California Arrest Warrants – California Criminal Attorneys
What is a California Arrest Warrant?
California arrest warrants authorize law enforcement officers to arrest and detain you if they suspect you have committed a crime outside of an officer’s presence. A judge can issue one of two types of arrest warrants:
- Felony Arrest Warrant (PC813 through PC816), or
- Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant (PC1427)
Judges issue arrest warrants in California based on:
- Evidence presented to them by a law enforcement officer and/or a District Attorney; or
- Following a grand jury indictment.
California arrest warrants must include all of the following information in order to be valid:
- the name of the defendant;
- the crime for which he/she is being charged;
- the time of issuance;
- the city or county of issuance;
- the amount of bail, if any;
- the signature and title of the judge; and
- the name of the court.
How are California Arrest Warrants Issued?
A judge may issue a warrant in California in either of the following two ways:
1. Upon a Declaration by a Peace Officer and/or the District Attorney
The first is based on the declaration of a law enforcement officer and/or by the D.A. When a law enforcement officer suspects that you committed a crime (outside of his/her presence), the officer will attempt to obtain an arrest warrant. If the crime is committed in the officer’s presence, no warrant is necessary and you may be arrested on the spot.
In order to obtain a warrant, the officer must demonstrate “probable case” that you committed a crime. “Probable cause” is a legal standard. It means that there is a reasonable belief that criminal activity is or has taken place.
Upon review of the evidence, the officer will then present the case to the judge for an arrest warrant. If the judge agrees that there is probable cause that (1) a crime was committed, and (2) you committed the alleged offense, the judge will issue the warrant.
2. After a Grand Jury Indictment
The second — and much less common way — for the judge to issue a warrant for your arrest follows an indictment by the grand jury. A grand jury is sometimes convened to determine if there is enough information for a prosecutor to charge you with an offense. If the grand jury finds probable cause to believe that you committed the alleged offense, this triggers an indictment and the judge will likely issue a warrant for your arrest.
How is a California Arrest Warrant Served?
Although a judge issues the arrest warrant, law enforcement officers execute the warrant.
Once an officer receives an arrest warrant, he/she must execute it and make an arrest. If the officer willfully fails to do so, he/she may be prosecuted for contempt of court.
The warrant also must be executed within a reasonable time. If it isn’t, you may be entitled to a dismissal of the charge(s) on the grounds that your constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated. If this happens, an experienced California criminal defense lawyer may be able to bring what is known as a “Serna Motion” (Serna v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239.)
When Can Police Execute California Arrest Warrants?
Certain rules govern what time of day an arrest warrant may be executed. Felony arrest warrants may be executed at any time. Misdemeanor arrest warrants may only be executed between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. unless:
- the arrest is made in a public place; or
- the person is already being held in custody on another criminal matter, or
- the judge states on the warrant that it may be executed at any time
Once you have been arrested, the state must place you before the judge without any unnecessary delay, which usually means within 48 hours of your arrest (excluding Sundays and holidays). Criminal proceedings may begin against you at this point.
Why should you hire a lawyer if you have a warrant out for your arrest?
If you have a warrant out for your arrest, it is imperative that you contact an attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys may be able to negotiate with the court for a bail reduction or an “O/R release” saving you a considerable amount of money. Our California criminal attorneys may even be able to help you avoid spending any time in jail.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have successfully represented clients for over 30 years. We have the knowledge and experience to successfully handle California arrest warrants.
Call (877) 466-5245 today or fill out our confidential form for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.