there is no bond, the defendant may have to appear in court before he or she can secure a bond.
Does the Defendant Need an Attorney?
Most warrants by city and municipal courts do not require the defendant to have an attorney. However, defendants have the right to an attorney and should seek counsel if they require guidance navigating their case. Felonies and misdemeanors may require the defendant to retain a lawyer. The attorney handles court proceedings and may be able to help the defendant get charges expunged.
The defense attorney helps defendants understand the court process, gives them legal advice, protects their rights, and represents them before the judge or district attorney.