Continue reading to brief yourself on the definition of an arrest warrant, when it becomes outstanding in the eyes of the law, and how you will be affected by its court orders.
Outstanding Arrest Warrants
To understand what an “outstanding” arrest warrant is, you must first learn about arrest warrants in general. An arrest warrant is an order that is issued by a judge, mandating your presence in the court. It is a notification to all law enforcement to bring the defendant into custody, whether picked up at home or work, or in other circumstances, discovered on an unrelated infraction, police call, or routine traffic stop. If the law knows you have committed a crime, or suspects that you have either committed or been involved in a crime, they will issue an arrest warrant.
Many people think bench warrants are the same as an arrest warrant, but they differ slightly. An arrest warrant instructs police to seek a person out and detain them in jail for a crime they are known to have committed, while a bench warrant merely demands a person’s presence in court to face their charges on a judge’s “bench”. Typically bench warrants are issued for failing to appear for a criminal court hearing, subpoenaed witnesses, unpaid child support, missed jury duty, failed court appearances, and similar civil and criminal infractions.
As for arrest warrants, crimes like assault and battery, hit and runs, tax fraud, and more are common causes for an issued arrest warrant. Now that you understand what an arrest warrant entails, you can recognize that an outstanding warrant is simply an arrest warrant that has been in effect for some time.
Turning Yourself In
If you have an outstanding arrest warrant, the first thing you need to do is call the local court house in the corresponding county. Calling the court house is wise because it can allow you to confirm that there is actually an active warrant issued in your name for your arrest. If there is a warrant in your name, the county clerk can provide you with all the information you need about your arrest warrant, the county it is held in, and more. If you cannot contact the court house for some reason, call the police station in the same county, or the county in which you suspect or know your warrant is issued. They will also give you all the necessary and pertinent information you require, in order to safely and properly turn yourself in to authorities.
Once you have your warrant information, you need to prepare for processing. It is suggested to hire a lawyer to handle your legal affairs; however not everyone can afford this. A lot of people use the public defenders appointed to them for free by the courts, but public defenders are only for criminal cases. If you have hired a lawyer, notify them know that you are ready to turn yourself in to the local county jail, and they will give you further instruction and assistance. If you are using a public defender, call them and let them know the same information.
For those who do not need to or wish to hire a lawyer, you can still successfully turn yourself in with the help of a licensed bail bondsman in the country of your warrant. They can provide arrest warrant help, jail information, prearranged bail bond services, jail drop off and pick up services, and much more.
To stay comfortable in jail, be sure to wear some warm comfortable clothes because jails are very cold and you never know how long you’ll be there. Next, call your work and be sure your shifts are covered for the next two or three days. Inform someone you trust that you are turning yourself in, and ask for them to give you a ride to the jail. If using a bail bondsman, he or she can provide rides to and from jail premises. This prevents having to pay for expensive downtown or local parking. Appoint and schedule any babysitters or pet sitters needed as well. Once all of these tasks are handled, you take your ride to jail. Be sure to bring your drivers’ license or other photo identification, and have nothing else in your pockets. If you need to bring your keys and wallet, the jail attendants will hold onto them and return them to you when you are bailed out of jail. They will remain sage the entire time.