Hearing that there is a warrant out for your arrest is the stuff of nightmares for many people, especially if they have no idea what they might have done wrong. Aside from a traditional arrest warrant, it is also possible to be arrested on what is known as a bench warrant, which is issued by a judge. The best way to respond will depend on which of these types of warrants you are dealing with. In both cases, however, the first thing you should do is to contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC. Bellow, our attorneys explain each of these two types of warrants, how you should respond to them, and what will happen next if you are placed under arrest.
How to Respond to Bench Warrants for Your Arrest in Utah
Unlike with an arrest warrant, where a police officer applies for a warrant with a judge, a bench warrant is issued by the judge at their own discretion without anyone having made an application to them for it. It is most commonly issued in response to situations where you fail to appear as required for a scheduled court date. However, judges can also issue bench warrants in response to you failing to pay assessed court fines and fees, failing to pay child support, and not responding to a subpoena to testify as a witness, among other things.
Once a judge has issued a bench warrant against you, you can be arrested at any time. However, the police typically do not seek you out to enforce a bench warrant. Instead, they will wait for you to come to them. The most common situation where you might get picked up on a bench warrant is during a routine stop for a traffic matter when the officer runs a warrant check. If they find an outstanding warrant under your name, they will place you under arrest and have you transferred to the proper jurisdiction to be processed.
The best way to deal with a bench warrant is to handle the situation before you get arrested. There are times when missing court or other errors are unavoidable, such as if a medical emergency occurred on the morning of your scheduled hearing. Our skilled Salt Lake City bench warrant attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can contact the court and the prosecutor to try to work out a deal where you can turn yourself in and appear before a judge without being arrested. Then, we can tell your side of the story to the judge and work to get the warrant quashed without any further penalties being assessed against you, such as the judge revoking your bail and detaining you for the remainder of the case.
How to Respond to Arrest Warrants in Utah
Sometimes, police officers will have probable cause to arrest you on the spot, such as when they personally witness you commit a crime. Most of the time, however, there will be some sort of investigation into the matter, and when the police believe they have enough evidence to arrest a suspect, they apply for a warrant from a judge. If the judge finds probable cause, they will issue the warrant and the officers will come seek you out to place you under arrest immediately. They will not wait for you to come to them like with bench warrants.
Usually, you will not have any formal advanced warning that an arrest warrant has been issued. Rather, the police will simply show up at your home or place of work to execute it. Sometimes, however, there will be warning signs that an arrest warrant is likely coming, such as if the police continue to try to question you, call you in for interviews, or search your property. If we have advance warning that a warrant has been issued and your arrest is imminent, our skilled criminal defense lawyers can try to negotiate your surrender so that you do not have to deal with the police coming to your home and making a big public spectacle out of your arrest.
What Happens After an Arrest Warrant is Executed in Utah?
After your arrest, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process, where you will photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information will be collected. The you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or transported to the local jail until your initial appearance and bail hearing, which usually must occur no more than 72 hours after booking at most. You initial appearance will consist of the judge reading the charges against you and advising you of your rights. In misdemeanor cases, you will also be asked to enter an initial plead of guilty or not guilty.
At the bail hearing, the judge will decide between releasing you on your own recognizance, setting bail, or holding you in jail until the underlying case is resolved. When imposing bail, the judge will consider the amount suggest by the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule, as well as such factors as your ties to the community and history of appearing for court. Our skilled Utah bail hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC know how to craft the best arguments to get you released on little to no bail.
After bail has bene settled, we can try to work out a deal with the prosecutor to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. If you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial lawyers are always ready and able to defend you in the courtroom. For all crimes except infractions, you will have the right to choose between a jury trial or a bench trial, where the judge decides guilt or innocence.
If You Are Concerned about a Warrant for Your Arrest, Call Our Skilled Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
The best steps to take after learning you have a warrant out for your arrest will depend on whether it is a bench warrant or a regular arrest warrant. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Riverton City criminal defense lawyers have experience successfully helping clients with both types of warrants bring their matter to a positive conclusion. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.