I Have a Warrant Out For Me in Virginia - Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you have a warrant out for your arrest, here’s how a criminal defense lawyer can help you, Attorney Misha Lopez explains. Contact us today to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

A person can become aware of a charge against them many different ways.  The most common ways are:

  • being arrested
  • being issued a summons on the spot.

Arrests take place for nearly all felonies at the time they are committed, if possible, and for some misdemeanors, such as DUI/DWI and public intoxication. A summons, or what most people think of as a ticket, is usually issued for speeding, other traffic infractions, reckless driving, and minor drug possession offenses. In other cases, a person may not be accused of a crime until hours, days, or weeks after the alleged crime occurred.

When a person is not arrested or issued a summons at the time of the offense, the police will need an arrest warrant to take the suspect into custody.  Police officers are not required to disclose whether a warrant has been issued for a suspect.  However, in some cases, the police do disclose this information, or a person may otherwise learn that he or she is wanted by a particular jurisdiction.

Step 1: Contact Our Trusted Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you learn that you are wanted by a jurisdiction, you should first contact a criminal defense lawyer who practices in that area to ensure your rights are fully protected and you have the best defense moving forward.

Our trusted attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro PC can practice in all Northern Virginia jurisdictions, as well as federal court:

  • Alexandria
  • Arlington
  • Fairfax City
  • Fairfax County
  • Falls Church
  • Loudoun County
  • Prince William County

Having a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with your circumstances can give you an idea of whether you will be released or held in jail, based on the specific circumstances of your case.  Familiarity with the jurisdiction will also be important, as each county’s jail processing and bond procedures differ. Contacting a criminal defense lawyer at Greenspun Shapiro PC is the best thing you can do because we:

  • Will immediately start working on your defense
  • Are experienced negotiating with police and prosecutors
  • Are dedicated to helping people accused of crimes obtain the best possible outcomes to their cases.

Step 2: Turn Yourself into the Correct Jurisdiction

After speaking with a criminal defense lawyer, the next step is typically to turn yourself into the jurisdiction in which you are wanted.  Going to a different jurisdiction may delay your release.  If a suspect is outside the jurisdiction that issued the warrant, the judge likely will not set a bond.  Instead, a transportation order will be issued, and the suspect will be transported to the jurisdiction in which the charges are pending before release is addressed.  If you are wanted out-of-state, you should contact criminal defense lawyers in both states to determine what needs to be done.

For the final two steps to take if you have a warrant out for your arrest, be sure to look for the second part of this blog series that will be published soon.

Step 3: Prepare for Bond

Depending on the type of charges and other factors, a magistrate may be able to set bond.  However, some charges are considered particularly dangerous, such as:

  • rape
  • malicious wounding
  • robbery
  • murder.

Those charges have a presumption against release, so a magistrate judge will not have the option to set bond.  If the magistrate does not, or cannot, set bond, it will be important to have a criminal defense lawyer ready to file a bond motion and family or friends ready to help provide support by posting the bond or hiring a bondsman (Bondsman typically charge a fee of 10% of the total bond, which is not refundable).

Step 4: Do Not Make Verbal or Written Statements

No matter whether you are released immediately or held, it is important that you do not make any verbal or written disclosures to anyone during this process.  Anything stated to a police officer, or even a fellow inmate, could potentially be used against you.  It is vital that no case-related statements be made over jail phones.  Many of the phones available to inmates in Northern Virginia’s jails are recorded by the jail and reviewed by prosecutors and law enforcement.  This can then become evidence in the government’s case.

Seek the Legal Help of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If it’s time to contact an attorney, call the trusted Fairfax criminal defense lawyer at Greenspun Shapiro PC by calling (703) 352-0100 or by emailing us using the online ontact form. Our attorneys provide superior legal services to our clients in Fairfax and throughout Virginia.

Mikhail N. Lopez
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Criminal Defense and General Civil Litigation Attorney