It basically goes without saying that sheriff’s deputies/police officers can, and will, arrest those who are caught committing crimes. When crimes are committed and no law enforcement is around, an investigation will ensue in an attempt to determine the perpetrator of the crime. Once investigators have identified a suspect, they can go to a judge and request that an arrest warrant be issued for thesuspect, and the individual will be arrested.
In the State of California, an arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to place the suspect under arrest and to detain him or her. Without a warrant, law enforcement cannot legally place someone under arrest, as there may not be any clear evidence connecting that person with the crime.The evidence must be presented to a judge by law enforcement or a district attorney in order for a warrant to be issued.
Once issued, a valid arrest warrant will include:
The name of the suspect
The alleged crime
Time, city and/or county the warrant was issued
The name of the court
The signature of the judge
In order to successfully petition a judge for a warrant, a police officer, sheriff’s deputy or district attorney must present evidence which demonstrates “probable cause” the suspect indeed committed the crime. What probable cause means, in this case, is that there is reasonable belief that a crime was committed.
The judge will review the information presented and decide if it provides enough probable cause a crime was committed and the suspect named by law enforcement committed that crime. If the judge agrees, a warrant will be issued for the suspect’s arrest.
There’s another way for a judge to issue an arrest warrant, and it’s much less common than the one described above. Sometimes, a grand jury is summoned to determine if there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. When the grand jury deems it so, the judge can then issue an arrest warrant.
Once a warrant has been obtained by law enforcement, the warrant can be executed by:
Arresting a suspect at his/her residence
Arresting someone after unrelated contact (such as a traffic stop)
In cases in which a suspect is accused of a non-violent crime, and the suspect has no additional warrants for his/her arrest, prosecutors can ask a judge for a summons, in lieu of an arrest warrant. A summons is exactly what it sounds like: a document that gives an individual the opportunity to appear before the court without actually being arrested.
Once an arrest warrant has been issued, law enforcement officers are obligated to execute it. If they fail to do so, officers can be held in contempt of court. Also, the warrant must be executed within a reasonable amount of time. For example, if an arrest warrant was issued for someone back in 2010 and, four years later, the individual was arrested under that warrant, it’s possible to have the charges leveled against him dismissed, (especially if the suspect had intermittent contact with police during those four years).
People from time to time make mistakes. If you believe something you did resulted in a warrant for your arrest, you should confirm it. It’s possible to avoid even steeper fines and more serious punishment by nipping it in the bud as quickly as possible.
You can”Google” places online to check for a warrant in your area. You can also contact the court regarding your arrest warrant. Provide the court clerk your information and see if it can be checked for you. Finally, it’s always smart to speak with a trusted criminal defense lawyer to help you get to the bottom of it. These specialized attorneys can provide the best advice on getting this situation behind you.