Dennis R. Boren
There’s A Warrant For My Arrest! What Should I Do?
This is Dennis Boren, criminal defense attorney and a former felony prosecutor. I want to talk to you today about what happens if you find out you have a warrant for your arrest. What should you do?
First of all, if it’s just a traffic warrant, for example where you didn’t pay a ticket, they’re probably not going to serve that warrant. What I mean by that is that they’re not going to come to your house and pick you up.
What happens instead is that you get stopped, maybe far into the future. Then they’ll go back to their car, get on their radio, and ask the dispatcher to look you up to see if you’ve got any warrants.
If you do, they’re going to arrest you, which can cause you a tow charge. More importantly, if you have any contraband in your vehicle or on you, any illegal substances, they’re likely to find them, and you could have a much more serious problem than just a mere traffic warrant. So I suggest that you take care of those tickets, and don’t let them turn into a warrant.
MORE SERIOUS WARRANTS
But what if it’s a more serious case, particularly a felony or even a serious misdemeanor? That means that a case has been filed, and a prosecutor has taken action to accuse you of doing something illegal. That’s what will trigger a warrant.
At that point, the judge will issue a bench warrant, and it goes into the system. And if it’s a serious crime, they’ll put it out beyond just the state of Texas, certainly within the entire state and even outside the state.
WHAT IF YOU’RE PICKED UP OUT OF STATE
And if you get picked up in another state on a warrant like this, you’re going to be taking a ride you never want to take. That’s because they pick up prisoners from all over the country, and you’ll take a circuitous route back to the jurisdiction in Texas where you’ve been accused.
You’re basically handcuffed and chained to the floor, and you’ll spend every night in jail, wherever you happen to be. They’ll drop off prisoners and pick up prisoners. It’s a milk run and it takes a long time. It’s very uncomfortable, and you also get the honor of paying them back. Because the bondsman has to often pay for that if somebody’s out on a bond.
IF YOU HAVE A WARRANT…
Now, if you have a warrant, of course, they’re going to look for you at places where you’re most likely to be. I’m not telling you to run, but I’m just telling you, if you have a warrant, they’re going to go to your house, your mom’s house, your girlfriend’s house or wherever they may have leads for where you may be. So just be aware of that.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Now, the best thing to do is to surrender yourself. But do it in such a way that you don’t end up sitting in jail for a long time. My best advice is to contact an attorney who has 10 plus years experience. He knows the judges, who know the prosecutors, and who can get a reasonable bond set.
Because if you get arrested, they’re going to pick you up, and you’re going to change your clothes, you’re going to go to the back of the jail, and it’s going to take maybe a day or two to get you out, even if you make the bond.
And that bond is likely to be a lot higher, if you don’t have an attorney who can get the bond set at a reasonable amount. Because a low level judge will just go along with the prosecutor’s recommendation, which is usually ridiculously high.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR WARRANT
So if you have a warrant, take care of it. Don’t let it sit there. Instead, if you find that you have it, you want to do a self-surrender so that you won’t be booked into the back of the jail.
You’ll have to go through booking, but you’ll have a bondsman with you. Everything will be set up, so you’ll be released after you’ve gone through the initial booking process.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP
If you have any questions about this or related subjects, reach out to me. I’ll be happy to respond to them. And, as I often tell you, if you’re interacting with the police, turn on your video app on your phone. Smartphones are great for that. Even an audio app is better than nothing, but video is best to record that interaction because that can protect you. I hope this was helpful.