Arrest Warrants in San Diego County

I have an outstanding warrant for my arrest!

There are many different reasons why warrants are issued. The most common is simply the failure of the person to appear at a scheduled court hearing.

On most misdemeanors, the defendant is allowed to appear through counsel, but on felonies the defendant is required to appear in person, even if he or she has counsel. When a person does not appear for a scheduled court appearance where one's presence is required, the court is required to forfeit the bail bond and issue a "bench" warrant for the person's arrest, with a new bail amount set on the warrant.

Under some circumstances where the defendant is unexpectedly prevented from being in court for some legitimate reason, and appears through counsel who is in contact with the defendant and who is aware of defendant's situation, arrangements can be made to "hold" the warrant (and not forfeit the bail) to some future date when the defendant must again appear. In these situations, the warrant is not transmitted to law enforcement, thus avoiding the defendant's arrest on the warrant.

Warrants are also issued for probation violations and to authorize the defendant's arrest on a new case, although law enforcement can make an arrest on a new case without an arrest warrant if they have probable cause a felony has been committed by the person arrested, and the arrest is made in a public place.

One important thing to keep in mind – it is always preferable for a defendant to surrender on an outstanding warrant rather than have law enforcement make an arrest, as the judge will look more favorably on one who surrenders, which may result in a reduced bail or possibly the judge can be persuaded to release the person pending a future date. Obviously, it is always better to have an attorney with you when you surrender on a warrant, but remember that once you hire an attorney to arrange a surrender on your warrant, the attorney has a professional and ethical obligation to surrender you at the earliest opportunity.