There are two typical ways that a person may be arrested in California. The first involves an arrest without a warrant, which usually occurs if a law enforcement officer personally witnesses an alleged crime. The second involves an arrest warrant, which the police may seek if they believe that a person has committed a crime, usually after a criminal investigation.
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge and authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest you and take you into custody. Arrest warrants are most frequently carried out at a person's residence or workplace, as these are the two first places law enforcement will look. Other arrests may take place after traffic stops, if the officer who stops a driver discovers he or she has an outstanding warrant. There are also scenarios where people are arrested in other locations, based off tips or investigations of their whereabouts.
If a felony arrest warrant is issued, a person may be arrested at any time. If a misdemeanor arrest warrant is issued, the warrant may only be executed between 6am and 10pm unless the arrest is made in public, the person is already in custody for another matter or the judge specifically stated that the arrest may be made at any time.
What should I do?
Every situation is different, and what is right for you may therefore vary. With that in mind, there are a few tips we can offer if you discover an arrest warrant has been issued against you.
Do not attempt to flee. If you believe there is a warrant out for your arrest, do not leave the state or the country. Instead, contact your attorney and find out if there is actually an arrest warrant in your name. If there is, your attorney can find out what it is for and what bail has been set at.
Think carefully before turning yourself in without an attorney by your side. Although you can turn yourself in, you should realize that many judges have heard just about every excuse in the book. You may find that you will face immediate incarceration if you turn yourself in without legal counsel.
One of the most important things you can do is to seek counsel from an experienced attorney. You have the right to an attorney and should exercise this right so your interests are protected. Your attorney can get all the information that pertains to your warrant and may be able to take you directly to court to get the warrant cleared, without you spending time in jail. We may also be able to negotiate for a lower bail amount or even for a release on your own recognizance, without bail.
Facing an arrest warrant with an attorney's help may be the best way to avoid personal and professional repercussions of being arrested at your home or office. It may even offer you the opportunity to fight an unlawful warrant and avoid arrest altogether, or to have a lower bail amount or no bail at all. When your attorney is involved in the criminal process as early as possible, this can also give him or her a better opportunity of building an effective defense against your charges.
At Lessem & Newstat, we believe early involvement is crucial in any criminal case. If you have been accused of a crime or have become aware of an arrest warrant, now is the time to call a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Do not wait until formal charges are filed and your freedom is in jeopardy. Contact our offices today.