Arrest warrant


Arrest warrant

An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.

Contents

Canada

Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Once the warrant has been issued, section 29 of the Code requires that the arresting officer must give notice to the accused of the existence of the warrant, the reason for it, and produce it if requested, if it is feasible to do so.

United Kingdom

The procedure for issuing arrest warrants differs in each of the three legal jurisdictions.

England and Wales

In England & Wales, arrest warrants can be issued for both suspects and witnesses.

Arrest warrants for suspects can be issued by a justice of the peace under section 1 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 if information (in writing) is laid before them that a person has committed or is suspected of having committed an offence.[1] Such arrest warrants can only be issued for someone over 18 if:[1]

  • the offence to which the warrant relates is an indictable offence or is punishable with imprisonment, or
  • the person's address is not sufficiently established for a summons to be served on him.

Arrest warrants for witnesses can be issued if:

  • a justice of the peace is satisfied on oath that:[2]
    • any person in England or Wales is likely to be able to give material evidence, or produce any document or thing likely to be material evidence, at the summary trial of an information by a magistrates' court,
    • it is in the interests of justice to issue a summons under this subsection to secure the attendance of that person to give evidence or produce the document or thing, and
    • it is probable that a summons would not procure the attendance of the person in question.
  • or, if:[2]
    • a person has failed to attend court in response to a summons,
    • the court is satisfied by evidence on oath that he is likely to be able to give material evidence or produce any document or thing likely to be material evidence in the proceedings,
    • it is proved on oath, or in such other manner as may be prescribed, that he has been duly served with the summons, and that a reasonable sum has been paid or tendered to him for costs and expenses, and
    • it appears to the court that there is no just excuse for the failure.

Scotland

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland arrest warrants are usually issued by a magistrate.

United States

Warrants are usually issued by courts but can also be issued by one of the chambers of the United States Congress or other legislatures (via the call of the house motion) and other political entities.

In the United States, an arrest warrant must be supported by a signed and sworn affidavit showing probable cause that a specific crime(s) has been committed by the individual(s) named in the warrant.

In most jurisdictions, an arrest warrant is required for misdemeanors which usually do not occur within the view of a police officer. However, as long as police have the necessary probable cause, a warrant is usually not needed to arrest someone suspected of a felony.[3] Laws vary from state to state.

Mittimus

A mittimus is a writ issued by a court or magistrate, directing the sheriff or other executive officer to convey the person named in the writ to a prison or jail, and directing the jailor to receive and imprison the person.

An example of the usage of this word is as follows: "... Thomas Fraser, Gregor Van Iveren and John Schaver having some time since been Confirmed by the Committee of the County of Albany for being Persons disaffected to the Cause of America and whose going at large may be dangerous to the State, Ordered Thereupon that a Mittimus be made out to keep them confined till such time as they be discharged by the Board or any other three of the Commissioners." Minutes of the Commissioners for detecting and defeating Conspiracies in the State of New York, Albany County Sessions,1778–1781. (Albany, New York: 1909) Vol. 1, Page 90

In police jargon, these writs are sometimes referred to as a writ of capias, defined as orders to "take" a person or assets. Capias writs are often issued when a suspect fails to appear for a scheduled adjudication, hearing, etc.

Bench warrant

A bench warrant is a variant of an arrest warrant that authorizes the immediate on-sight arrest of the individual subject to the bench warrant. Typically, judges issue bench warrants for persons deemed to be in contempt of court—possibly as a result of that person's failure to appear at the appointed time and date for a mandated court appearance. Bench warrants are issued in either criminal or civil court proceedings.

Commonly (but not always), the person who is subject to a bench warrant has intentionally avoided a court appearance to escape the perceived consequences of being found guilty of a crime. If a person was on bail awaiting criminal trial when the nonappearance took place, the court usually forfeits bail and may set a higher bail amount to be paid when the subject is rearrested, but normally the suspect is held in custody without bail. If a person has a bench warrant against him when stopped by a law enforcement officer, the authorities put them in jail and a hearing is held. The hearing usually results in the court setting a new bail amount, new conditions, and a new court appearance date. Often, if a person is arrested on a bench warrant, the court declares them a flight risk (likely to flee) and orders that person to be held without bail.

Bench warrants are traditionally issued by sitting judges or magistrates.

Outstanding arrest warrant

An outstanding arrest warrant is an arrest warrant that has not been served. A warrant may be outstanding if the person named in the warrant is intentionally evading law enforcement, is unaware that a warrant is out for him/her, the agency responsible for executing the warrant has a backlog of warrants to serve, or a combination of these factors.

Some jurisdictions have a very high number of outstanding warrants. The U.S. state of California in 1999 had around 2.5 million outstanding warrants, with nearly 1 million of them in the Los Angeles area.[4] The city of Baltimore, Maryland, had 100,000 as of 2007.[5] New Orleans, Louisiana, has 49,000.[6]

Some places have laws placing various restrictions on persons with outstanding warrants, such as prohibiting renewal of one's driver's license or obtaining a passport.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b section 1 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980. Statutelaw.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  2. ^ a b section 97 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980. Statutelaw.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  3. ^ Getting Arrested (Arrest). Videojug.com (2007-05-05). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  4. ^ When Justice Goes Unserved / Thousands wanted on outstanding warrants – but law enforcement largely ignores them. Sfgate.com (1999-06-22). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  5. ^ http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-01-19/news/bs-md-prince-georges-homicides-20110119_1_killings-criminal-homicides-slaying/2
  6. ^ Countless Fugitives, Gambit Communications, Inc., 12 September 2003

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