If You Have an Outstanding Warrant, You Need to Take Action
Having an outstanding warrant puts you at risk of being arrested. With a warrant, police can arrest you at any time in any place. It's difficult to live your normal life not knowing when and where you will be arrested. If you think you have an outstanding warrant in California, you need to find out if you have a warrant, what type of warrant it is, and how to deal with the warrant effectively.
Searching for Warrants
To search for a California warrant, you can call the sheriff's department in the county you think the warrant was issued. You can ask if you have outstanding warrants or if someone else does provided you have identifying information like name and date of birth. You can also search for your case in online court records, which should show any outstanding warrants linked to the case. These records can be obtained from the court clerk and are good to have in your possession anyway.
You can also do an online California warrant search through a variety of websites. Again, all you need is a few pieces of identifying information to search outstanding warrants in any California county. Because it's easier than ever to search for a person's criminal record online, there is an entire industry of companies who make a profit off of human curiosity. The only good side of that is it makes it easier for you to get information about your criminal record.
You can also go to the courthouse where you think the warrant was issued. For example, if you think you have a warrant in Tulare County, you can go to the Tulare County courthouse and ask the court clerk. The drawback of going to the source of the warrant is you could be arrested if you identify yourself at the courthouse.
If you think you may have an outstanding warrant, do a warrant search. It's always better to know if you have a warrant so you can protect yourself and your rights.
Types of Warrants
Before you can take care of your warrant, you need to know what type it is. Courts can issue warrants to grant police officers certain authorities.
Arrest warrants give law enforcement the authority to arrest you on the spot. Police can arrest you even if they did not see you commit a crime and hold you in custody until you appear in court. Courts issue arrest warrants when police have submitted written probable cause to believe you committed a crime.
Bench warrants are similar to arrest warrants but are more common. Bench warrants give law enforcement the authority to arrest you to bring you into court. Courts typically issue bench warrants when defendants fail to appear in court or pay a court-ordered fine. These are commonly associated with traffic citation cases.
Search warrants allow law enforcement to search your person, home, property, car, place of business, or anywhere criminal evidence is suspected. If law enforcement searches you or your property and finds the evidence they were looking for, they can also seize it. Keep in mind that police do not need a search warrant to view what is in plain sight. If they can easily see evidence of criminal activity on your property, they do not need a warrant to take action.
How to Deal With an Outstanding Warrant
Now that you know how to find out if you have an outstanding warrant and how to distinguish between the types of warrants, you can take steps to get it recalled (i.e. lifted). Recalling the warrant renders it invalid. You must ask the court that issued the warrant to recall it.
This is where having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you. An attorney will know how to get your warrant(s) recalled quickly. And the sooner the court recalls your warrant, the sooner you can address the main concern (e.g. a court date or unpaid fine) and move on with your life.
The court may recall a bench warrant if you post bail or contact the court and ask for a new court date. You might also be able to get your warrant recalled if you forfeit your bail and reset your court date. This will depend on the reason for the warrant. If your warrant is for failing to pay a fine, paying the fine at the court will typically recall the warrant.
Arrest warrants and search warrants are harder to recall, especially if the district attorney or law enforcement have evidence against you. So speak with an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney if you have an outstanding arrest or search warrant.
Do you have an outstanding warrant? If so, contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for expert counsel. Experienced in criminal defense, our Visalia area legal team can advise you of your options and help you take steps to lift your warrants so you can clear your name. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Christopher Martens will aggressively defend your rights and help you get the outcome you want. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.