What To Do If You Have a Warrant Out For Your Arrest
Typically, an individual becomes aware that they have been charged with a crime by being arrested or issued a summons on the spot at the time of the alleged offense. However, this is not always the scenario that plays out. In certain circumstances, it could take hours, days, months, or even years before a person is accused of a crime. In these cases, law enforcement will need an arrest warrant to take the suspect into custody.
Unfortunately, you would usually only find out that you have an outstanding warrant when the police show up to arrest you. However, in most jurisdictions in Virginia, you can call the local police department’s warrant desk to inquire whether an arrest warrant is active against you or somebody you know.
If you do become aware that you have an arrest warrant issued against you, the most important thing to do is to act quickly. Start by immediately contacting a criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand several important issues, such as: (1) how to arrange for you to turn yourself in at the booking area of the jail rather than be picked up by the police, (2) whether you will be released on bond or held in custody, based on the specific facts and charges in your case, and (3) if you are held in jail, what information to provide to adequately prepare for a bond motion.
One final, but very important, thing to remember is to never to make any verbal or written statements to anyone while your matter is under investigation or is active. Remember, anything said to a police officer, detective, and/or third party may be used against you. This would include any communication had within the jail (including phone conversations) with anyone other than your attorney.
If you are charged with a crime, you owe it to yourself to seek the sound counsel of an experienced attorney to understand the rights you have under the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Do not wait until it is too late and you have dug yourself in a hole by making statements against your own interests, or by not turning yourself in on an active warrant under your own terms.