What to do if you have a warrant?

If you find out that you have a Los Angeles warrant or Orange County warrant, the first question that almost any defendant will have is what to do next? Unfortunately, many California defendants make the wrong initial decisions because of failing to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. This blog will focus on the appropriate steps to take after you find out that a warrant exists for yourself or a loved one.

The first question is what type of warrant has been issued? The two main type of warrants in California are bench warrants and arrest warrants. Each type of warrant will require a different strategy. If a bench warrant is in place, this is generally due to a defendant failing to appear in court, failure to pay a fine, or a failure to complete the requirements of a court order. A couple of examples are presented below as to how a bench warrant may be issued:

  1. A Redondo Beach defendant is given a notice to appear in court on a certain date. The defendant fails to appear in court on that date in the Torrance courthouse. The judge will then issue a bench warrant based upon the individual’s failure to appear in court as required. This warrant will remain in place until it Is recalled by the court due to the individual coming to court on their own or being brought to court after arrest. In this circumstance, the best course of action is to immediately contact an experienced Torrance courthouse attorney after learning of the warrant.
  2. A Marina Del Rey defendant is put on probation by a judge at the Airport Courthouse and told to complete an alcohol program due to a DUI conviction. The defendant fails to provide proof of completion of the DUI program by the deadline. The court will then issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s failure to comply with the order of the court. Once again, it is critical to contact an experience attorney with experience at the Airport Courthouse.

The most important thing to remember about a bench warrant is that it will not simply go away on its own. Additionally, the judge will look at you in a far different light if you come in to court with an attorney rather than bring brought to court in custody due to being arrested on a warrant. The other type of warrant to discuss is an arrest warrant.

A Los Angeles arrest warrant or Orange County arrest warrant involves different circumstances than a bench warrant. An arrest warrant is typically issued by a judge after the presentation of evidence by law enforcement that convinces the judge that “probable cause” exists of a crime having occurred. Below are two common situations where an arrest warrant may be issued:

  1. A Long Beach defendant is suspected of committing an assault. The Long Beach Police Department investigated but never actually made an arrest of the defendant because the defendant was no longer at the scene of the incident when they arrived. The police will then submit the case to prosecutors who will seek to obtain an arrest warrant which allows the police to arrest the defendant immediately. The defendant will then be taken into custody and brought to the Long Beach Courthouse.
  2. A Manhattan Beach defendant is arrested but is later released due to the prosecutor not filing charges in time. At a later point, the prosecutors decide to file charges. Since the defendant is not in custody, the prosecutors will seek to obtain an arrest warrant. The defendant can be arrested immediately and brought to the Torrance Courthouse.

If you have an arrest warrant, then it is vital to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. As with bench warrants, a judge will be far more sympathetic if a defendant walks into court voluntarily rather than after being arrested. Additionally, consultation with a top criminal attorney will result in the development of a plan to try and avoid or minimize time spent in jail.

If you have a warrant hanging over your head, every single trip outside the home will be nerve wracking and every sighting of a police car will fill you with anxiety. Please reach out to me immediately to discuss your situation further and begin the defense of your freedom and future. As an award winning defense attorney and a former senior prosecutor in both Los Angeles and Orange County, I am intimately familiar with the best methods to deal with warrants. Call me now to set up a free consultation!


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