What Is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge once law enforcement officials or a grand jury have found enough probable cause to suspect that a person has committed a crime. With an arrest warrant, the police can arrest the suspect in any public space or in their residence.
What Is Included in an Arrest Warrant?
According to NJ Court Rule 7:2-1, an arrest warrant must contain the following information:
- The name of the defendant
- The court to which the defendant must be brought following the arrest
- The signature of a judge or court administrator which acknowledges that probable cause exists
Additionally, the warrant may specify the amount that must be posted for bail or the conditions of said bail. Note that if no bail is allowed, you will be detained until you can appear in court.
What Types of Crimes Result in a Warrant of Arrest?
Generally, arrest warrants are issued to pursue indictable offenses. They can include, but are not limited to, the following suspected crimes:
- Second degree aggravated assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Grand theft auto
If the crime involved the possession or use of a firearm, that can also be grounds for an arrest warrant.
Arrest Warrant Versus a Summons or a Bench Warrant
A summons differs from an arrest warrant in that you will not be arrested. Instead, you will be instructed to appear before the court on a certain date of your own volition. A summons will not happen in the case of serious indictable offenses.
A bench warrant is usually issued for a failure to complete some court ordered action, such as failure to appear in court or failure to pay court fines. These can get you arrested like an arrest warrant. However, the main difference is that with an arrest warrant the police will actively pursue your arrest. The police won’t necessarily pursue a bench warrant but if you come into contact with the police for other reasons, like a traffic stop, they can arrest you in order to bring you before the court.
Are You Facing an Arrest Warrant?
You have every right to be nervous if you find out that your name is on an arrest warrant. While you can surrender yourself to the court, that in itself is not guaranteed to give you special consideration. Before doing that or anything else, it is imperative that you seek out and retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Schneider Freiberger, we are experts at navigating the court system and making sure suspects are treated fairly.