What to Do if There’s a Warrant for Your Arrest in New York
Learning you have a warrant out for your arrest is always a nasty surprise. If you’ve learned about it by any means other than being arrested you have some room to move, but what should you be doing?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What the Warrant Means
A warrant means one of three things.
It can mean someone filed a complaint against you, claiming you committed a crime, and the police department took it seriously enough to issue a warrant for your arrest. It can mean that a Grand Jury has already met and indicted you. It can also mean that you missed a court date or failed to fulfill some other court order, and a judge issued a bench warrant.
The idea that the warrant will only be enforced in a traffic stop is a myth. Police can and do show up at homes and workplaces to make their arrests.
What You Should Do
Start by calling an attorney. If you’ve been lucky enough to find out about the warrant before an arrest has been made then you have the luxury of choosing your attorney, talking to them outside of the jail, and helping them to gather exculpatory evidence before you have a run-in with police. This also gives you some time to get your affairs in order with your job or finances so that the arrest is less disruptive.
Your attorney can also schedule a surrender to the police in a way that spares you from embarrassment, gives the cops little or nothing to search when they take you into custody, and even spares you a night in jail by timing the arrest and bail hearings correctly.
There is no extra punishment for failing to turn yourself in.
Finally, you should avoid talking about the case or the warrant to anyone other than your attorney, other than to warn your family that a warrant exists and you plan to deal with it. Communications with your attorney are privileged. Communications with friends and family members are not, which means they can be called to the stand and interviewed by a prosecutor who wants to use their answers against you.
How can you check for outstanding warrants?
You can check warrants by calling the appropriate county clerk. Here are the county clerk websites for the areas we serve here at Scott Russell Law.
Be careful about using “warrant search” websites as these are usually landing pages for companies that want to sell you copies of “your personal information,” which may or may not be accurate.
If you find that there’s a warrant out for your arrest, don’t delay. Get help from Scott Russell Law today.