An arrest warrant is an order from a judge authorizing law enforcement to arrest an individual for a crime they are accused of committing. The warrant usually has the criminal charge and the name of the person who is sought for the crime listed on it.
What Is an Outstanding Warrant?
An outstanding warrant is a valid arrest warrant that was originally issued months or years ago. It is still valid because the person has not been arrested yet.
How Can a Warrant Be Outstanding?
An arrest warrant may be valid for many reasons. These reasons include:
- The individual does not know about the warrant
- The individual is evading law enforcement
- The law enforcement agency responsible for serving the warrant has not served it yet
Are There Consequences to Having an Outstanding Warrant?
The major consequence of having a warrant is a person can be arrested at any time. The arrest could occur while the person is out running errands or at work. Another consequence is being tried on the original criminal offense, regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor.
Is There a Statute of Limitation on Criminal Charges?
Yes, there is a statute of limitation for some criminal charges. Other charges such as murder never expire. However, when an individual has an outstanding warrant, the original charge never expires because they are considered a fugitive.
Are There Any Defenses Available?
A person with an outstanding warrant has a number of legal defenses that will allow them to eliminate the warrant. For example, it may be that they could not make a court date because of an emergency. Whatever the excuse, it is advisable to discuss the issue with an attorney before getting arrested.
How Can I Find Out If I Have an Outstanding Arrest Warrant?
You can conduct a search for an outstanding local warrant by checking local law enforcement websites or contacting the court directly.
Should I Discuss My Outstanding Warrant with a Lawyer?
Yes. A criminal lawyer can negotiate a resolution to the warrant and provide you with defenses to the original criminal charge.