The first question many people may have when they find out there’s an outstanding arrest warrant is, “Should I turn myself in?” Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question. While it’s true that turning yourself in will resolve the warrant, the decision is completely up to you. Whatever you choose, it is important to proceed carefully.
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Before Turning Myself in on an Arrest Warrant?
Although hiring a lawyer before turning yourself in may not be necessary, consulting with a criminal defense attorney beforehand can be helpful. An attorney may be able to find out additional information about your warrant, or even talk to law enforcement to find out why they want to speak to you and whether a warrant has actually been issued.
Before turning yourself in to law enforcement contact the sheriff or local bondsman to find out the amount of your bond (money needed to be released from custody) and your payment options. If you know the amount of your bond you may be able to take this money with you when you turn yourself in, or have an arraignment with a bondsman for that amount. This way, you can reduce the amount of time you have to spend in custody.
What is a “No Bond” Hold?
Let’s say you contact the bonds person and find out that the arrest warrant shows a “no bond” hold. What does that mean? Put simply, it means that there is currently no bond amount set on the arrest warrant. Certain crimes carry with them “no bond” holds which require that the accused be brought before a judge where the court will set a bond amount. For example, in Colorado, people charged with domestic violence crimes cannot post a bond until the court issues a mandatory protection order that is signed and acknowledged, in court, by the accused. Pending a bond hearing, there’s also a list of crimes that carry a “no bond hold.”
What Should I Expect Once I Turn Myself In?
Always make sure that someone you trust knows about your situation and how you plan to proceed. Typically, if you already have the bond amount you can post that bond and be released after your information has been processed at the precinct. All too often, however, if you cannot afford your bond you will be booked into jail until you can see a judge or magistrate. This means that if you are arrested on Friday or during the weekend you may have to sit and wait in jail until your bond hearing on Monday.
If you are unable to post bond immediately upon arrest, lawyers can often be helpful by requesting a bond hearing to lower the amount of your bond, or suggest alternative conditions for your release, such as random drug screens, wearing an ankle monitor, or any other condition that would help ensure your future appearance in court.
Recommendations Regarding Arrest Warrants
- The best recommendation is to avoid a warrant by attending all court dates, following court orders, and paying all fines.
- Even if you are innocent, if the police call you, DO NOT voluntarily meet with law enforcement.
- If you are questioned by law enforcement, exercise your right to remain silent. Remember the phrase, “I’d like to remain silent. I want to talk to an attorney before answering any questions or making any statements.”
- While in custody, assume EVERY conversation is recorded and DO NOT talk about your case on the phone or with other inmates.
- Do not bring weapons, valuables, tobacco, or drugs into court/jail.
- If you have medical needs that require special care or medications, talk to the Sheriff and find out about their medical procedures before turning yourself in.
- Remember the phone number of at least one trusted friend or family member in case you don’t have access to your cellphone while in custody.
- Treat the jail and court personnel with respect and courtesy. Being polite may not help you get out of custody more quickly but it will make your stay more pleasant.
Contact Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyers If You Have An Arrest Warrant
With the help of a criminal defense lawyer you may be able to avoid getting arrested altogether. For simple bench warrants for Failure To Appear, your lawyer may be able to contact the court and set a new court date for you to show up with your lawyer and “quash” your warrant. For some traffic offenses, a lawyer may be able to file a written motion to waive your appearance and go to court for you.
At the Law office of Andres R. Guevara, we have extensive experience in assisting our clients regarding arrest warrants. Having a warrant out there is a terrifying experience and no one wants to wonder if they will get arrested at home or on their way to work. For peace of mind and assistance, contact us at (720) 379-8262.
Author: Attorney Andres Guevara