If you learn that the state of Virginia has issued a warrant for your arrest, you will need to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Arrest warrants cannot be ignored or taken lightly. An arrest warrant can change your life – and not in a positive way.
How are arrests and arrest warrants typically handled by the authorities in Virginia? What should you do if you learn that an arrest warrant has been issued with your name on it? Can a drug crimes law firm in Roanoke help?
When the police believe that a felony has been committed – or a serious misdemeanor like driving under the influence – police officers usually seek to make an arrest as quickly as possible. A summons or a ticket may be issued for traffic infractions or minor drug offenses.
WHEN ARE THE POLICE REQUIRED TO HAVE AN ARREST WARRANT?
If no arrest is made and if no summons is issued when a crime is committed or immediately thereafter, the police must have an arrest warrant in order to place a suspect in custody.
Prosecutors and police officers who seek an arrest warrant must demonstrate to a judge that they have sufficient “probable cause” to arrest the person named in the warrant. If you learn that a warrant has been issued in Virginia for your arrest, you are going to need an attorney’s help.
WHAT WILL TOP-RATED DEFENSE LAW FIRMS DO ON YOUR BEHALF?
An experienced Roanoke criminal defense attorney will protect your rights, guide you through the legal system, and fight aggressively for justice on your behalf. A good criminal defense lawyer will also:
- begin an immediate investigation of the charge or charges against you
- negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charge or charges reduced or dismissed
- question witnesses and gather evidence in your defense
- bring your criminal case to its best possible conclusion
If there is a warrant for your arrest in Virginia, your lawyer can arrange for the next step, which is turning yourself in. Depending on the charge, a judge will probably set a bail amount or release you on your own recognizance – if you promise to appear in court as scheduled.
Bail bondsmen typically charge a ten percent, non-refundable fee. However, bail is usually denied in cases that involve serious charges like murder, rape, and armed robbery.
WHY IS YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT SO IMPORTANT?
But whether you are held in custody or immediately released, it is imperative to exercise your Miranda rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to have your family law attorney present during any questioning.
In fact, it is critical to avoid making any verbal or written statement at this time to anyone except your attorney. Anything that is said – even to another inmate in a jail – could be twisted and used against you. In Virginia jails, the phone conversations may be recorded and used as evidence.
If you learn that an arrest warrant has been issued for you, seeking a defense lawyer’s help and turning yourself in is genuinely your best option. Flight from prosecution is not an option. Arrest warrants that are issued in Virginia are valid in every state.
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE TO TURNING YOURSELF IN?
However, turning yourself in demonstrates to the court that you are not a flight risk and that you are willing to cooperate with authorities. For most criminal charges, turning yourself in boosts your chances of getting a low bail figure or of being released on your own recognizance.
But more importantly, turning yourself in – again, for most charges – makes it easier for your attorney to negotiate and makes it more likely that you’ll be offered an acceptable plea bargain. It’s possible, in some cases, that your attorney may be able to have the charge entirely dismissed.
HOW ARE ARREST WARRANTS USUALLY EXECUTED?
When an arrest warrant is issued, the person who is named may be arrested at home or at work. In most cases, officers must knock and identify themselves.
Police officers with an arrest warrant may enter premises by force only if they have probable cause to believe that someone may:
- harm himself or herself or others on the premises
- harm the police officers
- destroy evidence
Arrest warrants must be executed according to guidelines that have been established by the courts. If a suspect’s rights are violated during an investigation, search, arrest, or interrogation, any evidence uncovered through that violation of rights may not be used against the suspect.
WHAT ARE BENCH WARRANTS?
A bench warrant is an arrest warrant that is issued by a judge when a probationer is suspected of a probation violation or when a defendant has failed to appear for a scheduled court date.
Upon being arrested for the failure to appear, unless a defendant can present a good reason for that failure (you were involved in a traffic crash on the way to court, for example), the defendant will be required to forfeit bail and may face additional charges.
In order to convict you for a failure to appear, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally did not appear in court as scheduled. Your intention is the central issue in a failure to appear case.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED – WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
If you are taken into custody by law enforcement officers in Virginia – for any reason – follow these suggestions:
- Be cooperative and pleasant, but do not give your consent to a search of your vehicle, residence, or person.
- If you are taken into custody at a traffic stop, officers may ask to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance. Be compliant, but don’t offer more information. Simply say something like, “I am choosing to exercise my right to remain silent.”
- The same principle applies for any questioning after you’ve been arrested. Just say something like, “I would like my attorney to be here before I answer any questions.”
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
If you are placed under arrest in Virginia, or if a warrant is issued for your arrest, your future and your freedom will be at stake. You must have sound legal advice and aggressive defense representation.
Whether the charge against you is a misdemeanor or a serious felony, you must contact – and arrange to meet with – an experienced Roanoke criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. That is your right.