Ask the Attorney: What Happens After an Arrest Warrant is Issued?

By Joel Hancock

With the issuance of an arrest warrant come many questions, such as: How soon will someone get arrested once an arrest warrant is issued? Will you be notified about the warrant? Can you be arrested anywhere? Here, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorney answers these common questions and more about the arrest warrant process.

Q: What allows law enforcement to issue an arrest warrant?

A: North Carolina law enforcement can issue an arrest warrant if there are reasonable grounds. This is legally known as probable cause. The police must have probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed and that a particular person who will receive the arrest warrant committed the crime. A government official or citizen must go before a judge and testify to specific facts under oath that allege that someone has committed a crime. The arrest warrant must specifically identify the person to be arrested and must be issued by a neutral party.

Q: How soon after the issuance of an arrest warrant will someone be arrested?

A: The length of time that it takes someone to be arrested after an arrest warrant is issued for them depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of each case. North Carolina does not outline a specific time frame by which someone must be arrested after this issuance. Generally, law enforcement will prioritize arrests for the most serious crimes. In other words, it would be more important to arrest someone who is convicted of murder than it would be for someone who failed to show up in court for a traffic ticket. The less serious an alleged crime is, the more of a delay there may be in arresting the individual. Common factors that influence how soon someone is arrested after the issuance of an arrest warrant include:

  • Nature of the offense
  • Resources of law enforcement
  • Suspect’s location
  • Voluntary surrender
  • Other special circumstances

Additionally, some people may decide to voluntarily turn themselves in immediately after learning of the warrant for their arrest or they may wait a few days.

Q: Will you be notified of an arrest warrant for you?

A: An attorney can learn from law enforcement whether a warrant has been issued for you. But if you don’t have an attorney, you likely won’t receive notice of the warrant’s issuance until you are actually arrested. If you were summoned to court and failed to show, it’s safe to assume that the judge has issued an order for your arrest. In such a case it’s best to consult with an attorney.

Q: How must an arrest warrant be served – can you be arrested anywhere?

A: Arrest warrants can be issued anywhere and allow police to enter the defendant’s home when necessary. However, the arresting officer is obligated to show the defendant the warrant in question. If the police officer does not have the warrant to show you, they must still inform the defendant of the warrant and the offense that they are charged with. If the defendant requests to see the warrant, law enforcement is obligated to show them the warrant as soon as possible.

Q: Can you clear up an arrest warrant?

A: There are only a few ways to proceed in clearing up an arrest warrant. These include the following:

  • The individual for whom the warrant is issued may turn themselves in so that they can be arrested and processed;
  • The warrant that has been issued can be recalled by a government official; or
  • The warrant can be invalidated if it can be proven that the warrant was obtained through false testimony.

Q: What should you do if you are facing a warrant for your arrest?

A: If there is a warrant issued for your arrest, you should speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. He or she can help to protect your rights and mitigate the damage of an embarrassing unforeseen arrest. They can also help you to turn yourself in peacefully and can aid in your defense for low bail and quick release.

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina for Whom an Arrest Warrant Has Been Issued

If an arrest warrant has been issued for you, you have the right to defend yourself. A knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense lawyer understands how the process works and can help to fight on your behalf.

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize the importance of your case and are committed to assisting you in fighting the charges. If you would like to learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.