Most people are familiar with the concept of a warrant, even if they are not necessarily able to distinguish between bench warrants, arrest warrants, and search warrants. However, typically when people hear about warrants, they are hearing about warrants issued by state or local courts. What you may not realize is that federal law enforcement agencies and the federal courts also issue warrants related to criminal cases against you. At Overson Law PLLC, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys have experience handling warrants at both the state and federal levels. Below, we explain the different types of federal warrants and what you can do when one is issued against you.
Federal Bench Warrants in Utah
A bench warrant is a warrant issued by a judge when someone fails to comply with their obligations under the criminal justice system. For example, if a person out on bail on a criminal case to show up for court on the date assigned, the judge will likely issue a bench warrant for their arrest. Judges also issue bench warrants for failure to comply with conditions of your bail or for failure to pay court fines and fees on time. Once a bench warrant has been issued, you can be arrested by local or federal law enforcement at any time.
For smaller state cases, when a judge issues a bench warrant the police will not usually enforce it as a priority. People may go many months or years without even realizing that there is a warrant out for their arrest, usually when they get pulled over for some kind of traffic violation and a police officer runs a warrant check. For federal warrants, federal law enforcement is likely to be even more proactive in enforcing these. They may come to your home or place of work to make an arrest just like they would do with an arrest warrant.
The best thing you can do to deal with a bench warrant is to contact a skilled Salt Lake City bench warrant lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as you learn one has been issued against you. We can reach out to the appropriate agencies on your behalf to find out the details of your warrant. If you have not yet been arrested on the warrant, we can attempt to negotiate with the court and law enforcement for the warrant to be quashed in exchange for you turning yourself. Although failing to appear is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, many times people who miss court have a valid reason, such as the wrong date being listed on their summons. We will argue your side of the story to the judge and work to get the matter taken care of without any further penalties being assessed against you.
Federal Arrest Warrants in Utah
When federal agents, such as the FBI or DEA, are handling a case and believe they have enough evidence to make an arrest, they go to the federal district court to apply for a federal arrest warrant. The process for applying for a federal arrest warrant is basically the same as local law enforcement applying for a state one. They make an application to a judge detailing the investigation they have conducted and the judge will determine whether there is probable cause to issue a warrant for an individual’s arrest under the federal criminal code.
If the warrant is granted, the federal agents are likely to seek you out immediately and execute it. Most of the time, you will learn about the warrant for the first time when the agents show up and arrest you. Occasionally, you might have advance warning of the warrant, and you should use this time to contact an experienced park city criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC. We can try to negotiate your surrender so that you do not face the embarrassment of a public arrest. Once you have been arrested, we will begin working to get you released on bail as soon as possible.
Federal Search Warrants in Utah
If a federal agent has reason to believe that evidence of a federal crime exists somewhere on your property, they can apply to the federal court for a warrant to search the property and seize any evidence obtained. The judge will decide whether there is probable cause to believe such evidence is present on the property. If they agree that there is probable cause, the judge will issue a search warrant that can be executed by the federal agents.
While you must comply with a search warrant and allow the agents to search your property, it is important to take a close look at the warrant, because the police cannot exceed the scope of it. For example, if the warrant allows for search of the main house on your property, they cannot exceed this geographical scope by searching the guest house as well. If the warrant allows police to search the house for a machete, the agents cannot look in shoeboxes or other places where a machete could not possibly fit.
If the agents did not follow proper protocol when applying for the warrant, or if they exceeded the scope of the warrant, an experienced Salt Lake search and seizure lawyer those at Overson Law, PLLC can file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained. If the warrant was based on faulty information or was executed in an illegal manner, any evidence the police found during the search cannot be used against you in a criminal case.
If You Are Concerned About a Federal Warrant, Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers
Federal warrants relate to federal crimes, which are often more serious than state and local charges. As such, you should take it very seriously if you believe you are the subject of a federal warrant. At Overson Law, PLLC, our skilled criminal defense attorneys
have fought successfully throughout the state to defend our clients in cases related to bench warrants, arrest warrants, and search warrants. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.