How To Deal with An Arrest Warrant

There are only three ways to deal with an arrest warrant: appear for arraignment, pay a bond, or seek to have the warrant set aside or dismissed.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Team

What Should I do if I find Out There is a Warrant Out for My Arrest?

First of all, don’t panic or run away. A warrant is not the end of the world, and there are various ways to get rid of an arrest warrant. Any time a criminal charge results in a warrant, the situation is serious. The assistance of a reputable, seasoned, and experienced lawyer can make a huge difference. You should understand that felony arrest warrants and misdemeanor warrants never go away. Why should you deal with an open warrant? Because someday, perhaps when you least expect it (or least want to deal with it), the police will show up at your home, place of employment, or pull you over while you’re driving down the road. They will handcuff you, put you in the back of a police car, and take you to jail. Getting arrested by the police is a circumstance that can cost you your job, mortify your family, alienate friends, and cause you obvious great inconvenience and expense.

Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Protect me from Being Arrested?

Yes. Once you hire an experienced, respected criminal defense attorney, they will know what to do to prevent a surprise arrest and get rid of an arrest warrant. If you find out there is a warrant out for your arrest and you contact the police, they may act friendly and agree to let you turn yourself in, but a good percentage of times, they will speak to you to determine where you are, and then come out and arrest you. The police have no legal obligation to fulfill a promise not to arrest you. A lawyer can appear with you in court and persuasively argue for a low or personal bond. A personal bond does not require posting money.

What Can a Defense Attorney Do or Say That I Can’t?

If the government has not yet filed charges, an attorney can call the police, advise them you have a retained attorney, and begin negotiating for a positive outcome. Putting the police on notice that you have retained counsel will dramatically reduce the risk of an arrest by surprise and will likely nullify the threat altogether. If experienced and astute, your attorney will call the police and send an email or fax to the police telling them that you have a retained attorney. If your retailed attorney contacts the police, a surprise arrest will almost certainly not happen, and the police cannot question you. The lawyer may also be able to arrange for you to post a bond as an alternative to personally appearing. In those cases where you must appear, the lawyer can schedule an appearance with the court, appear on your behalf, and get rid of an arrest warrant. If possible, you should never appear for arraignment on a warrant in Michigan without an attorney.

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If I am Arrested Before I Hire an Attorney, Will That Somehow Hurt Me in Court?

You will be at a disadvantage if law enforcement arrests you before hiring a lawyer. If you have not hired an attorney and the police bring you into court in handcuffs (seemingly against your will), you will appear to the judge as someone who wanted to avoid facing the charges. It will appear that you were evading law enforcement and the court, even if it is not true. Remember, the judge does not know you, and they will not give you the benefit of the doubt or assume you are a good person. The judge will see a person in handcuffs and escorted by a court or police officer. If you come into court voluntarily and with a retained attorney, the judge will immediately understand that you took it upon yourself to do the right thing and are willing to face the charges. A skillful and zealous lawyer can convince the judge that you should not remain incarcerated while the case goes through court.

If you are alone, you may think you know what to tell the judge to help yourself, but you do not. You could end up hurting yourself significantly. And remember, you will not have a court-appointed attorney with you when you appear in court, trying to get rid of an arrest warrant. The first time you could see a court-appointed attorney might be when they visit you in jail, or worse when they show up at your pretrial conference or trial.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I clear a warrant in Michigan?

The three ways to clear a warrant in Michigan are (1) personally appearing at the court for arraignment, (2) posting bail, or (3) hiring a lawyer.

Do warrants go away in Michigan?

Warrants never go away in Michigan unless the defendant appears in court and is arraigned, posts a bond (pay bail), or hires a lawyer to request that the warrant be set aside.

What happens after a warrant is issued?

After a warrant is issued, a court clerk enters it into Courts & Law Enforcement Management Information System (CLEMIS). CLEMIS is a nationwide database that officers check to see if someone has a pending warrant. If the warrant was issued for a misdemeanor, you could be arrested by an officer within Michigan. On a felony warrant, an officer can arrest you anywhere within the United States.

How long do you stay in jail for a bench warrant?

If someone is arrested on a bench warrant, they will stay in jail until they are arraigned and post bail, are released by the judge, or complete a jail or prison sentence.

How long does a warrant stay active in Michigan?

Warrants in Michigan never expire.

How far will Michigan extradite?

Michigan will extradite felony absconders with pending warrants from anywhere in the United States.

How do you see if you have a warrant in Michigan?

It is challenging to determine if you have a warrant. It is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has the resources to help you.

How do you find out if I have a warrant?

Typically, you find out you have a warrant when you come in contact with a police officer, and you’re arrested. It is better to seek legal counsel and proactively deal with a warrant rather than wait to be taken into custody.

What is a bench warrant in Michigan?

A bench warrant is an arrest warrant issued by a judge when a defendant fails to appear for a court hearing.

What happens if you don’t show up to court?

If you fail to show up for a court hearing, the judge will adjourn the hearing or issue a bench warrant. In most cases, the judge issues a warrant.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

You Need a Top-Rated, Highly-Respected Criminal Defense Attorney with You When You Turn Yourself In

The top-rated attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are known by all Michigan judges as knowledgeable and fierce advocates for their clients. We have a reputation for being trustworthy, tenacious, and highly reputable. When you walk into court to get rid of an arrest warrant, you will want our legal team by your side.

The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. If you have a warrant and want it set aside, we can help you.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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