I’ve Got a Warrant. What Do I Do?

I Have a Warrant Out for My Arrest

If you learned you have a warrant in Atlanta, don’t panic, as an authorization for your arrest does not mean you are guilty of a crime.

Unlike many states, Georgia allows judges, police officers, and individuals who believe they are victims of a crime to apply for a warrant. Typically, only judges are authorized to issue bench warrants and police officers can only initiate arrest warrants. However, if a crime victim believes the alleged wrongdoer was not arrested, they may file an application for an arrest warrant. For clarity, bench warrants and arrest warrants both authorize a suspect’s arrest, the only difference being the issuer of the warrant.

An arrest warrant in Georgia allows police officers to detain the individual named in the warrant and seize personal property that may be used as evidence of a crime. A bench warrant is issued when an individual is found to be in contempt of court, such as by failing to appear for their scheduled court hearing or failing to answer a subpoena. An arrest warrant is issued when a police officer or private citizen has probable cause to believe you committed a crime, and accordingly, it generally contains the following information:

  • The details of the alleged offense
  • Personal information on the suspect in question
  • The allotted time period where the arrest may take place
  • The expiration date if one exists, and the date of issuing
  • The name of the official who issued the warrant
  • Any bail or bond conditions

So, what do you do when you have a warrant? It depends on the type of warrant that was issued against you.

I Have a Warrant for Missing Court

If you have a bench warrant for failing to appear in court, you may not necessarily get arrested on the spot. Your information would instead go into a database available to the police, and if you come into contact with the police while you have a warrant out for your arrest, they could arrest you and bring you to court.

For instance, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation and the police run your name in the database, they will see that you have a bench warrant issued against you and arrest you right away. Many people don’t realize they were summonsed to court because the summons was issued to their former address, but unfortunately, that doesn’t matter in our criminal justice system. You will get a warrant for failing to appear in court, nonetheless. When that happens, you should handle the issue outlined in the warrant right away. You can:

  • Call the county clerk of the court that issued your warrant, explain your situation, and express that you want to resolve the issue
  • Call the police department’s non-emergency line and make arrangements to resolve the issue
  • Hire an attorney to help resolve your warrant

What to Do If I Have a Warrant for a Traffic Ticket

If you don’t respond to your traffic ticket by appearing in court or paying your ticket, The judge will issue a warrant for your arrest in attempt to get you to comply. As a result, you may not only suffer additional fines and license suspension but also criminal charges for failure to appear. You should call the local police department or clerk of the court and learn the steps you need to take to pay the ticket and resolve your warrant. You may be required to fill out paperwork and pay the ticket in addition to the costs and fees associated with the bench warrant.

What Happens If I Have an Arrest Warrant for a Probation Violation?

Probation is a privilege, not a right. As such, the terms of probation are typically strict and extensive, making it challenging for probationers to comply with each and every rule. People make mistakes, but doing so while on probation could cause a judge to issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If that is the case for you, you should hire an attorney to help you avoid going back to jail. Violating probation can carry harsh penalties, so you’re better off retaining a lawyer to help reduce the impact of your violation.

What Happens If I Have a Warrant in Another State?

If you have a warrant out for your arrest for a crime that was reportedly committed in a different state, the police will still have access to the database we mentioned earlier. In fact, that searchable database is available to all law enforcement agents in the US. As such, the police in the state where you currently reside have the authority to arrest you and extradite you. What does extradited mean?

Essentially, extradition requires criminal suspects to be sent back to the state where they allegedly committed a crime to resolve their charges, such as by going to trial or completing their sentence. Before a person can be extradited, however, the state will have a hearing to establish grounds for the arrest and extradition. In other words, the state must ensure the arrest warrant is valid before sending a person back to the state where they allegedly broke the law. This process could take days and even weeks, so the suspect will be held in custody until then.

For these reasons, you should hire a lawyer if you have a warrant in another state. They know the laws and proceedings for these matters and can protect your rights every step of the way. You need an experienced defense attorney who is competent and trusted to advise you in these situations.

Call (404) 471-3999 Today

Got a warrant? It is in your best interests to retain our Atlanta lawyers for reliable legal counsel and effective representation. We proudly advocate for clients who are dealing with bench warrants and arrest warrants, helping them resolve their warrants without going to jail or dealing with other penalties.

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