Sometimes police or prosecutors believe they have enough information to charge you with an offense. In those cases, the prosecutor will have either filed a complaint or has obtained a grand jury indictment. When either of these things happen, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
If you know a warrant has been issued for your arrest, the best option is to have your criminal defense lawyer help you turn yourself in.
There is no advantage in waiting for police to find and arrest you. When you turn yourself in, though, you will generally get several benefits. First, you generally can minimize the time it takes to see a judge and enter your plea of “not guilty.”
You will also help establish credibility and help support your attorney’s effort to get you released on low or no bail. On the other hand, people who wait for police to find and arrest them are more likely to be deemed a “flight risk.” You also risk police arriving and finding additional evidence against you or evidence of other public offenses.
Nearly every attorney has a story about a client who was arrested on a warrant for a relatively minor crime or one which the client was likely to beat—but when the cops searched their client, or the client’s care, they found illegal drugs or a weapon. Now, instead of a minor case, their client had two cases, one of which was much more difficult to win.
If a warrant has been issued for your arrest, take the following steps as soon as possible.
- Consult with an attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can call the police and arrange for you to turn yourself in and accept service of the warrant.
- Line up the funds you will need for bail.
- Make sure you have nothing on you, such as drugs, paraphernalia (pipes, needles, etc.) or a weapon when you turn yourself in. Bringing these things will only create additional problems that will result in the filing of more charges that could be harder to beat.