How Do I Check to See if There is a Warrant Out for My Arrest in Utah?
Police officers in Utah can make an arrest with or without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime. However, if there is a warrant out for your arrest in Utah – or for the arrest of a family member – it is critical that you find out as soon as possible. If there is an outstanding warrant out for your arrest, you will need legal assistance from an experienced Salt Lake City assault defense lawyer, like Darwin Overson. In addition to assault charges, Darwin also handles sex crimes, weapons crimes, theft, and other types of criminal charges. Read on to learn more about the different kinds of warrants that may lead to your arrest and how to check if there a warrant out for your arrest.
What is the Difference Between Arrest Warrants, Search Warrants, and Bench Warrants?
A warrant is a document issued by a court that allows the police to undertake certain actions against a criminal suspect. In order for the warrant to be valid, it must be signed by a judge or a magistrate.
There are three types of warrants that can come into play in a criminal case:
Arrest warrants allow police officers to arrest people who are suspected of committing a crime. The police must have probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant. However, some arrests are conducted without getting a warrant from the court in advance. For example, if an officer observes a crime in progress, or sees a person fleeing from the scene of a crime, he or she can intervene to arrest the person then and there. In fact, police do not even necessarily need to see a crime occur. As long as an officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, he or she can make an arrest.
A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant that is issued “from the bench,” hence the name. A judge can issue a bench warrant if a person does not show up for court, which is called failure to appear (FTA). Failure to appear in court after being released on bail is a crime known as “bail-jumping” or “skipping bail.” Utah’s bail jumping statute, Utah Code § 76-8-312, makes this act a third degree felony or Class B misdemeanor, crimes that are respectively subject to penalties of up to five years in prison or six months in jail.
Search warrants allow police officers to conduct searches for specific objects in specific locations. For example, if the police have probable cause to believe that someone is selling methamphetamine from their residence – a drug crime called distribution of controlled substances – an officer could obtain a search warrant allowing them to enter and search the suspect’s home for methamphetamine. However, the police do not always need a search warrant to conduct a search. For example, no search warrant is necessary if the contraband is in plain sight of the officer, or if the person gives their consent to be searched.
How Much Authority Do Police Have Under a Warrant in Utah?
Warrants do not grant the police unlimited authority to find and arrest you. Instead, warrants allow the police to act under specific conditions. If these conditions are not met, the warrant may not be valid and the police cannot arrest you. Some warrants might have a time limit on them. This means if the police do not execute the warrant within a certain time frame, the warrant will expire, and the police will no longer have the power to arrest you. Search warrants must expressly state the evidence the police want to find and the places they expect to find it. If the warrant says the police are looking for evidence inside your home, the police cannot also search your shed in your backyard because it was not mentioned in the warrant.
What Type of Warrant is the Most Serious in Utah?
This is a difficult question to answer because all warrants are serious warrants. If there is a warrant out there with your name on it, it does not really matter what kind of warrant it is. At the end of the day, you will be arrested by the police. However, some warrants are given less priority by the police than others.
A bench warrant is perhaps the least serious warrant. While you will be arrested under a bench warrant, it is possible the police will not execute the warrant for some time. Bench warrants are not issued because you committed a dangerous crime but because you missed an important court hearing. Courts are very busy and do not like it when people do not show up. A judge will ensure your appearance by issuing a bench warrant that will allow the police to arrest you and bring you back to court. However, the police typically make this arrest the next time they encounter you, which could be a very long time. Bench warrants are commonly executed at routine traffic stops or other similar encounters with the police.
Arrest warrants and search warrants are a bit more serious because they are typically executed more quickly. Search warrants allow the police to enter your home and search for evidence related to a crime. The police like to execute search warrants as soon as possible so they can discover important evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Arrest warrants are similarly treated. Once the police have been issued an arrest warrant, they will seek to execute it sooner rather than later so they can bring you into custody.
Keep in mind that all warrants are incredibly serious and should not be disregarded. How and when a warrant will be executed will depend largely on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. Contact our experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer for help with your warrants.
How Do I Find Out if There is an Arrest Warrant on Me?
You should talk to a defense attorney before you do anything else. However, you can find out if there is an arrest warrant against you in Utah by
- Using the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Utah Statewide Warrant Search function by simply entering your name.
- Calling the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification at (801) 965-4445.
- Contacting the clerk of courts in your county, whom you can find through the Utah court directory system online.
If you think there is a warrant out for your arrest, do not try to handle it on your own. It is in your best interests to seek counsel from a criminal attorney, who will evaluate the warrant to determine what charges you are facing. Different defenses are applicable to different types of charges, and an experienced attorney will know what sort of legal strategy is best suited to the allegations against you or your loved one.
Your Logan Criminal Defense lawyer will also help you resolve any issues related to bail. If there is an outstanding bench warrant against you, you may post bail (or, in some cases, use a bond) or come to court and ask the judge to recall the warrant. One of these strategies may be more appropriate than the other, depending on the nature of the charges against you. An attorney will be able to determine the optimal approach for your case.
Can I Be Arrested Without a Warrant in Utah?
The answer to this question is yes. It is entirely possible to be arrested without a warrant, but only under specific circumstances. The police cannot simply come to your home and arrest you because they suspect you of committing a crime. In order to do that, they must first obtain an arrest warrant from a judge or magistrate. The police must observe you at the scene of the crime or fleeing the scene of the crime to arrest you without a warrant. If you were not at the crime scene when police arrived, but you are suspected of the crime, the police will need to gather evidence against you and obtain an arrest warrant before arresting you.
The reason the police are sometimes allowed to execute warrantless arrests is a concern for safety. When someone is witnessed at a crime scene or fleeing from a crime scene, there is an immediate and heavy suspicion that that person is somehow involved in the crime. Depending upon the nature of the crime, the person could be very dangerous or even armed. If this scenario does not apply to you, the police will need an arrest warrant.
What if the Warrant for My Arrest in Utah is Invalid?
An invalid warrant may be grounds to suppress certain pieces of evidence or even have your whole case dismissed. Search warrants and arrest warrants must be based on reasonable probable cause that you have committed a crime and that evidence of that crime may be found in your home. The police must present this probable cause to a judge or magistrate, who will then sign off on the warrant. If the probable cause used to obtain the warrant was fraudulent, exaggerated, or insufficient, the entire warrant might be invalidated. Any evidence obtained pursuant to an invalid warrant may be suppressed, meaning that prosecutors will not be allowed to introduce it at trial.
If a search warrant was not valid or the police conducted the search beyond the scope of the warrant, you may be able to have any evidence they obtained under the warrant kept out of court. The same goes for an arrest warrant. Generally, after an arrest, the police will take you in for questioning. If the arrest warrant was not valid, any incriminating information you may have told the police can be kept out of your trial. It is crucial that you hire an experienced South Jordan criminal defense attorney like Darwin Overson to help you fight your charges and keep out any tainted evidence.
Was a Family Member Arrested in Utah? Contact a Salt Lake City Defense Lawyer
If you suspect that there may be a warrant out for your arrest, or if a family member was arrested and is in custody at the Salt Lake County Jail, it’s extremely important for you to contact an attorney immediately, before the matter progresses any further. Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of legal experience, and has worked on thousands of criminal cases. He is ready to make visits to county jails and holding centers throughout Utah, including the Wasatch County Jail, the Davis County Jail, and many other correctional facilities. Do not wait to get legal help if you or a loved one has been arrested or is under investigation. The sooner you contact Darwin Overson for help, the sooner we can start reviewing your legal options. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 as soon as possible for a free and confidential legal consultation.