If you have an active arrest warrant in California, you could be arrested at any moment in any place. An arrest warrant could be the result of a variety of different circumstances; however, the end result is that you may find yourself asking the question “where do I turn myself in on a warrant in California?”
There are several common ways in which you may find yourself with an open warrant for your arrest, including:
- Investigation – although some arrests are made on the spot when a law enforcement officer actually sees a crime occur (think DUI), many arrest warrants are only issued after a lengthy investigation by the police. In this case, the police will prepare a probable cause affidavit supporting an arrest warrant and present it to a judge. If the judge signs it a warrant for your arrest will issue. Often, you only become aware of the warrant when the police come to your home or work looking for you.
- Failure to Appear – if you fail to appear for court the judge may decide to issue a warrant for your arrest which is intended to bring you before the court to answer for your failure to appear.
- Probation Violation – if you are on probation and violate the terms of your probation your probation officer might file an official violation with the court. The judge may then issue a warrant for your arrest to answer to the alleged violation.
If you become aware that you have an active warrant for your arrest you should consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney right away. Turning yourself in before the police have the opportunity to arrest you is usually the best option; however, you should plan your surrender with your attorney first. Of course, you can simply walk into the police station or county jail and announce you want to turn yourself in but you miss out on the ability to plan what happens after your surrender by doing it this way.
Depending on the reason for the warrant, there is a good chance that a bond review hearing will follow your surrender, meaning you have the opportunity to effectuate your release soon after your surrender. You and your attorney should be able to capitalize on the fact that you turned yourself in when the judge considers bond. In addition, your attorney may be able to find out additional information about the reason for the warrant prior to turning yourself in to the police. For these reasons it only makes sense to consult with your attorney before surrendering yourself.
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