Handcuffs Sitting on an Arrest WarrantIn many cases, the police will conduct a criminal investigation and obtain a warrant before arresting someone in Arizona. The individual may not know there is a warrant for their arrest until law enforcement officials arrest them. However, there are situations where they will know that they are the subject of a criminal investigation and that there is a charge against them.

You may be frightened if you discover a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Here are the steps you need to take to protect your rights and build a strong defense to fight the charges you face.

What Is a Warrant in Arizona?

An arrest warrant is a court order that gives the police the right to arrest someone in Arizona. There are three ways that they can be issued in our state:

  • A grand jury issues an indictment.
  • A judge makes an independent finding of probable cause to arrest someone.
  • A prosecutor presents a complaint to a judge, and the judge finds probable cause to issue an arrest warrant.

To be valid, arrest warrants must include the following:

  • Name of the accused to be arrested or a reasonably identifiable description of them if their name is not known
  • The charges against the suspect
  • Statement whether the charge triggers applicable victim rights protections
  • Signature of a judge, magistrate, or deputy clerk of the superior court

What Types of Warrants Are There in Arizona?

There are two types of arrest warrants in Arizona:

  • Bench warrant. A bench warrant would be issued for an individual’s arrest if they failed to attend a required court hearing in their criminal case. The failure to appear at a scheduled court hearing is a Class 5 felony in Arizona.
  • Arrest warrant. An arrest warrant would be issued if there is probable cause to believe the suspect committed a crime.

What Steps Should You Take if There Is a Warrant for Your Arrest?

What you do after learning there is a warrant for your arrest can strengthen or hurt your criminal defense. Here are crucial steps you should take:

  • Retain a lawyer. You should hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately if you discover you are being investigated by the police or have been arrested. They will advise you on what to do, be present when you are arrested and questioned by the police, and build a strong defense strategy that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
  • Arrange for bond. You may want to contact a bail bondsperson to help you arrange to post bail after your arrest. You might shorten the time you must remain in jail if you do this before you are arrested.
  • Turn yourself in. Your next step would be to turn yourself in. You should surrender at the proper jurisdiction to avoid spending unnecessary time in jail. Your lawyer can advise you on where to turn yourself in and the best times to surrender so that the booking process goes faster.
  • Make no statements. You have a constitutional right to remain silent and not answer the police officer’s questions. You must exercise this right to avoid making incriminating verbal or written statements that the police can use to convict you. You should also insist that your criminal defense attorney be present during any interrogations.
  • Don’t talk to inmates. You should not discuss the circumstances of your arrest or the charges you are facing with individuals in your cell or other inmates at the jail. These statements could also be used against you. You also need to be careful what you say when talking on the telephone at the jail because the police could be recording your conversation.

Is there a warrant out for your arrest in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona? Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can advise you on what to do and can help defend you. You may have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you are guilty.

Call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you. Also, order our free book, Accused of a Crime in Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You, so you know what to expect in your criminal case.