What Happens When a Warrant Is Issued for My Arrest?

Posted On July 20, 2021 Criminal Defense Written by John Allen Phebus

If you find out that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, stay calm and contact a criminal defense attorney in Glendale right away. Being accused of a crime can be overwhelming, but an attorney will know exactly how to protect your rights from the very beginning. You should never ignore an arrest warrant in Arizona. Contact an attorney to help you handle the situation calmly and correctly.

What Is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is a legal document issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement to take someone into custody. Arrest warrants are issued against people who are accused or suspected of crimes. The officer requesting the arrest warrant must show probable cause, meaning that the information available is enough to make a reasonable person suspect criminal activity. If a judge grants an arrest warrant, the police will have the right to arrest the party named at any time.

Arrest Warrant for Failure to Appear

If you have already been arrested for a crime and fail to appear at your scheduled court date, you could face additional criminal charges. You could be charged with a second crime for failure to appear, resulting in a bench warrant issued for your arrest. A failure to appear offense could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the classification of the underlying charge. With a bench warrant, the police have the right to arrest you on sight.

If the court issues a bench warrant for your arrest for failure to appear, you may automatically forfeit any posted bond. If you are arrested while under a bench warrant for failure to appear, you will be booked at the county jail and held there – most likely without bond, as you will be seen as a flight risk – until a judge becomes available for a hearing. A conviction for failure to appear in Arizona can lead to additional penalties on top of the sentence you receive for the underlying offense. 

What to Do if You Have a Warrant for Your Arrest

If you find out that a judge has issued a warrant for your arrest in Maricopa County, take it seriously. This means that the police can arrest you anywhere, at any time, including at home or work. The warrant will remain in effect until you are arrested, unless something cancels the warrant or your criminal defense attorney resolves the legal issue. 

Take the following steps if there is a warrant for your arrest to avoid further legal trouble:

  1. Contact a criminal defense attorney. Retain legal representation as soon as you find out about the warrant. Your lawyer can give you trustworthy legal advice and represent your best interests if you are arrested and charged with a crime.
  2. Pay the bond. Most arrest warrants come with a bond amount set by the judge. If you pay this bond, the warrant will be resolved and you will be given a new court date (if the warrant was for failure to appear). Make sure you appear on your new date.
  3. Make an unscheduled court appearance. With assistance from your attorney in understanding your defense options, you can arrive at the Glendale courthouse at a specified time for an unscheduled court appearance. Your attorney can attend with you to defend you against the charges filed.

The most important step is contacting an attorney right away. A defense attorney can help you understand what an arrest warrant means for you, including a bench warrant for failure to appear. An attorney can craft a strong defense strategy to criminal accusations, as well, based on the specific facts of your case. Your lawyer will work to achieve a positive outcome, such as case dismissal or a satisfactory plea deal. You can work closely with your attorney to identify and pursue your goals for your case.