Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions concerning warrants:
- What Are Warrants? A warrant is an order issued, via a document, by a court, which orders police to either arrest someone, search or seizes your property.
- What Are The Types Of Warrants That Are Issued? Bench warrant and the arrest warrant.
- What Is A Bench Warrant? The bench warrant orders a person to be arrested; so, they can be brought to court. Bench warrants occur when a defendant was properly served a summons requiring him or her to appear in court, and the defendant fails to appear at court. This is also called a “Failure to Appear” warrant. The bench warrant allows the police to arrest the subject of an active warrant and bring them in front of a judge. Usually, with a bench warrant, the police will not actively search for you. I.E., They will not go to your house or place of work. However, a notice of your bench warrant is put into a database. And if you encounter the police, in any way, the police will likely search to see if you have any outstanding warrants and upon finding that you do have an outstanding warrant, you will be arrested and forced to appear in Court.
- What Are Arrest Warrants? The arrest warrant is issued when law enforcement brings evidence to a judge showing that there is probable cause (PC) that a suspect could have committed a criminal offense. A judge may feel that an arrest warrant is authorized based upon physical evidence or credible testimony of a witness. Additionally, the arrest warrant can be issued if a grand jury deems that there is enough evidence indicating that a crime could have been committed. Unlike the bench warrant, with an arrest warrant, the police will actively search for you. This means that your home, work and frequent hangouts may be visited by the police. Upon arrest, you will remain in jail, at least, until you are arraigned. During an arraignment, a judge may allow you to be released on your own recognizance, set a bail amount for you, or you will be forced to stay in jail until your trial.When Can An Arrest Warrant Be Issued? Arrest warrants are typically issued by a police officer submitting an affidavit (affidavit is a written statement that is confirmed by an affirmation or oath) to a judge. A judge will only approve the warrant if he or she believes that the written affidavit, supplied by law enforcement, contains information that indicates that there is probable cause that a crime was committed by the subject of the warrant.
- What is Probable Cause (”PC”)? PC occurs when law enforcement finds enough evidence leading them to believe that there is a sufficient reason that a crime was committed. A judge determines, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not PC is present.
- What Happens When A warrant is Quashed? When a warrant is quashed, it means that the warrant is recalled, which results in the subject of the warrant no longer being in danger of being arrested.
- Can You Guarantee That My Warrant Will Be Quashed? First of all, no lawyer can ethically guarantee you that he or she will be able to quash your warrant. However, for most traffic warrants and other non-violent misdemeanors, your arrest warrant will most likely be quashed the day that your attorney goes to court. The main reasons that your warrant may not be quashed are the following:
You have previously gone into warrant before on the same offense or if you have a history of going into a warrant for other criminal offense.
Your warrant has been active for a long time. The time is dependent upon the judge. However, if an arrest warrant has been active for over a year, it is likely that your warrant will not be cleared at the hearing.
- What Will Happen If My Warrant Is Not Cleared? For minor criminal offenses, If you warrant is not able to be cleared in court, you may be required to either show up in court to explain your side of the story. Also, a good faith payment to the court may be needed for you to get your warrant quashed.
- When Are Issued Warrants Valid In Nevada? Under Nevada law, warrants are only valid when the warrant contains the following:
- Suspects Name: In most cases, a suspects name is required. However, if the defendant's name is unknown, a warrant can be valid if the warrant includes a description of the suspect that enables the police to identify the defendant reasonably.
- The exact date when the warrant was issued.
- Location: The county, and city where the warrant was signed by the judge.
- Order: The warrant must explicitly order that the suspect is to be arrested.
- Signature:The warrant must have a judge’s valid signature.