You might not find out about an outstanding warrant until a police officer informs you that you are under arrest.
At that point, it is too late to do anything to prevent you from going to jail. That’s why you should learn how to find out if you have an outstanding warrant.
You can formulate a plan with your lawyer if you learn about an outstanding warrant before the police arrest you.
Talking with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer about your situation before police arrest can help you avoid going to jail—or at least minimize the amount of time you have to spend in lockup.
Our award-winning Ohio criminal defense lawyers are available to help when you need it most.
What Is an Outstanding Warrant?
An outstanding warrant is a document that authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest you anytime they encounter you.
This is a fairly straightforward and simple outstanding warrant definition. However, you should realize that having a warrant out for your arrest is a very serious legal matter that you must address immediately.
An arrest warrant allows the police to arrest you even when they are not searching for you. As a result, the police will arrest you if they pull you over for a traffic infraction.
An officer who stops you will run a warrant check during the traffic stop. The officer will almost certainly learn of the warrant when they run your license.
At that point, the officer places you into custody, takes you to the station for booking, and then sends you to jail to await your initial court appearance or until you can post bond.
Law enforcement agencies often conduct warrant “sweeps.” During a warrant sweep, law enforcement officers compile a list of people who have outstanding warrants.
After they determine that a warrant exists, they investigate where they can locate and subsequently arrest the wanted person. After they locate you, the police can go to your house or workplace to arrest you.
Why Might You Have an Outstanding Warrant?
There are different reasons why you might have a warrant out for your arrest. The police can issue a warrant for your arrest if they develop probable cause that you committed a crime.
Probable cause is a very low standard of proof. The probable cause standard only means that a reasonable person might believe you are probably guilty.
Probable cause is a much easier standard to meet than the burden of proof required for a conviction at trial—proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Therefore, a warrant certainly does not mean that you are guilty of a crime. It just means that law enforcement requested permission to arrest you so they could bring you to court to answer the charges.
There are other reasons why you might have an arrest warrant. A judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you have not paid a fine, violated a term of probation, or if you missed a court date.
You should be aware that an arrest warrant allows the police to put you in jail even if you face only minor charges.
For example, if you miss an appearance in traffic court, the judge can issue a bench warrant even though you won’t go to jail for the underlying offense.
What You Can Do to Check for an Outstanding Warrant
A warrant for your arrest will not magically disappear if you ignore it or wish it away. A warrant remains lodged in the court’s computer system until you clear the warrant.
Obviously, you need to find out if you have a warrant before you can clear it up.
You have a couple of options if you want to find out if you have a warrant. First, you can call your local courthouse to ask about a warrant.
Court clerks should be able to perform an outstanding warrant search by just using your name and date of birth.
If you are in Columbus, you can check the city attorney’s website to see if you have an outstanding warrant.
You could also contact your local police department or state highway patrol to ask, Do I have an outstanding warrant?
However, you must be very careful not to say much more than asking if you have a warrant when calling the police department.
Remember that anything you say to the police can and will be used against you in court. You might be tempted to explain your situation if they tell you that you have a warrant.
Instead, you can ask what you need to do to clear the warrant.
The police department might tell you that you need to come to the police station to clear the warrant. But before surrendering yourself, you should contact a skilled and experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer.
Having a lawyer by your side can help you understand your rights, exercise those rights properly, and arrange for a bond.
Additionally, your lawyer will be with you if the police try to interrogate you. Your lawyer will also help you formulate a defense and have a plan to help you regain your freedom as soon as possible.
Why You Should Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA., Right Away for Help Removing Your Outstanding Warrant
Gounaris Abboud’s award-winning criminal defense attorneys can help address your warrant and fight to protect your freedom.
Our criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience that you can rely on to protect your rights.
We have earned a 10 out of 10 Avvo rating and a five-star Google rating for our criminal defense acumen.
Additionally, we have earned the prestigious SuperLawyers accolade several years in a row. Contact us online or call (937) 222-1515 to get our team on your side today. Get started with a free consultation.