What to Do if You Have an Outstanding Warrant
If you have the slightest reason to believe that you might have an outstanding arrest warrant, it's generally best to prevent the situation from escalating further. Here's what you should NOT do if a warrant's been issued for your arrest [sources: free-advice, McCollum].
- Don't try to run from the law. You can bet that airports, train stations and other travel hubs have a list of people with active warrants, to prevent them from fleeing the country.
- Don't abruptly show up at a police station to surrender yourself.
- Don't ignore the warrant. It's not going to magically disappear. Arrest warrants don't have expiration dates.
- Don't automatically assume the worst. Depending on the case, you might be able to avoid jail time if you pay a fine.
- Once you have the warrant, look at the date the charges were filed, the nature of the charge, and which court it was filed in.
- Seek expert legal advice. Yes, lawyers cost money, but their familiarity with the legal system could help you navigate the complexities of the court system and minimize your penalties.
- Your attorney can also help you negotiate the terms of your surrender (if it's necessary) and may get a better deal on your bail amount. He or she may also be able to arrange for a quick arraignment, as opposed to surrendering to police custody, hopefully minimizing any time you have to spend in jail.
Note: This article does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation.
Last editorial update on Feb 5, 2019 04:01:39 pm.
- Aizman Law Firm. "How to Handle an Active Arrest Warrant." (Jan. 29, 2019) https://aizmanlaw.com/arrest-warrants
- Black's Law Dictionary. "Best Way to Run a Free Arrest Warrant Check." https://thelawdictionary.org/article/best-way-to-run-a-free-arrest-warrant-check/
- Business Dictionary. "Arrest Warrant." (Jan. 29, 2019) http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/arrest-warrant.html (Jan. 29, 2019)
- FreeAdvice. "How Do I Find Out if I Have an Outstanding Warrrant?" (Jan. 29, 2019)https://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/arrests_and_searches/outstanding_warrants.htm
- Herbert Bail Bonds. "The Smart Way to Turn Yourself in for an Arrest Warrant." Aug. 3, 2017. (Jan. 29, 2019) https://herbertbailbonds.com/smart-way-turn-arrest-warrant
- Hernandez, Karina C. "How to Search For Active Arrest Warrants." Legal Beagle. April 26, 2017. (Jan. 29, 2019) https://legalbeagle.com/4799760-search-active-arrest-warrants.html
- Judicial Branch of Arizona. "How Can I Find out if I Have a Warrant out for My Arrest from the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County?" (Jan. 29, 2019) https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/criminal/warrant-information/
- McCollum, Greg. "What to do and What Not to do When a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest." Jan. 15, 2016. (Jan. 29, 2019) https://www.criminallawyermyrtlebeach.com/what-to-do-and-what-not-to-do-when-a-warrant-is-issued-for-your-arrest/
- Thiessen, Mark. "What to Do If There is a Warrant for Your Arrest." Sep. 14, 2017. (Jan. 31, 2019) https://www.thetexastrialattorney.com/blog/2017/september/what-to-do-if-there-is-a-warrant-for-your-arrest/