Living with the knowledge that you have an active warrant for your arrest is certainly not an enjoyable way to live. If you know that you have an active warrant for your arrest, or even suspect that you do, in California, the best thing you can do is to contact a criminal defense attorney and work out your surrender.
A warrant for your arrest and be issued under several different circumstances. The most common reasons for a warrant to issue are because you have recently been charged with a criminal offense, a violation of probation was filed, or because you failed to appear for court.
If an individual commits a crime in front of the police, such as driving under the influence, the police often make an arrest right there on the spot. For crimes that require an investigation before charges can be filed, the police will not be able to arrest a suspect until a judge or magistrate has signed an arrest warrant.
You may also have a warrant for your arrest issued if you are currently on probation and your probation officer has alleged that you are in violation of the conditions of your probation. In this case a judge may issue a warrant based on the alleged violation.
Finally, if you were scheduled to appear in court and failed to appear without seeking the court’s permission to continue the case ahead of time, the judge may issue what is known as a “bench warrant” for your arrest.
Sometimes, bail is set at the time a warrant is issued. In other cases, bail can only be addressed after the warrant has been recalled by the judge, meaning you must appear before the judge. Even if a bail amount is included in the warrant, your attorney may be able to lower the bond required for your release once you have turned yourself in to the court.
If you are concerned that you have an active warrant, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can confirm that a warrant exists and find out if a bond amount was included in the warrant. Next, you should create a plan with your attorney to turn yourself in on the warrant. Hiding from the police or running from a warrant rarely works or long. By arranging to turn yourself in you can avoid being arrested at work, at a family member’s home, or while driving down the street with friends. In addition, most judges look favorably on a defendant who voluntarily surrenders to the court. In fact, the fact that you turned yourself in can be used as an argument in your favor when your attorney requests a bond reduction because it shows that you are not a flight risk.