What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
So that’s a stressful thing: somebody finds out that there’s an arrest warrant and the first thing they want to do is panic. So, let me advise you. Don’t panic. Take some steps that can reduce your stress, and get you some answers that will allow you to deal with this so that it’s not so stressful.
The first thing that we want to find out is whether or not there’s a bond on your warrant. So, if there’s already a bond listed on the warrant, it’s very simple. All you would have to do is turn yourself in at the sheriff’s office, be processed, post the bond, and you can be released immediately. You won’t have to spend any time in jail.
Where it can get a little more complicated is in situations where there is not a bond listed on the warrant. In that situation, that means the judge signed an arrest warrant, but ordered you to be held without bond until you could be brought before the court for a hearing called “first appearance,” and that normally takes place the morning after you’re arrested. At the first appearance, the judge is going to look at the charge that you’re accused of, he’s going to look at whether or not you have a prior criminal history, he’s going to look at whether or not you’ve ever failed to appear for court before, and he’s going to kind of look at all those factors and decide what is the appropriate bond to set for you.
The prosecutor will also be in the room making a recommendation for what usually is a higher bond. There will also be somebody else at the first appearance and that person works for an agency called pretrial services. The pretrial services officer is a person who will make a recommendation to the judge on what is an appropriate bond. Obviously, the judge can set whatever bond he or she thinks is appropriate, but that recommendation from the pretrial services officer is very important. It carries a lot of weight.
If you hire an attorney prior to turning yourself in on your warrant, I will be there at your first appearance hearing. What I can do is talk to the pretrial services officer before the hearing starts to try and influence the bond recommendation, and I can also make arguments to the judge on what is the appropriate bond to get you released from jail on as low of a bond as possible.
One of the advantages of giving me a call before turning yourself in is what we can do is we can call and find out if there is a bond on your warrant. If there is, we can tell you what it is, we can put you in touch with a reputable bail bond company that we recommend that we’ve used for our clients in the past. In other words, we can give you some answers, even before you’ve hired us, because again, our number one goal is to help with your stress level and to help you make informed decisions that can help your case.