WHAT IS AN ARREST WARRANT?

Attorney James K. Minick

Attorney James Minick — The NC DWI Guy

When a police officer has identified a person who has a committed a crime, the officer is generally required to obtain an arrest warrant in order to arrest and detain the individual. But what is an arrest warrant?

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is a legal document that is signed by a judge or magistrate that allows a police officer to arrest an individual. To obtain an arrest warrant, a police officer has to submit a written affidavit to a judge or magistrate for consideration. This affidavit is submitted under oath and contains specific facts and details of the case. If the judge or magistrate believes that the police officer has submitted enough proof to establish probable cause that the individual has committed the crime, the judge or magistrate will then issue the arrest warrant.

Establishing Probable Cause

To establish probable cause, a police officer has to be able to sufficiently explain why there is a belief that a certain crime has been committed. In order to meet this threshold, the police officer must be relying on more then a mere hunch. To do this, a police officer will rely on facts or circumstances to provide a reasonable showing of probable cause. However, although a police officer has to show more than mere suspicion, there is no requirement of establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. This is important because, to obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must show guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Inaccurate Arrest Warrants

In certain situations, arrest warrants that have been legally issued may contain mistakes or misrepresentations. Although this may seem to destroy the legitimacy of the arrest warrant, just because the arrest warrant is not 100% accurate does not make it defective. Typically, as long as the police officer is acting in good faith and with a reasonable belief that the warrant is legally accurate, the arrest warrant will be considered legitmate.

Contact Us

If you have been charged with a crime based off of an issued arrest warrant, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.

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