What is a warrant… and what are the different kinds of warrants in criminal law?
A warrant is an order that is issued by a Magistrate (or District Court Judge) authorizing a law enforcement officer to perform an act – usually an arrest, or a search of property, involving an alleged crime. The most common warrants that are dealt with in the criminal arena are arrest warrants, bench warrants and search warrants.
An arrest warrant is issued by a Magistrate or other Judge when a law enforcement officer establishes that there is probable cause that a crime has occurred and a particular person has committed it. In some federal jurisdictions, the criminal complaint and the arrest warrant are on one document filed with the Court. It contains a sworn statement by the officer, detailing the criminal conduct.
A bench warrant is typically issued when a person does not show up for Court after being advised or summoned to court. A bench warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer to go get a particular person and bring him or her into court. It is also sometimes referred to as a fugitive warrant.
A search warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer to search the property (real or personal) usually for evidence of a crime. There are also different warrants within this section, including “no-knock warrants” “knock and announce” “anticipatory warrants” and “nighttime warrants,” all of which set out the particulars of the actions permitted by the law enforcement officers, in carrying out the warrant. This warrant directly implicates the Fourth Amendment, which protects persons from unreasonably searches and seizures.
There are also many other warrants out there, such as extradition, dispossessory or eviction, and execution. All of these warrants touch upon criminal law practice. Speak with an experienced attorney such as the Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney.