Felony Warrant Search

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 What Is a Felony Warrant Search?

An individual may be suspected of committing a criminal offense. If this is the case, the court may issue a warrant giving law enforcement authorization to arrest them and search for any property that may be associated with the offense. A felony warrant is a warrant that is issued for an individual who is suspected of committing a felony offense, such as murder, felony assault, or armed robbery.

Must the Felony Warrant Have My Name on It?

Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, a warrant is required to be specific. This provides protections against false arrests.

At a minimum, a warrant is required to include the following information:

  • The suspect’s name;
  • A detailed description of the crime; and
  • Judge’s signature.

If law enforcement does not know the name of the suspect, the warrant must provide a clear description of the suspect. This description must minimize the potential of arresting the wrong individual for the felony.

What Is the Definition of a Felony?

In general, a felony is a criminal offense that can be punished by a term of imprisonment of one year or longer. A felony tends to be a crime that involves an element of violence and is considered harmful or dangerous to society.

Felony crimes are also the category of crimes that include some of the most serious offenses that an individual can commit, including first-degree murder and arson. Crimes that do not rise to the level of a felony will typically fall into one of the two remaining categories of offenses, misdemeanors and citations.

What Are Examples of Felony Charges?

The laws of each state, as well as the circumstances surrounding each individual case, are two major elements that will often factor into whether an offense is charged as a felony. There are, however, certain criminal offenses which are typically classified as felony offenses in most states, including:

  • Property crimes, such as:
  • Drug offenses, such as:
    • Distributing;
    • Selling;
    • Trafficking drugs;
  • Sex crimes, such as:
  • Violent offenses, such as:
    • First-degree murder;
    • Second-degree murder;
    • Robbery;
  • White-collar crimes, such as:

When Is a Felony Warrant Search Issued?

A felony warrant is issued when law enforcement makes a request to the court to provide them with permission to arrest the suspect and search for evidence related to the offense. Before a just will issue a warrant, law enforcement must prove:

  • Probable cause exists that a felonious crime was committed;
  • Reasonable suspicion the suspect is the individual who committed the felony.

When Is a Search Warrant Required?

As previously noted, law enforcement is generally required to obtain a search warrant prior to searching for evidence in areas or property wherein an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. A search warrant must be obtained prior to a search in order for it to be considered legally valid.

Whether an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy will depend largely on the facts and circumstances of the specific situation. There are, however, certain areas which have been established by case law that an individual is protected from a warrantless search and seizure by law enforcement, including:

  • The home, pursuant to the home is an individual’s castle theory;
  • Certain parts of a motor vehicle, such as a locked trunk;
  • Hotel rooms; and
  • Other locations.

What Is a Search?

In the context of criminal law, a search is an inspection of an individual’s property, personal belongings, body, or other area in which an individual could reasonably expect to keep private and is conducted by law enforcement.

The main body of law that governs searches and search procedures is The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment was enacted specifically to protect members of the public from unreasonable searches and seizures that may be carried out by law enforcement officers.

Generally, a law enforcement officer is required to have probable cause prior to conducting a search and to obtain a search warrant.

What Happens After a Felony Search Warrant Is Issued?

Once a felony warrant has been issued, law enforcement will attempt to locate the individual and serve the warrant. In many cases, individuals are taken in on warrants following a traffic stop.

If an individual is aware of a felony warrant for their arrest, they will need to turn themselves in and appear in court with their attorney. They should be ready to post the bail amount that was set when their warrant was issued if they are able.

If they cannot post bail, they will be taken into custody and will remain there until the case is resolved.

Does a Felony Warrant Expire?

No, a felony warrant does not expire. However, other types of warrants do expire.

Felony warrants will remain active until the suspect is arrested or arranges to surrender themselves to law enforcement.

What Is an Out-Of-State Felony Warrant?

An out-of-state felony warrant is a warrant that is issued in a state other than the one in which the suspect currently resides. If an individual is arrested with this type of warrant, they will be required to attend an extradition hearing.

An extradition hearing will determine whether or not the defendant will return to the state in which the warrant was issued to face trial.

What Are Some Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies?

There are two main differences between felony offenses and misdemeanor offenses. The first difference is that a felony crime is typically more serious than a crime that is categorized as a misdemeanor.

In addition, felony offenses, as noted above, typically involve actions of violence. The second difference is the form of punishment that a convicted individual may receive.

Because felony offenses are considered more severe than misdemeanor offenses, it logically follows that their punishments are more severe as well. If an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor, they may be required to pay criminal fines and may also receive a jail sentence of less than one year.

If, however, an individual is convicted of a felony, they may receive a prison sentence of at least one year or longer. In addition, the criminal fines will be greater than those which are imposed for a misdemeanor.

Additionally, there is also the possibility that a crime may be classified as a wobbler. A wobbler is an offense which may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.

The circumstances of the crime will determine whether the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor offense or of a felony offense. Typically, if the offense was not violent in nature and the defendant did not harm any other individuals during its commission, the court may issue a sentence that is similar to a misdemeanor sentence.

In contrast, the defendant may be a repeat offender and/or injured another individual during the commission of the offense. In that case, the wobbler will more likely result in a penalty that is similar to one issued for a felony conviction.

Should I Talk With an Attorney About My Felony Warrant?

It is important to consult with a criminal lawyer for any issues, questions, or concerns you may have related to a felony warrant. Your attorney can advise you of the laws in your state and help negotiate your surrender.

Your lawyer will also represent you in court going forward in your case and help ensure your rights are protected. You may believe that you have a felony warrant issued for your arrest. If that is the case, your attorney can help you determine whether or not one exists by performing a felony warrant lookup on a felony warrant list or contacting a member of law enforcement who can.


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