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There are a number of different warrants employed within the legal system and each one serves a distinct purpose. Unlike how warrants are typically shown on TV police dramas, one warrant cannot be used interchangeably. Each type of warrant falls under specified rules regarding how it is issued and carried out. Below, we’ll look at the four main types of warrants and what sets each one apart.


Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is a warrant signed by a judge or magistrate. It gives police officers the authority to arrest the individual named in the warrant. The warrant will also include the crime for which the person is being arrested. Additionally, the warrant may set special conditions for the arrest, such as designating a time frame for the arrest to take place.

For instance, the arrest warrant might name John Doe to be arrested for 2nd degree burglary between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.


Search Warrants

In the way that arrest warrants designate an individual to be arrested, a search warrant establishes a premises to be searched. There are usually similar restrictions on a search warrant. In some cases, only portions of the property can be searched, such as specific rooms or even specific computer files. The search warrant must also detail what the officers are looking for in their search.

It’s important to note, however, that police can seize any incriminating evidence that they come across during the course of the search.

Sometimes police don’t need a warrant to conduct a property search. The property owner may grant consent for police to conduct a search — but this is something that most criminal defense lawyers would advise against.


Bench Warrants

Bench warrants and arrest warrants are similar in that they both allow police to take an individual into custody, but that’s really the only way they are alike. Where the police initiate the arrest warrant, filling out the form for the judge to sign, the court initiates the bench warrant itself. Bench warrants are placed against a defendant who violated court rules of conduct. For instance, most bench warrants are issued against defendants who didn’t show up for their hearing or trial date. Once a bench warrant has been issued, the police execute it as they would with a normal arrest warrant.


Fugitive Warrants

A fugitive warrant is another type of arrest warrant. This type of warrant is issued across jurisdictions when a prisoner or defendant has fled justice. The court issues a fugitive warrant, which is then released and shared to surrounding law enforcement agencies. This authorizes police to detain an individual for crimes committed in outside jurisdictions. The court issuing the fugitive warrant then initiates extradition proceedings so the suspect can be returned to the original jurisdiction.

Facing police armed with any kind of arrest warrant can be an unnerving situation. If you find yourself facing a criminal investigation, contact a criminal defense lawyer such as the Criminal Lawyer Peoria IL locals trust as soon as possible. Even a seemingly minor charge can have massive consequences. The best choice is to involve a lawyer as early in the process as possible so your rights can be protected.

Thanks to authors at Smith & Weer LLC for their insight into Criminal Defense.


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