Frequently Asked Question: What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?

November 20, 2012

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This is another segment in a series of blogs which is dedicated to provide answers to frequently asked legal questions related to criminal law. If you are charged with a crime (felony or misdemeanor) you may be arrested on an outstanding warrant or receive a notice from the court or police directing you to personally surrender yourself to the police or to appear at court.

Our Macomb County criminal defense lawyers get asked this question all the time: What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?

A criminal arrest warrant is a written court order directing for the arrest and detention of a person. If you have received notice or have knowledge that there is a warrant for your arrest, it is just a matter of time before you will be arrested. When a warrant is issued (signed by the judge), the court may send a notice to the party (criminal defendant) for a hearing (arraignment) to address the issue of bond or detention of the defendant while a criminal case is pending. If someone receives a notice (from the court or police) regarding the existence of a warrant or has other knowledge of an active warrant, an attorney should be retained immediately to arrange a court date and have the warrant cancelled and bond determined. This is the best case scenario to resolve a warrant.

What if I am arrested on a warrant before I can call my lawyer?

If you are arrested based upon a warrant, you will not have the luxury of walking into a courtroom with a lawyer to answer the warrant. However, you can make matters worse by resisting the police or acting disorderly. Any resistance to the warrant may lead to additional criminal charges such as resisting and obstructing or fleeing and eluding. Our criminal defense attorneys give clients the following advice regarding possible arrest and dealing with law enforcement officers when faced with an arrest warrant:

NOTICE TO OUR CLIENTS:
In most cases, our law office will be notified or you will receive a notice if a warrant is issued against you. However, if you are arrested, please remain calm and cooperative with the police. Do not resist the police or act disorderly as this will only make matters worse and will lead to other criminal charges (resisting and obstructing). Our office advises that you to refrain from making any verbal or written statements to the police pursuant to your absolute right to remain silent. However, you should be prepared to provide identification. Following your arrest, you will be booked by the police and detained until your arraignment. Please have a family member contact our office if you are arrested and in all likelihood, we will visit you at jail and have an attorney present in the courtroom at the time of your arraignment. If you are brought before the court before you or a family member can contact our office, enter a plea of NOT GUILTY or STAND MUTE and let the judge know that you have retained a lawyer.

When should I hire a lawyer?

In some cases, you may not know about a criminal investigation that will lead to an arrest warrant. In most cases, the police will contact you during a criminal investigation in an attempt to get a confession or written statement. You should refrain from making any statements to the police. If you are contacted by the police, get the detective's or police officer's name and phone number. You should hire an attorney as soon as you have knowledge that there is a criminal investigation or if you believe that you have committed a crime and will be arrested. An attorney can contact the detective in charge of your case and ask to be notified when the warrant is issued. An attorney can also try to get some facts from the detective, and advance a defense strategy on behalf of the suspected party. In addition, an attorney can advise the detective that a client will not be making any statements and also address other pressing legal issues such as cooperation.

Link: Searches with warrants