Nobody wants to face trouble with the law. Especially for those who have little experience with the criminal justice system, being charged with a crime can be confusing and disorienting. You may not understand what the paperwork you were given by the police officers means, whether you need to hire an attorney, and what steps you should take to protect yourself after being arrested. Even before you arrest, you may be confused about when the police can search your property or ask you questions. Below, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers explain each type of warrant you may have to deal with and how we can help you get them resolved in the most positive way.
Types of Warrants in Utah
The word warrant can mean different things depending on what type of warrant is being referred to. The three most common types of warrants that you might encounter are bench warrants, arrest warrants, and search warrants.
Bench Warrants in Utah
The first type of warrant you may encounter in the Utah criminal justice system is what is known as a bench warrant. A bench warrant is issued by a judge when you fail to comply with your obligations under the criminal system, and it allows for the police to arrest you and bring you into custody. The most common reason a judge might issue a bench warrant is if you fail to appear for your scheduled court date. For example, if you are released on a minor charge with a notice to appear for your arraignment on a certain day, and you do not appear, the judge is likely to issue a bench warrant. Bench warrants can also be issued for violations of your probation agreement or failure to pay court fines and fees that have been assessed to you.
If you forgot about a court date or some other obligation, a bench warrant can be issued against you and you may not even know about it. A Layton criminal defense lawyer can reach out to the court on your behalf to inquire about warrants. Rarely do the police come to your home or work to enforce a bench warrant like they do with arrest warrants. At the same time, the warrant does allow for you to be arrested at any time and these warrants do not typically expire. As such, you could get pulled over by the police for a minor traffic violation months or years after a bench warrant was issued, and the police could take you into custody.
Arrest Warrants in Utah
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by a judge allowing the police to place someone under arrest. There are multiple ways you can end up arrested. If the police actually witness you commit a crime or have probable caused based on first-hand evidence, they can arrest you on the spot or shortly thereafter. In other cases, a lengthier investigation will have to occur. The police will interview witnesses, view surveillance footage, and collect other evidence. When they believe they have enough evidence to pin the crime on someone, they will submit an application to a judge for an arrest warrant.
If a warrant is granted, the police will usually act upon it fairly swiftly, as opposed to the way they handle bench warrants. They will likely come to your work, your place of business, or some other public place to arrest you. Most of the time, you won’t know you that an arrest warrant has been issued until you arrested.
Search Warrants in Utah
A search warrant is typically granted by the judge to police as part of their investigation into a crime. If the police believe there may be important evidence in someone’s home, for example, they can make an application for a judge to issue a search warrant allowing them to search the home. These warrants often do not allow search of an entire home or other place but only of specific parts where the evidence may be concealed.
How to Deal with Utah Warrants
When it comes to bench warrants, the best way to handle them is to deal with them before you get arrested. If you suspect that a bench warrant may have been issued against you, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City bench warrant attorney like those at Overson & Bugden. We can find out if there are any warrants pending against you. If there are, we can attempt to work out a deal where you surrender yourself on the warrant without having to spend time in jail or being incurred further fines and penalties.
If you are arrested on a bench warrant, a lawyer can work to get you before a judge as soon as possible to clear the matter up. Often, people have good reasons for missing court, like a medical emergency, and a lawyer can help tell your side of the story to the court. In you are arrested on a regular arrest warrant, the first thing you will want to do is to hire a competent Utah bail hearing attorney to get you out of jail as quickly as possible, and then begin to work on dealing with the underlying case.
For search warrants, a skilled Salt Lake City search and seizure attorney like those at Overson & Bugden can look to see if the warrant application has any defects or if the police exceeded the scope of the warrant in their search. If so, our lawyers will file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search. Suppressed evidence cannot be used against you in a criminal case.
If You Are Concerned About a Warrant, Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If you are worried about a potential bench warrant, the best thing you can do is to contact a skilled Lehi criminal defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden to try to get the matter resolved before you are arrested. For arrest and search warrants, we can work with you after the fact to get you out of jail and have any evidence obtained illegally excluded from the criminal case against you. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.