Any arrest warrant is a serious matter. Sometimes they come as an unpleasant surprise: you learn through a third party or through a search that you have one.
At other times, you’re all too aware that there’s a warrant out for your arrest.
Either way, you’ve got to do something about it.
Types of Warrants
- Post-Judgement Arrest – Judges issue these warrants when you fail to complete a court-ordered payment plan or fail to meet other court-ordered obligations.
- Failure to Appear – Judges issue these warrants when you fail to appear at a court date.
- Arrest Warrant – Judges issue these warrants when there is probable cause to believe you have committed a crime.
Usually HPD or the Harris County Sheriff’s office will move quickly to arrest you if they have an arrest warrant out on you. Yet sometimes the backlog buys you a little time. There are more than 700 open murder warrants in Houston right now, as well as over 25,000 open felony warrants. There are over 4,000 to 6,000 new warrants being generated every month.
Do not assume the backlog will keep you safe forever: use the time wisely.
Police don’t usually actively search for people who have bench warrants, but may arrest you if they stop you for another reason and discover that the warrant exists. In fact, most HPD arrests are made through traffic stops. If you know there’s a warrant out for your arrest you might want to stop driving until you can do something about it.
Do warrants go away on their own?
No. Warrants remain in the system until resolved. That means you could be arrested at any time: when pulled over, at your home, or at your business.
How can I check for a Houston, TX arrest warrant?
You can search the Harris County Sheriff’s Department website.
What should I do about a Houston, TX arrest warrant?
The first thing you should do is call a lawyer to go over your options. Much will depend on the severity of the charges. In addition, in Harris County it’s possible for your criminal defense lawyer to post an “Attorney Bond” on your behalf. This gets the court off your back a moment and gives you time to go over your options, to provide your lawyer with exculpatory evidence if you have any, and to start preparing a case.
In some cases, working with the court to resolve the warrant is the best possible course of action. There are several different ways you can do this, but you won’t want to engage in any of them without talking to your lawyer first. Working with the court may mean appearing under a “walk in” docket or requesting a court date with the clerk of court. It may mean posting bail or turning yourself in to the police. It’s important to understand all of your options. You also may need to have cash on hand and ready to get yourself out of hot water.
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