What Does it mean to Evade a Warrant?
The word evade means to avoid facing up to or to avoid answering directly. To evade a warrant means to avoid answering to the warrant of arrest. An individual evades a warrant by not going to court to face the judge who issued the warrant. Only judges can issue warrants and only judges can recall warrants that they themselves issued. A judge cannot recall a warrant from a different judge.
The issue with evading a warrant is that you can’t get jobs that require background checks, you can’t travel out of the country, you can’t obtain credit or housing, and your driver’s license can get suspended. Unfortunately, the warrant will not go away with the passage of time. The statute of limitations does not apply to warrants because the warrant stops the running of the time.
The way to stop having to run is to simply get the warrant recalled with the help of a lawyer if it is a bench warrant for failure to appear in court. If it is a fugitive warrant obtained by a police officer because he thinks you committed a crime, then you’ll need to turn yourself in on the warrant. Good criminal defense attorneys know how to set it up so you can turn yourself in and get out the same day.
Types of Warrants
There are three types of warrants, all of which are signed by a judge and entered into the system:
- Bench warrant
- Fugitive Warrant
- Probation warrant
These types of warrants are obtained in different scenarios, depending on where in the process the case exists. As stated above, the only way these warrants will go away is if the defendant stops evading the warrant.
Bench warrants are issued by judges because the defendant failed to appear in court. If someone has been arrested or received a summons to appear in court for violating a criminal law, he or she must appear at their court dates. If they do not appear, the judge can issue a bench warrant ordering law enforcement agencies to arrest the defendant upon contact. The bench warrant does not go away after a period of time. It will remain outstanding until the defendant appears in court and the judge recalls it.
The biggest problem for someone evading arrest of a bench warrant is that it could land them in jail for weeks if not months. For instance, if a defendant gets a bench warrant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for missing court and then moves to Texas, the bench warrant will follow them. They may be able to evade the warrant for a long time until that day comes when a police officer pulls them over for speeding, runs their name, and discovers the warrant. The officer could then arrest them in Texas and hold them for weeks, pending the extradition. If the defendant would’ve just came to court in the first place, he or she wouldn’t have to spend all that time in a Texas jail.
Depending on the type of criminal charge and the circumstances of the case, bench warrants may be recalled without jail time. In some situations, a lawyer can go to court for the defendant and ask the judge to recall the bench warrant without the defendant’s presence. We have been successful recalling bench warrants this way many times. But, every judge and every case is different. Some judges may want to hold the defendant in contempt of court, requiring days in jail or a fine.
The whole point of recalling a bench warrant is to get the defendant a new court date and back on the docket. The bench warrant was issued for missing court. Therefore, if the defendant starts going to court again, the issue can be resolved. It is highly-recommended to get the help of a lawyer who is familiar with this process so you can finally relax and get the weight of evading a warrant off your shoulders. You may think it is an impossible endeavor to get the warrant recalled, but our criminal lawyers may see it as a simple and possible task.
A fugitive warrant is different than a bench warrant. As stated above, a bench warrant occurs for missing court for a current case. Fugitive warrants exist before the case starts going to court. Police officers and investigators obtain fugitive warrants from a judge when they have probable cause to believe the defendant committed a crime. The judge signs the warrant giving law enforcement agencies authority to arrest the individual and place him in the jail for that jurisdiction. The judge would then set a bail amount. In some misdemeanor situations, the officer could issue a summons. However, if the individual is found in another jurisdiction evading the warrant, then he or she will probably get arrested.
Lawyers Cannot Get Fugitive Warrants Recalled
As opposed the bench warrants, a lawyer can’t get a fugitive warrant recalled. The individual must turn himself or herself into the jail to make the warrant go away. Fugitive warrants will never go away until they turn themselves in. The individual could live their life for years evading a warrant until one day it is discovered, leading to their arrest.
How a Lawyer Can Help With a Fugitive Warrant
In some situations, a lawyer can persuade the officer who obtained the fugitive warrant allow the client to turn themselves in for a summons. We have been successful doing this many times. The case must be a misdemeanor though. State law requires the individual to turn themselves into the jail on a felony fugitive warrant.
In the case of a felony fugitive warrant, our lawyers can help by arranging with the police officer and judge the remand of the client so that the client is released the same day. We help clients do this regularly. It is a great benefit to our clients because they can schedule when to come to Louisiana so it has little impact on their lives and career.
Probation warrants are obtained by a probation officer and signed by the judge who is the presiding judge over the defendant’s probation. If a defendant in a case is convicted of a crime and the judge sentences him to probation, he must comply with the conditions of probation or else the probation officer could file a Petition to Revocation, asking the judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. The longer the defendant evades a warrant for not complying with probation, the potential increased chance of serving jail time and the longer the jail sentence could be.
To get the probation warrant recalled, the defendant will need to appear in court and ask the judge to recall it. The judge will likely have the Probation Revocation Hearing to determine if he will allow the defendant to continue on probation or if he will revoke his probation and order that the suspended sentence be executed. If so, the defendant will be remanded and forced to serve a jail sentence.
Many defendants who evade a probation warrant never turn themselves in. They are usually caught eventually in another state and must go through the extradition process. By the time they have returned back in front of the judge, they will have been in jail for weeks. The judge will not be happy with them because they were evading the warrant in another state. This is a bad case scenario that could’ve been avoided if the defendant would’ve just hired a criminal defense attorney.
Stop Evading a Warrant and Get Help
We find that most people think that clearing up a warrant is too expensive and difficult. That is not always the case. Our lawyers can usually take care of a warrant with the proper steps. It ends up being much more expensive and difficult for individuals when they do not clear up the warrant.
It is common for an individual to say, “I had that warrant for years and been stopped by officers multiple times who saw the warrant, but I was never arrested. So, why should I bother turning myself in.” All it takes is for the wrong officer to decide to arrest you. It catches up with everyone.
Evading a warrant indefinitely limits the jobs you can get, apartments you can lease, financing you can obtain from banks, and schools you can attend. Evading a warrant can be detrimental in moving forward in life. If you are tired of evading a warrant, contact us for help. We defend clients in all areas of Louisiana.