What Happens if You Get an Out of State Warrant for Your Arrest?
August 19, 2022 | Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law
Many people may not realize that the “long arm” of the law stretches across state borders. You could be arrested for an out-of-state warrant even though you moved to California.
If you skipped out on your court date in another state or committed a crime and fled, California law enforcement officers can arrest you and hold you based on the out-of-state warrant. It does not matter that you did not commit a crime in California. The out-of-state warrant is sufficient for police officers to detain you in this state.
What Is an Out-of-State Warrant?
An out-of-state warrant is issued by a judge in another state. There are several types of warrants that the court can issue.
Judges issue arrest warrants when there is probable cause that you committed a crime. Probable cause is a reasonable belief that you committed a crime.
The arrest warrant permits another state to arrest and detain you when the state that issued the warrant seeks to extradite you to answer for the criminal charges. Out-of-state arrest warrants could relate to any crime, including sex crimes, drug crimes, DUI, and weapons charges.
Judges issue bench warrants when someone fails to appear in court. The bench warrant is an order giving police officers the authority to make an arrest and transport them to court to answer for failing to appear as required.
Arrest warrants and bench warrants are listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The FBI has operated the NCIC since 1967. The computerized system allows quick access and information from other criminal justice agencies.
If a police officer questions you or detains you, the officer may run your information through the NCIC. By checking the system, the police officer discovers you have an outstanding warrant from another state. The officer places you under arrest, and the process of returning you to the other state begins.
Can I Be Extradited for a Misdemeanor Charge?
Misdemeanor offenses are less serious criminal charges than felony offenses. Generally, the punishments for misdemeanor convictions are not as severe as the penalties for a felony conviction.
California classifies most DUI charges and drug crimes as misdemeanor offenses. However, state law varies. What is a misdemeanor offense in California could be a felony charge in another state.
A state can choose to extradite you for a bench warrant or arrest warrant for any criminal offense. That said, a state might not go to the expense of fighting to get you back in the state to answer for a minor misdemeanor charge. Unfortunately, you do not know what a state could do.
You never want to assume that law enforcement agencies will ignore a minor offense. Depending on the circumstances, the state could choose to extradite you for a misdemeanor charge. The best way to avoid being arrested and sent back to another state is to face criminal charges.
Hiring a Redwood City Criminal Defense Lawyer for an Out-of-State Arrest Warrant
You cannot outrun an arrest warrant or the requirement to appear in court. Even if you attempt to do so, you are always looking over your shoulder, wondering when the police might appear to arrest you. They could arrest you at home, work, or anywhere they run your identification.
Instead, seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney investigates the criminal charges against you and advises you of your options to resolve the charges.
Because bench warrants often pause the statute of limitations for criminal charges, the matter may never go away until you appear in court to respond to the charges. The longer you wait, the worse the situation could become.
If you suspect you could have an out-of-state warrant, it is best to ask a lawyer for help. Trying to search for the warrant yourself could trigger an investigation. A criminal defense lawyer understands where to search for an outstanding warrant and how to navigate the legal issues related to out-of-state arrest warrants.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best way to handle an arrest warrant. For minor charges, the state might allow you to hire local counsel to appear in court on your behalf. A criminal defense lawyer in California can assist you with that process.
In some cases, the attorneys working together may discover evidence that could result in a dismissal of charges or an acquittal. On the other hand, the lawyers might be able to work out a plea deal that does not require you to return to the other state to complete your sentence.
Until you seek legal advice, it is impossible to determine the best way to deal with an out-of-state arrest warrant.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law Today For Help.
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law – San Jose Office
1922 The Alameda #201, San Jose, CA 95126
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063