Arrest Warrant Guide

Virginia Arrest Warrants

Warrants are issued in Virginia under three different circumstances. Search warrants are issued when a law enforcement officer or a criminal defense attorney has suspicion that a piece of evidence is present. A judge may then issue a warrant stating the specific piece of evidence, the place of suspicion, and a specified time allotment.

When searching officers may not apprehend another piece of evidence, if found while searching, unless another warrant is issued. When searching if another piece of evidence is in plain sight, a warrant is not required.

Arrest Warrants
Warrants for arrest are issued similarly to search warrants. Unlike search warrants, arrest warrants cannot expire and cannot be issued solely on suspicion. Criminal justice attorneys and law enforcement officers petitioning for arrest warrants must have probable cause that an offense took place in order for a warrant to be issued from a judge. Arrest warrants in Virginia are valid in all other forty-nine states. This means that if an individual attempts to evade the police by leaving Virginia, he or she can still be arrested but instead by law enforcement officers of other states.

After a warrant is issued law enforcement officers often take individuals into custody at their place of business or personal residence. Virginia requires that law enforcement officers knock and announce their presence prior to making an arrest. If officers have probable cause to believe that the individual may cause harm to him or herself, cause harm to others, cause harm to the officers, or destroy evidence, they have legal allowance to enter by force. Entering by force is often questioned by the Fourth Amendment, though it is fully legal for safety reasons. Force can only be used towards doors and windows.

Bench Warrants
Bench warrants are more serious than arrest warrants, despite being a kind of arrest warrant. Bench warrants are issued by a judge presiding over a case where an individual on bail fails to appear at his or her assigned court date. The individual, once arrested, will be brought to the court rather than the police station. The judge then has the option to require bail forfeiture or give addition charges for evading the police. Bench warrants can also be issued in Virginia if an individual violates his or her probation. Virginia law also states that charges for a bench warrant are in addition to other charges an individual faces.

Searching for Warrants
Individuals may have outstanding warrants for their arrests without knowing. This is usually possible in identity theft cases. The Internet provides various search engines and databases for searching for outstanding warrants. Virginia, as well as every other state, has specific sites as well as specific sections on other sites for statewide searching.

Warrants are normally divided into cities and counties for easier searching. A majority of websites are free of charge, though some require a fee between twenty and forty dollars. Criminal defense attorneys can also provide searching services. If a warrant is found, he or she can offer advice for what to do next. If a warrant is found, surrendering to the police may possibly result in lesser charges.