Turning Yourself In for an Arrest Warrant

Turning Yourself In for an Arrest Warrant

What To Do If You Have An Arrest Warrant

This article discusses thoughts on turning yourself in to law enforcement when there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest. This article also discusses the types of warrants that may be issued and when you need to hire a lawyer for warrant issues.

What To Do When There Is a Warrant for Your Arrest

There are several reasons that could cause there to be an outstanding warrant for your arrest. If you know, or have reason to believe, there is an outstanding warrant for you the best thing to do is to turn yourself in. Obviously, depending on the circumstances of your situation, this could be a relatively minor situation or a tense ordeal. Our recommendations are as follows:

  • For felony warrants, you should contact a defense lawyer. Having a lawyer intercede on your behalf and be with you when you meet with law enforcement can mitigate risks of harm. In almost every instance a defense lawyer can contact prosecutors and/or law enforcement to get a head start on getting you out of jail.
  • For misdemeanor warrants, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer but you may also be able to contact the issuing jurisdiction and ask them about what you need to do.

If you suspect there is a warrant but do not know for certain you can contact a lawyer to do a check for outstanding warrants. There will be a charge for their services but it’s important to know if you have an active warrant. A few advantages of having a lawyer perform this check are:

  • Acting on your behalf, a lawyer can buffer your wherabouts.
  • Acting on your behalf, a lawyer removes the chance that you will say the wrong thing to police. It’s easy to be caught off-guard and say something incriminating.
  • Acting on your behalf, your lawyer can find out details about your situation and devise the best approach for the situation.
  • Being present when you are arrested is your best assurance of a peaceful arrest and avoiding any abuse by police.

In any situation where a warrant exists, when you turn yourself in to police it will help you a great deal to:

  • Do Not Resist or Obstruct Arrest! It is the duty of the police to place you under arrest and book you into jail. It would be foolish to do anything that complicates your situation. Be respectful and it will be much easier to bond out of jail.
  • Exercise Your Rights! Certainly you may need to speak to acknowledge a directive or answer a simple question while in custody. DO NOT answer any questions about your situation, offer any excuses, explanations, or comments. Exercise your right to remain silent and, if questioned politely inform the officer(s) that you would like to speak to your attorney.
  • Remain Calm While in Custody! Hopefully, you contacted a defense attorney before turning yourself in. Your attorney can make arrangements ahead of time to help you bond out. If you did not contact a defense lawyer you need to make a call to a local bondsman and wait for the bondsman to arrive. In the interim, do not cause a disturbance in the jail or otherwise aggravate the police.

What is an Arrest Warrant?

A simple definition of a warrant is that it is a court order, issued by a judge or magistrate, that authorizes law enforcement to place a specific person under arrest. Police do not necessarily actively pursue subjects of a bench warrant. Typically, a bench warrant arrest is made when the warrant is discovered during the course of a traffic stop or similar interaction with an officer.

Bench warrants originate from relatively minor offenses, however; the courts do not like any offenses. Common reasons include (FTA) Failure to Appear at a court date, not paying a traffic ticket, and simple probation violations.

Bench Warrant Laws, per Georgia Code § 17-7-90: A bench warrant is a warrant issued by a judge for the arrest of a person accused of a crime by a grand jury or for the arrest of a person charged with a crime who has failed to appear in court after actual notice to the person in open court or notice to the person by mailing to his or her last known address or otherwise being notified personally in writing by a court official or officer of the court of the time and place to appear or for the arrest of a person charged with a crime upon the filing by the prosecutor of an accusation supported by affidavit. Every officer is bound to execute the warrant within his or her jurisdiction, and every person so arrested must be committed to jail until bail is tendered. Any judicial officer or the sheriff of the county where the charge was returned may receive the bail, fix the amount of the bond, and approve the sureties unless it is a case that is bailable only before some particular judicial officer.

Arrest warrant which originates from police having demonstrated to a judge a probable cause to believe that you have committed a criminal offense. Additionally, in Georgia, if a person believes that he or she is the victim of a crime and the wrongdoer was not arrested by the police, the person can file an application for an arrest warrant.

Arrest Warrant Laws, per Georgia Code § 17-4-62: In every case of an arrest without a warrant, the person arresting shall, without delay, convey the offender before the most convenient judicial officer authorized to receive an affidavit and issue a warrant as provided for in Code Section 17-4-40. No such imprisonment shall be legal beyond a reasonable time allowed for this purpose; and any person who is not brought before such judicial officer within 48 hours of arrest shall be released.

Fugitive arrest warrant pertains to a demand for the return of fugitives (wanted person) living in Georgia and wanted in another state.

Federal arrest warrant, may be issued for a person believed to have committed a federal crime. A federal arrest warrant my involve agencies including FBI, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshalls.

Any Warrant Is a Big Deal

If there is a warrant to arrest you, it’s best to step up and deal with it on your own time and terms. There is no good time to be arrested but it’s a lot better if you exert some control over when and where. Rather than try to dodge the inevitable, you should take steps to address the situation.

If you know, or have reason to believe, there is a warrant for your arrest we encourage you to call our defense lawyers. we can arrange a private, confidential consultation to discuss your situation, legal options, and potential outcomes.


  • Photo by Shvets Productions, available at Pexels
Jimmy Duncan
James Hobson is a marketing professional and author with 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, print and digital advertising. James is a frequent contributor to law firm and business blogs under the nom de plume Jimmy Duncan.