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How do arrest warrants work?

Man in handcuffs

Ideally, the process for police to obtain an arrest warrant is straightforward. The legal system is not always so cut-and-dried, however. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers explain how police warrants are obtained and how to fight them if you are innocent.

The warrant process

To obtain a warrant, police must submit a written statement, called an affidavit, that convinces a judge or magistrate of two things:

  1. A crime has taken place.
  2. The person named in the warrant was involved in the crime.

If satisfied, the judge or magistrate issues an arrest warrant. The document details the alleged crime and empowers a police officer to arrest the person named in the warrant. The warrant can contain certain restrictions, such as limiting the arrest to certain times, and it may specify the bail that must be posted for the suspect to be released.

Importantly, police file an affidavit under oath. The officer, in signing the statement, usually before a notary or county clerk, is swearing that the information that they are providing is true. If the affidavit contains knowingly false information, the officer who signed it is subject to prosecution for perjury.

When the warrant process goes wrong

People, including police officers, judges, and magistrates, can make mistakes. Unfortunately, their errors can cause major problems for you. You could be wrongfully arrested because someone misspelled a name, the real suspect has a name similar to yours, or address numbers were transposed.

Then there are cases where someone has a vendetta against you. It could be the police, an ex-spouse, a former business partner, or an angry neighbor who provides false or misleading information to the authorities. Their goal is to make your life miserable.

In the heat of the moment, knowing you are innocent, you can lose your temper and say or do something that the police believe raises further suspicion. You could be charged with resisting arrest or assaulting an officer. If the criminal allegation is serious, police already may be on edge and unlikely to give serious consideration to your pleas of innocence. After all, they hear “you’ve got the wrong person” all the time.

Making it right

If you have been mistakenly arrested, it may feel like the police, courts and prosecutor have already made up their minds about your case and that your fate is sealed. With the proper legal representation on your side, things can quickly turn around. The criminal defense lawyers at Aguilar and Sieron, P.A. have more than 30 years of experience representing clients just like you in Clay County, Duval County, and throughout northeast Florida. They know how to ask hard-hitting questions and can fight to help set you free. Did the police follow proper procedures? Did they have the right to arrest you? Was a search conducted legally? Did they explain your rights? Did they threaten or coerce you in any way? You may also have grounds for a civil lawsuit. Contact us today for your free case consultation to learn more. We're here for you when you need us the most.

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