Arrest Warrants in Texas

The Lingering Fear of an Arrest Warrant

The thought of having a pending warrant can surely stir a storm of worries for anyone caught in this situation. Right off the bat, the idea of getting arrested unexpectedly at home, work, or anywhere out in public can be unsettling, mostly because of the embarrassment it can cause. Alongside this, is the uneasy feeling that comes with having one’s privacy invaded since warrants usually allow personal spaces and belongings to be searched.

The big scare of ending up behind bars is another worry that looms large, especially for those with families depending on them. This concern is closely followed by the financial headache that comes with tackling legal issues. There are attorney fees, court charges, and potential fines to think about, and that’s not even considering the income lost if one has to miss work for court appearances or due to detention.

A ripple effect of these concerns is the strain it puts on the mind. The uncertainty surrounding what could happen next could brew a lot of stress and anxiety, which in turn, could strain relationships with family and friends. It’s not easy when people close to you start judging or distancing themselves out of fear or prejudice.

There’s also a worry for non-citizens who might have to deal with immigration issues on top of everything else. A pending warrant could threaten their immigration status, even leading to deportation in some cases.

Then there’s the dark cloud of possibly gaining a criminal record, a tag that could follow one around for a long time. It could make finding a job, securing a decent place to live, or even forming new relationships a lot harder.

There is Hope for Pending Texas Warrants

A pending warrant does not necessarily mean you will be arrested or face jail time. The guide below is designed to deepen your understanding of your warrant, and outline immediate steps that can be taken to protect you from arrest or incarceration, with the possibility of even getting any existing warrants dismissed.

Conducting a Warrant Search in Texas

If you’re looking to do a warrant search in Texas, there are multiple routes to consider. Local counties and law enforcement agencies maintain online databases where you can begin your search, but it’s essential to have the full name and sometimes additional details of the individual in question. Alternatively, you can get this information from the County Clerk’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, or even the District Court of the relevant county. There’s also the Texas Department of Public Safety, which offers a more comprehensive, statewide criminal history search for a fee. Be cautious of third-party websites; while they provide a consolidated search experience, their data might not always be current, and they often come with charges.

Importantly, if you’re personally involved, consider enlisting an attorney’s assistance to undertake the search. Directly contacting governmental bodies might inadvertently reveal your location, especially concerning if there’s a warrant against you. An attorney not only safeguards your confidentiality but can also provide insights about the warrant, potentially dismiss it, and if needed, guide you through a “walk-through arrest” process. This procedure involves walking into the police station with your attorney and walking out shortly after, ensuring minimal disruptions.

What is a Warrant in Texas?

Issued by a judge or a magistrate, an arrest warrant is a legal document allowing law enforcement to apprehend an individual they suspect has committed a crime. The process of issuing a warrant begins with a sworn affidavit from law enforcement or a district attorney which is presented to a judge, outlining the evidence and probable cause supporting the accusation. This affidavit will also include all known information about the individual in question, including identifying details, date of birth, known addresses.

Once the warrant has been signed by a judge, law enforcement has the authority to arrest the individual on sight, whether at their home, workplace, or on the street. As a warrant has no expiration date, it remains valid until the suspect is apprehended. Also, it is worth noting that arrest warrants are a matter of public record.

There are certain fundamental rights that the suspect retains even as they are placed under arrest, including a speedy trial, legal representation, remaining silent and being fully informed of the charges brought against them. They may also retain the right to be released on bond, letting them remain out of custody until their trial, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

In the state of Texas, if you believe that an arrest warrant has been issued in your name, you should contact an attorney immediately. They will be able to protect your rights, determine whether or not a warrant exists, and provide legal advice on how best to address it. Even if turning yourself in and trusting in your own innocence seems like the right idea, an attorney can help you better understand the options before you.

How a Defense Attorney Can Protect You from Warrants

Attorneys possess a variety of methods to assist in addressing an arrest warrant while ensuring your legal safety. By engaging directly with the prosecution or the judge, they can aim to have the warrant resolved through a fine or an alternative sanction, based on the nature of the charges. They are able to draft and submit motions in your favor, which can secure your constitutional rights, counter the evidence presented against you, or establish an alibi. In scenarios where these approaches don’t succeed, they can coordinate with the court to arrange your surrender, providing an opportunity to challenge the charges in a court setting.

Your understanding of any potential charges can be thoroughly enhanced without tipping off law enforcement, thanks to the adeptness of an experienced attorney. With their privilege to access specialized databases, they can swiftly delve into any warrant details, furnishing real-time information. Following their examination, they can devise a strategy based on the gathered insights. This way, through various techniques, they help not only in understanding the circumstances surrounding a warrant but also in working towards its resolution or dismissal.

Extradition: Warrants Issued Across State Lines

Extradition procedures, as defined by the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, commence when a state seeks the return of an individual for a crime committed within its jurisdiction. The process unfolds through a written request, validated by the executive authority of the requesting state, and delivered to the governor of the state where the individual is located, say Texas. This request should demonstrate that the suspect was present in the requesting state during the crime and later fled. Accompanying documentation such as a copy of the warrant, the formal charges known as an indictment, or in the case of a prior conviction, a copy of the conviction alongside details on custody escape or parole or probation violations may be included.

Upon receipt of the request, the Texas governor evaluates it through an extradition hearing. If approved, a Governor’s Warrant, also known as a fugitive warrant if the individual fled post-conviction, is issued. The individual is then apprehended and transported back to the requesting state for legal proceedings. However, the individuals are not devoid of rights and can contest the extradition decision in court, with the assistance of an attorney to guide them through this complex process.

Across states, law enforcement agencies share databases containing details on outstanding warrants, allowing for inter-state cooperation. Therefore, an individual in Texas can be arrested for warrants issued from any part of the U.S, showcasing the extended arm of law enforcement beyond state boundaries.

Federal Warrants

A federal warrant, issued by a federal magistrate, empowers agencies like the FBI or the U.S. Marshals to execute arrests, conduct property searches, and undertake further questioning of individuals concerning violations recognized as federal crimes by the U.S. Code. Though functioning similarly to state-level arrest warrants, federal warrants carry a higher authority, overriding state and local jurisdictions.

Counteracting an Arrest Warrant

In Texas, numerous strategies exist for disputing an arrest warrant, especially if you suspect it was erroneously issued or infringes upon your rights. Here are some avenues you could explore:

  • • Questioning the Warrant Issuance: Here, the focus is on demonstrating that the warrant came about due to incorrect or inadequate data, like a lack of probable cause or the inclusion of erroneous or outdated facts.

  • •Contesting Warrant Particularity: Across all states, including Texas, a warrant should align with the Fourth Amendment’s specificity stipulation. A challenge can be mounted if a warrant is vague concerning the areas to be searched or items to be confiscated.

  • • Challenging Execution Procedures: Texas law stipulates certain procedures for a warrant’s enactment, rooted in the Fourth Amendment. Discrepancies in any phase, from application to execution, can be disputed.

  • • Disputing Warrantless Arrests or Searches: Sometimes, “exigent circumstances” are cited by law enforcement as the rationale for warrantless actions. The validity of these circumstances can be contested.

  • • Highlighting Statute of Limitations Oversights: Texas mandates that misdemeanor charges be introduced within two years, while felonies have a three-year window. More grave felonies have varying timeframes extending to 5, 7, or 10 plus years. Exceptionally severe crimes like murder or major child sexual assault have no statute of limitations.


Challenging the Warrant

If you are successful in challenging a warrant on the grounds listed above, any evidence obtained through that warrant can be suppressed, rendering it useless to the prosecution against you in court.

Your attorney can also negotiate directly with the prosecution or the judge or file a motion to resolve or invalidate a warrant.

Failure to Appear Warrants and Bench Warrants

When an individual fails to attend a scheduled court date, a judge has the authority to issue a “Failure to Appear” warrant. Similar to arrest warrants, these are sanctioned by a judge, empowering law enforcement to detain the person concerned. These warrants are handed down from the judge’s bench in court.

Essentially, if a person has been summoned to court to address charges, a Failure to Appear warrant acts as an additional charge. It can sometimes be regarded as a separate offense from the initial charge, entailing its own set of fines and penalties. Despite the issuance of a Failure to Appear warrant, the opportunity for bail or bond may still be available, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Fortunately, resolving a Failure to Appear warrant can follow a similar route as with arrest warrants. Your attorney can negotiate regarding fines, penalties, and securing a new court date.

Potential Excuses for a Failure to Appear Warrant in Texas

Addressing a Failure to Appear charge requires a forthright and immediate approach towards the court, with the acceptance of any explanations being contingent on factors like jurisdiction and the nature of the initial charges. Various scenarios could serve as possible explanations, which include medical emergencies or hospitalizations substantiated by medical documents; family crises such as a death, backed by necessary documentation; automotive issues like accidents or breakdowns, corroborated by a police report or towing receipt. Other situations like a recent change in address leading to missed court notifications, validated by change of address documentation; genuine miscommunications concerning the court date and time, proven with relevant evidence; incorrect or unclear court date notices, substantiated with evidence; unavoidable circumstances such as natural disasters; and issues with legal representation like an attorney’s failure to inform about the court date, can also be considered. In any scenario, securing documentation to validate these explanations is crucial

How We Can Help

At Ken Gibson’s Law Office, we believe in tackling any outstanding warrants head-on. We are dedicated to easing any worries you might have regarding your warrant, working hard to help you avoid jail time. Our confidence comes from doing our homework thoroughly on your case, making sure that by the time we walk into a police station or courthouse, we are better informed about your situation than both the police and the prosecution. Through careful preparation and smart planning, the majority of cases that we defend are reduced or dismissed.


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