An arrest is likely to be one of the most stressful experiences you will go through if you’re unlucky enough to be subject of one. What can be even more jarring is when you didn’t expect to be charged at all and learn there is a warrant out for your arrest. You may be wondering: how is there a warrant for my arrest out there? Who has the authority to issue a warrant for my arrest and what do I do next? Understanding the answers to these questions will help you understand your criminal charges and how to turn yourself, so you face the minimal consequences.
If you or someone you know has been subject to an arrest warrant, it’s important you seek experienced legal representation. The next steps you take to turn yourself in are vital to your case, so having a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side who understands criminal trial procedures is crucial. So, do what’s best for your future by contacting a knowledgeable arrest warrant attorney as soon as possible.
Houston Defense Lawyer for Arrest Warrants in Texas
Have you recently learned there is a warrant out for your arrest? Are you unsure on how to turn yourself in without facing additional penalties? If yes, then we highly suggest you get in contact with The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm has assisted numerous Texans turn themselves in peacefully as well as assisted them with obtaining bond shortly thereafter. He will work tirelessly to ensure you face the least consequences from turning yourself in whilst building a sturdy defense to use against the prosecution at trial.
Arrest warrant defense attorney Brian Benken practices throughout the greater Houston and Harris County area including Westchase, River Oaks, Memorial Area, Houston Heights and Midtown. Call The Benken Law Firm now at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free of charge.
Overview of Arrest Warrants in Texas
- What is an Arrest Warrant?
- What is a Bench Warrant?
- Can Law Enforcement Arrest Me Without a Warrant?
- What Do I Do If I’m Being Arrested?
- Additional Resources
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement the legal right to arrest a certain person. Only a judge can issue an arrest warrant where there is sufficient probable cause to believe the person named on the warrant committed a criminal offense. In some cases, a judge won’t issue a warrant but instead a “summons,” which also orders the named person to appear at a court date. However, it doesn’t give law enforcement the authority to actively go out and arrest them.
Law enforcement are required to inform the accused that they’re being arrested pursuant to a warrant. The officer also doesn’t need to have the arrest warrant on their person to make an arrest. Additionally, law enforcement is authorized to break into a habitation or other building to make an arrest if it’s deemed necessary.
What is a Bench Warrant?
The most common type of warrant judges issue out to offenders are called bench warrants. A bench warrant is issued when a person violates a court order and is therefore in contempt of court. This differs from an arrest warrant because the person named is not being accused of any crime. They are instead being accused of offenses against the court. For instance, if you refuse to pay child support, then the judge who wrote the original court order may issue a bench warrant against you in retaliation.
Often a person will be issued a bench warrant after they fail to appear in court. In some cases, the person named on the bench warrant wasn’t even aware they were being summoned to court in the first place. However, ignorance to the court date isn’t a valid defense for missing a court date. If an officer pulls you over and discovers a bench warrant, then they can then detain you until you’ve paid the appropriate bond.
Can Law Enforcement Arrest Me without a Warrant?
Law enforcement are not bound by an arrest warrant if certain factors are proven to be true. Texas law allows for many situations where a person can be legally arrested without an arrest warrant including:
- If an officer observed the commission of an offense
- If the officer had probable cause to believe that a crime was committed that violated a protective order
- If the officer had probable cause to believe that a felony offense was committed, and the assailant could escape
- If the officer had recovered stolen property and had reason to believe the defendant stole it;
- If the officer had probable cause to believe that an assault has occurred, and the victim is still undergoing the assault;
- If the defendant is found in a “suspicious place” and under circumstances that show that the person has committed or is about to commit a felony, disorderly conduct, a breach of the peace, or public intoxication
- If the officer had probable cause to believe the defendant just assaulted a family member, significant other or household member
- If the defendant has prevented or interfered with an emergency phone call to 911
- If the defendant made a voluntary statement to the officer that gave the officer probable cause to believe the person had committed a felony.
What Do I Do If I’m Being Arrested?
Being arrested is universally a frightening and sometimes traumatizing experience. Knowing what to do to ease the situation and to protect your rights will help significantly if you’re arrested in the future. The following are the steps you should take if you find yourself under arrest.
- Do not resist. Resisting arrest, even if you are innocent, will lead to further criminal charges. The best thing to do is comply and go through the booking process. If the arrest is unlawful, you should expect to be released soon with the help of your attorney.
- Exercise your right to remain silent with law enforcement. You have a constitutional right to not incriminate yourself by staying silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, so staying silent throughout every part of arrest and booking is crucial. This will also stop law enforcement from questioning you for long periods.
- Tell the police you wish to speak to an attorney. Law enforcement are legally required to allow you time with an attorney appointed to you or you’ve hired yourself. They cannot question you if you ask for legal representation.
- Do not speak with other people in jail about your arrest history.
The best thing you can do after being arrested is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Be prepared to be completely honest with your attorney about the circumstances surrounding your arrest and criminal history. Your attorney will need all the facts in order to craft a sturdy defense for your charges.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office | Warrant Search Tool– Access the site for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about their arrest warrant search program. Access the site to check if you’re subject to an arrest or bench warrant for the municipal or district courts in Texas.
Arrest Warrant Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and read their chapter on arrest warrants. Access the site to read the statutory language surrounding arrest warrants, what’s required in an affidavit and the steps law enforcement must do to request an arrest warrant from a judge.
Arrest Warrant Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you or someone you know has been subject to an arrest warrant, then it’s time you secure legal representation as soon as possible. Time to defend yourself is limited and the quicker you can turn yourself in peacefully, the more time you have to build your defense. Find an experienced and criminal defense attorney by contacting The Benken Law Firm.
Brian Benken has 30 years of experience under his belt he can utilize for your case. You can get in touch with him by calling (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free. The Benken Law Firm accepts cases throughout the greater Harris County area including all parts of Texas.