Whether you forgot to pay a traffic violation fine or just pulled off a bank heist, having a warrant out for your arrest is no laughing matter. An arrest warrant comes with serious consequences. Learn more about what it means to have a warrant so you can steer clear of trouble.
What is a Warrant?
A warrant authorizes the person executing the warrant to perform an otherwise illegal act.
Typically, warrants allow law officers to take an action that would otherwise interfere with some of the constitutional rights of an individual. Judges or magistrates issue several types of warrants: search warrants, execution warrants, and arrest warrants.
What is a Warrant to Arrest?
Judges issue arrest warrants on behalf of the state. Arrest warrants authorize law officers to arrest and detain the individual in question, or search and seize the individual’s property.
The United States Congress and other political entities can also issue warrants when necessary.
Reasons You Might Receive a Warrant
Think officials only issue warrants for bad guys running from the law? Think again.
A judge can issue a warrant for many different reasons, including but not limited to:
- Failure to appear at a mandatory court date (known as a bench warrant).
- Failure to address a traffic ticket.
- Suspected of involvement in a misdemeanor.
- Suspected of involvement in a crime.
The Consequences of An Arrest Warrant
Once a judge grants an arrest warrant, law enforcement officials can legally arrest the individual in question anywhere he or she is found: at home, at work, on the road, or any other public place.
After a suspect is arrested, he or she can face jail time. Also, if arrested and sent to jail, you can face fines associated with paying bail and, if found guilty, a criminal record. Potential employers, landlords, and others who search your criminal history can find such arrests in your background check.
No doubt, arrest warrants are serious business. So, the next time you consider ignoring a traffic ticket or missing a court appearance, know the risk you run.
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Have you ever had a warrant out for your arrest? Tell us about the experience in the comments section.