Having a warrant out for your arrest means that at any time, your freedom can be taken from you, and it will likely happen at the worst possible time. The best thing you can do if you have an outstanding warrant is to adequately prepare before you turn yourself in so that you can get yourself out of jail as quickly as possible. An experienced attorney can prepare the jail to receive you and be prepared to argue for your bond reduction at the very first opportunity.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Without an attorney, you can still find out the dollar amount of your bond and be prepared with either the cash on hand or security if a secured bond is required. If the dollar amount or the security is beyond your financial means you can call a bail bond agent in advance and have them prepared and ready to minimize your in-custody time. It may be in your best interest to hire an attorney, however, because he or she can assist you in taking care of these necessities in this trying time for you and your family.
Does the Warrant only Work in Mecklenburg or Gaston Counties (NC)?
The state of North Carolina uses the NCAWARE warrant repository system. Every county in North Carolina with the exception of Buncombe County is using this system. Once an arrest warrant is entered into the system, any agency in the system can serve the warrant, process the intake, and release the defendant with a court date for the county where the warrant originated. Typically an arrest warrant will have a bond amount listed on it so you can prepare in advance and have the funds, security, or a bail bond company standing by.
Mecklenburg County, NC has a pretty good on line system for looking up warrants (in any jurisdiction). This website lists the charges against you, the warrant number, and the county of origin but it does not show the recommended bond type or amount.
To get the bond amount, it may be necessary to call into your local jail intake or local magistrate’s office. In Gaston County there is a direct phone number you can call in order to inquire about arrest warrants and bond amounts: 704-862-6681.
When Should I Turn Myself In?
Plan to turn yourself in during a slow part of the day, like a weekday morning, so you can be processed quickly and your paperwork can be filed in a timely manner. If you show up during a busy time of the day (such as a Friday, a Saturday night, or weekdays between 5-8pm), be prepared to wait for quite a while. Your best bet is to call ahead and ask if the intake desk is busy, controlling your entrance ensures you get out in an efficient manner.
Be sure to speak with your attorney about your rights while in custody (see our blog Can the Police Search my Cell Phone after an Arrest Without a Warrant? to learn more about your rights)
If you have an outstanding arrest warrant in Mecklenburg or Gaston Counties (NC), you need to be aware of the procedures that accompany being in-custody for even a small amount of time. Please contact our office and we’ll be glad to speak with you about how best to handle your case. Consultations are always free.