Whether it be an arrest for DUI after being pulled over on the highway, or being taken into custody during or immediately after the alleged commission of a crime such as burglary or assault, many individuals in Indiana face prosecution without a warrant having been issued for their arrest. Sometimes, though, individuals are arrested and charged with crimes well after the alleged incident has taken place. Other times, individuals can be arrested not for committing a crime but for failing to abide by an order of a court.
In those situations, a judge can issue a warrant which authorizes law enforcement to take you into custody. It is important to understand what these warrants are, when they are issued, and what steps you should take if you discover that one has been issued against you.
As the name implies, an arrest warrant is a directive to police to find you and take you into custody. Pursuant to Indiana Code §35-33-2-1, an arrest warrant can be issued by a judge in two situations:
- an indictment has been filed against you and you have yet to be arrested or placed into custody, or;
- prosecutors have presented the judge with evidence that probable cause exists that you have committed a criminal offense.
The warrant must specify the name of the person to be arrested, must set forth the offense the subject of the warrant is being accused of and the amount of bail, if any, and must be signed by a judge or clerk of court.
When judges issue orders, they do not like it when those orders are ignored or disregarded, to say the least. If you have been ordered to appear in court on a given date but fail to appear, or have been ordered to pay child support and failed to do so, to just give two examples, the judge can issue a bench warrant directing police to arrest you and bring you before the judge. At that time, the judge can hold you in contempt of court and subject you to jail time among other consequences.
No matter what kind of warrant has been issued against you, it is crucial that you retain an experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after discovering that one has been issued. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to take proactive steps that can help you avoid the hardship and embarrassment of being arrested and can work with you to keep you out of jail and avoid the other harsh consequences of being convicted of a crime.
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