How to Self-Surrender on an Arrest Warrant
If a court issued a warrant for your arrest, the sooner you appear with a lawyer, the better. If you promptly appear for an arraignment, you have the best chance of getting a personal recognizance bond.
Do Not Go to Court Without a Lawyer to Protect You
No one should ever “walk in” to court without a great criminal defense lawyer by their side. The attorney may make a difference between going home or going to jail. If you are wondering, “how do I turn myself in on a warrant?” it is time to call a respected, experienced attorney for help.
It would be best if you always had an experienced attorney on your side.
If you become aware that a court issued a warrant for your arrest, turning yourself in is always good rather than having the police come and find you at home, work, or driving down the road. Most courts have designated dates and times for “walk-in arraignments.” However, having an experienced criminal defense attorney with you would be best when you appear in court. Never appear in court without someone protecting and defending you. There are several reasons why:
- One of the things that will happen at court is that the judge will set a bond, which you will have to post before leaving the courthouse. Your experienced criminal attorney knows precisely what to say to the judge to make a personal bond or a low monetary bond more likely. You may think that you know what to say to the judge to help you get a personal bond or low bond, but the fact is that it takes decades of experience to formulate a compelling argument in court. The judge will consider complex factors when deciding on a bond. A seasoned lawyer knows how to make the most persuasive argument.
- If the judge sees that you have invested in a retained attorney, the court will know that you are serious about returning to court and dealing with the charges. Therefore, there will be less reason to set a high bond to ensure your return. If you asked any judge, “should I turn myself in on a warrant?” they would advise you only to do so with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
- If a person turns themselves in without a lawyer, the police have an opportunity to approach the person and attempt to question them. Improper questioning by the police will not happen if the person has a qualified lawyer with them. You are mistaken if you may think you can explain your side of the matter to a police officer and help yourself. Anything you say can be twisted or interpreted in several ways. And if you have spoken to the police, they can embellish or twist your comments, resulting in a credibility contest between you and the officer. It is far better to say nothing.
- Voluntarily surrendering on a bond is a good sign that someone is likely to show up in court. If a person gets arrested on an open warrant, it will look like the defendant was attempting to avoid court. If the judge is not confident that the defendant will appear back for a court date, they will likely set a high cash bond.
- Finally, judges must consider the community’s safety when setting a bond. Because the judge only has minutes to decide if a person is a potential threat, a good lawyer must craft a strong, persuasive, and brief argument to alleviate any of the court’s concerns. An attorney with experience representing clients at bond hearings is in the best position to make the most persuasive argument.
When you self-surrender on a warrant, a retained attorney is your only option to have prepared counsel at your arraignment.
People do not have prepared, informed attorneys at the time of “walk-in” arraignment on a warrant unless they have retained counsel. If you do not have retained counsel when you turn yourself in on a warrant, a judge will ask if you want a court-appointed attorney. Even if a court-appointed lawyer is present to stand in for you, they will not know your background and will not have had an opportunity to prepare favorable evidence to present on your behalf.
No one should ever walk into court without a great criminal defense lawyer by their side. The attorney may make a difference between going home or going to jail.
“Should I get notice of a warrant?”
In a perfect world, you should get a notice from a court or the police department when a warrant issues for your arrest. In the real world, courts infrequently send a notice, and often, the notifications go to the wrong address, or the notices are incorrectly addressed. One of the most frequent things we hear from clients arrested on open warrants is that they never got a notification or anything from the court or police department.
When an arrest or bench warrant is in effect, you risk arrest whenever the police make contact with you. The police contact can be during a traffic stop, through a customs or border agent, at an airport, or anywhere you come in contact with a law enforcement officer. Police officers frequently search for individuals with warrants at home or work. Someone arrested and arraigned on an open warrant might find it challenging to obtain a reasonable bond.
The only way to ensure that you have a great lawyer that is a good fit for you is to hire a privately retained criminal defense lawyer.
People do not have a prepared lawyer when they do a “walk-in” arraignment. Although a court-appointed attorney might be available to assist you with the procedural technicalities of the arraignment, they will not have adequate time to get to know you, learn about your situation, or obtain evidence, documents, and information that will help facilitate a low or personal bond.
Your freedom, reputation, family, and job are important, and you need to do what it takes to protect yourself and those things that are important to you. Hiring a reputable, experienced defense lawyer is the best thing you can do to help yourself. So if you are asking, “how or when should I turn myself in on a warrant?” call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation, and we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address each of your concerns.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.