What is an open warrant?
An open warrant means a judge has authorized law enforcement to arrest an individual at any time. Essentially, if you have an open warrant for your arrest, your next interaction with law enforcement may end in your arrest and detainer. For example, you never showed up in court when you were required to appear. Because you did not show up in court, the judge has issued a warrant. Days, weeks, or even months later, you are pulled over while driving and the officer runs your name through the system, discovers you have an open warrant, and takes you into custody.
How do you find whether there is a warrant out for you?
There are some online resources available to search for warrants; otherwise, a call to your local police department may assist you in finding whether there are any warrants in your name. For online resources, the North Dakota court system utilizes a public search website, which may provide some information on whether a warrant has been issued. Additionally, some law enforcement departments provide an online list of active warrants online. If you believe you have a warrant, it may be best to have an attorney contact law enforcement on your behalf.
What to do about an open warrant?
If you find out about an open warrant before you are arrested – contact an attorney immediately. Do not ignore the warrant. An attorney may be able to assist you through a resolution of the warrant without having to go through the process of being taken into custody. For example, an attorney may be able to schedule you to appear in court instead of being taken into custody. Or an attorney may arrange for you to surrender on your own terms, rather than being arrested in your home or place of work. Handling an open warrant by yourself can be challenging, so contacting an attorney to assist you is the best option to resolve the situation.
If you have been arrested on a warrant – contact an attorney immediately. Although you have been arrested, this does not mean you are guilty of a crime. An attorney can assist you in understanding your rights and understanding the warrant. Like in any criminal proceeding, the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney can help you to best resolve the situation.
It is in your best interest to immediately contact experienced legal counsel if there is a warrant issued for your arrest or you have been arrested. Contact Tatum O’Brien for assistance at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss or by calling 701-235-8000.