Arrest Warrant Guide

DC Arrest Warrants

The District of Columbia has different kinds of warrants for which individuals can be brought into police custody. Arrest warrants allow the police to take a specific individual into custody if he or she has committed a criminal offense. This kind of warrant is issued through the court and does not expire at any time.

The "Most Wanted" criminals all have warrants out for their arrests. Warrants can be issued for misdemeanor offenses as well as felony offenses. Arresting officers have the right to forcibly enter the residence of an individual with a warrant of arrest; however officers must legally knock and announce their presence first.

Other Warrants
Search warrants are different from arrest warrants as they are issued to search for certain kinds of evidence in specific residences. Search warrants are issued on a limited basis and can expire. If evidence is found in plain sight that is not explicitly mentioned in the warrant, it can be legally collected.

Another type of possible warrant is the bench warrant. Specifically a bench warrant is a legalizing document. If an individual on bail does not attend his or her court date, the presiding judge may issue a warrant for his or her arrest. Rather than bring the arrested individual directly to a law enforcement agency, the arresting officers will bring the individual to the presiding court. When the individual is brought to the court he or she will receive an addition bond amount and other possible punishment.

Specific Cases
Bench warrants are also issued in cases of child support. Child support bench warrants can only be issued within the District of Columbia. Bench warrants are often issued to the parent who does not have custody of the child or children rather than the parent with sole custody.

To eliminate the chance of receiving a bench warrant in this kind of case an individual will be served with a notice of hearing from the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department or an investigator from the CSSD. In both child support cases and criminal cases if an individual discovers that he or she has a bench warrant for his or her arrest, the individual should either surrender directly to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the court's information window.

At a court information window the clerk should be informed of a surrender due to the bench warrant. If there is a surrender there is the possibility that the presiding judge will dismiss the warrant upon assigning a new court date.

When an individual is arrested for a bench warrant, he or she will be held in the Metropolitan Police Department's custody. If a bond is posted, the individual can then be released from police custody. A child support hearing will follow an arrest.

It is possible to not be aware of a warrant of arrest. This is often the case in identity theft cases. Because arrest warrants can be quite serious, different search engines and databases are available on the Internet for finding arrest warrants. Each state has its own section on each website, and many websites have sections for the District of Columbia.