An arrest warrant is an order signed and issued by a judge directing law enforcement officers to arrest and bring to court the person named in the warrant. Prior to issuing an arrest warrant, a police officer, district attorney, or an alleged victim must give a sworn statement under penalty of perjury stating that the person named in the warrant (the accused person) committed a crime. Arrest warrants must be based on probable cause. The judge or magistrate signing the arrest warrant must believe that the crime was committed by the person named in the arrest warrant. Arrest warrants give the arresting officer the authority to enter a home or dwelling in which the suspect lives or place of business as long as there is reason to believe the suspect will be in the home, dwelling, or place of business.
An arrest warrant must contain the following:
- The defendant's name, if known;
- The offense charged;
- The duty of the arresting officer to bring the defendant before the judge or magistrate;
- Bail amount of the offense;
- The date and time of issuance;
- The city or county where it was issued;
- The name of the judge along with his or her signature;
- The name of the court.
If you or someone you know suspects that there is an outstanding arrest warrant, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you with the arrest warrant. Contacting a criminal defense attorney earlier rather than later is critical. A seasoned criminal attorney may be able to walk you right into court and recall the arrest warrant, then walk you right out of court without posting bail. You would then be released on your own recognizance (promise to appear in court), thus saving you thousands of dollars on your bail.