What Can I Do If I Have An Outstanding Houston Arrest Warrant?
What Does an Outstanding Houston Warrant Mean? An arrest warrant is a judge’s order which authorizes law enforcement to arrest an individual for a crime they are believed to have committed. A Houston warrant would list the specific criminal charge, as well as the person’s name who is being sought. An outstanding warrant simply means the warrant was issued weeks, months, or even years ago, yet is still valid because no arrest has been made. The warrant can be outstanding, yet valid, for a number of reasons, including:
- The person who is the subject of the warrant had no knowledge of the warrant;
- The person who is the subject of the warrant is deliberately evading law enforcement, or
- The law enforcement agency responsible for serving the warrant has not done so.
If you have an outstanding warrant against you, you could conceivably be arrested at any time—while you are at work, while you are having dinner with your family, while you are standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. In addition to the consequences of having an outstanding warrant, you also have to face the original criminal offense, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.
While there are statutes of limitations on most criminal offenses, it is a mistake to think that if you can avoid being arrested, the statutes will run out and you will be free and clear. When you have an outstanding warrant, your original charge never expires because you are considered a fugitive from justice. You may wonder whether there are any legal defenses to your outstanding warrant, and, in fact there are some.
To be able to use such a defense, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable Houston Criminal Defense Attorney who can explain your reason to the court. Perhaps you were unable to make your court date due to an emergency, or there is another reason you did not appear in court as ordered. If you only suspect there may be an outstanding warrant with your name on it, your Houston Criminal Attorney will be able to check with local law enforcement or contact the court directly on your behalf.
What Is the Difference Between a Felony Outstanding Warrant and a Misdemeanor Outstanding Warrant? Because a felony criminal offense is more serious than a misdemeanor felony offense, having a felony outstanding warrant is more serious, overall, than having a misdemeanor outstanding warrant. Unless you are caught in the act of committing a felony offense, the police must have permission to detain you after the fact. This permission comes in the form of an arrest warrant, which is issued by the court.
A Harris County Judge issues a felony warrant when law enforcement can show probable cause that a felony was committed and that you are the person who committed the felony offense. Felony warrants typically do not expire, remaining in effect for years, or even decades. The felony warrant will stay in effect until police arrest you or a countermanding order is issued by the court which revokes the warrant. In some cases, a jurisdiction will revoke a warrant if your Houston Criminal Attorney contacts the court and arranges for you to surrender yourself to the court.
Felony warrants can be served anywhere, even in a different state. A felony warrant is required to be very specific, containing your name, or a description which is clear enough to identify you with no risk of arresting an innocent person. There must be a detailed description of the criminal offense you are being charged with, and the signature of the issuing judge. In most cases, when you have a felony warrant with your name on it, speaking to an experienced Houston Criminal Attorney and arranging to surrender yourself is probably the best course of action.
A misdemeanor warrant is similar to a felony warrant, but for a less serious criminal offense. As with a felony warrant, if there is probable cause to suspect you have committed a misdemeanor criminal offense a court-sanctioned document calling for your arrest can be issued. A misdemeanor crime in the state of Texas could be DWI, criminal mischief, certain drug crimes with small amounts of a controlled substance, petty theft or disorderly conduct. If there is a misdemeanor warrant out for your arrest, you can speak to a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you consult a licensed bail bondsman and have your warrant quashed which removes the threat of arrest.
How Much Trouble Can an Outstanding Warrant Cause? As noted, the biggest issue with an outstanding warrant is that you could potentially be arrested any time, anywhere. You could be on an outing with your family, at work, in a meeting, or dropping your children off at school when you are arrested—handcuffed, placed in a police cruiser and taken to jail in front of friends, family and co-workers. For this reason, contacting an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Lawyer is the best course of action once there is a warrant with your name on it.
How Do I Post a Bond? If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you may post a cash bond—you place a certain amount of cash with the appropriate court to guarantee you will appear at your next court date. If you fail to appear, your money is forfeited. If you appear and are found not guilty—or your charges are dismissed—then your bond will be returned. You could post a surety bond which is accomplished by contacting a bonding company. For a fee, the bonding company puts up a bond which guarantees you will appear at your hearing. The court has nothing to do with the contract between you and the bonding agent, and the bonding company charges a fee for each bond posted. Finally, you can request that you be released on personal bond. The judge will consider the type of charges against you, your ties to the community, and whether your arrest was the result of a warrant for a failure to appear.
How a Houston Criminal Lawyer from Sullo & Sullo Can Help with Your Outstanding Warrant - If you have a felony or misdemeanor warrant against you—or even if you think you might have such a warrant—it is extremely important that you contact a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney from Sullo & Sullo. An experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Attorney can consider all the facts surrounding your charges, determining the best way to proceed. Harris County Arrests can be extremely frightening; you want to avoid Harris County Criminal Records, Harris County Jail and having to deal directly with the Harris County District Attorney. It is likely you have many questions, and your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer can answer those questions thoroughly.