As with stories, there are two sides to arrest warrants: the side of the person or institute seeking the warrant and the side of the person who is going to be arrested. Arrest warrants are issued by magistrate court judges after probable cause has been shown that a crime was committed. Many arrests happen without a warrant being obtained first. This occurs when a law enforcement officer witnesses a crime, arrests the person committing it and then seeks the warrant from a judge. Other times, the police will investigate a case, determine that a crime has been committed and then seek a warrant. After the judge issues the warrant, the sheriff’s department or police department then go take the person into custody on the warrant.
SEEKING AN ARREST WARRANT
Individuals and companies can also seek arrest warrants without police involvement. While it is usually recommended that the police conduct an investigation into a case before a warrant is sought (after all, the police are trained investigators and are familiar with the legal process), it is possible to get a warrant without having to involve them. The usual process is for a person to go to the magistrate court in the county where the crime was committed and speak with the clerk. The clerk will provide the person with the appropriate forms to complete and a hearing will usually be scheduled. The purpose of the hearing is for both sides to appear and explain their case. If the judge finds that probable cause exists to show a crime was committed then an arrest warrant will be issued.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF A CRIME
If you think you have been the victim of a crime, it is best to contact your local police department’s non-emergency number (assuming, of course, that it is not an immediate emergency) and report the crime. Obviously, if your situation is an emergency, please call 911. In non-emergency situations, the police will take a report and often will direct you to the local magistrate office so that you can begin the warrant process. Understand that if you have to go to a hearing to obtain the warrant, you will need to bring with you proof that a crime has been committed. That proof can consist of audio/video or photographs, documentary evidence and witnesses. Likewise, if a person is seeking a warrant against you, you need to bring whatever proof you can to show that no crime was committed.
If a warrant has been issued for your arrest or you need assistance seeking or fighting an arrest warrant, please contact my office at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.