A warrant is a police officer’s right to detain you. Sometimes people know they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. Other times, they only find out about when police officers knock on their door in the middle of the night, or during what would otherwise have been a routine traffic stop.
Warrants are generally issued for two reasons:
Bench warrants are issued for anyone who has failed to appear in court when required. This usually applies to defendants who have missed or skipped a court date, but can apply to anyone who fails to appear following a court order (like a witness who has been subpoenaed to testify). If you have a bench warrant, any law enforcement officer with whom you come in contact is generally required to take you into custody without warning, and has no discretion to release you without permission from the court that issued the warrant.
Arrest warrants are issued when you are the suspect of a crime and the judge has approved the request of a police department to take you into custody. If you are the subject of an arrest warrant, it is likely that the police will actively search for you at your house, your workplace, or anywhere else you may be. Even if you are innocent of the crime of which you are being accused, avoiding a warrant will only make things worse.
If you believe you are the subject of an arrest warrant or a bench warrant, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Hiring counsel to protect you before you are taken into custody offers enormous benefits. Turning yourself in with an attorney can make the entire process go smoother, quicker, and with peace of mind, knowing that someone is fighting for your rights the whole time. In some cases, turning yourself in with an attorney by your side might allow you to return home the same day when you might otherwise have had to spend several days in a local jail before being seen by a judge.
Our attorneys know the Pennsylvania and New Jersey warrant systems inside and out. If you know or suspect that the police are looking for you for any reason, contact our firm today to protect your rights tomorrow.