Do I Turn Myself In If There’s a Warrant for My Arrest?
Most criminal cases in Texas begin with a judge or magistrate issuing a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. If you have reason to believe there is an active arrest warrant for you, your first instinct might be to try and run. That is never a good idea. The longer a person waits to turn themselves in a warrant, the more it looks like they are being either irresponsible or trying to avoid the legal process or both. In representing someone, we advise people turn themselves in and post bond in an orderly way at their convenience as soon as they can. In turning yourself in you develop a track record of conscientious and responsible behavior that is sure to pay dividends to you as your case proceeds.
Your second option with respect to a warrant is to simply wait for the police to come to your home and arrest you. But you may also opt to turn yourself in and “face the music,” as it were. Before taking this step, however, it is always a good idea to first speak with a qualified Collin County criminal defense lawyer. Remember, you have a constitutional right to the advice and assistance of counsel at all stages of a criminal case against you. This includes the period of time before you choose to surrender yourself to police custody.
Arrest Warrant vs. Summons
In some criminal cases an arrest warrant is unnecessary. For example, if you are driving your car and a police officer pulls you over, you are subject to immediate arrest if there is evidence to suggest you committed a crime such as driving under the influence of alcohol. But when you are not already in police custody, it is necessary for a magistrate to issue an arrest warrant under Section 15.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
A warrant is simply a written order to a police officer “or some other personal specifically named” directing them to take a “person accused of an offense” into custody. A warrant is not the same thing as a formal indictment. In other words, it will not include a detailed account of the specific charges or evidence against the suspect named. However, it must include a statement that the person “is accused of some offense against the laws of the State, naming the offense.”
Negotiating Your Surrender & Making Bail
Once a magistrate issues a warrant, you will be taken into custody. The only question is whether you surrender yourself voluntarily or wait for the police to find you. Keep in mind, once a warrant is issued, law enforcement can arrest you at any time and in any place. Leaving Collin County, or even the State of Texas, will not defeat the warrant. And once the police do find you, they are not obligated to “give you time” to put your affairs in order before entering into custody.
Put another way, time is of the essence when there is a warrant for your arrest. So, the first thing you should do once you learn there is an arrest warrant is contact a Collin County criminal defense attorney. Defense lawyers are experts when it comes to assisting criminal suspects through the arrest and booking process. Depending on the nature of the charges, a defense attorney may be able to assist you in negotiating the specific terms of your surrender and even help you make bail within a few hours of your formal arrest.
Indeed, in all but limited circumstances such as repeat family violence or protective order violations, you are entitled to reasonable bond. Your defense attorney can help you deal with the court at a bond hearing. It may be possible to reduce or even eliminate the need for cash bail. Again, a lot depends on the specific nature of your case and the severity of the charges against you. But not having a lawyer will almost certainly make your case for reasonable bail more difficult.
Facing a Warrant for Your Arrest in Texas? We Can Help
Once you have dealt with the arrest and bail process, you are still facing a criminal trial. At Rosenthal & Wadas, our experienced criminal lawyers in Collin County can assist you in preparing a defense and making sure the judge or jury hears your side of the story. Contact us today at (972) 369-0577 if you need immediate legal advice or assistance.