You live in Texas or moved to Texas, but you have an out of state warrant for arrest. Is that a problem? Should you be concerned?

If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, it is a serious matter. 

It does not matter if the warrant for arrest is from Texas or another state. It also does not matter whether the warrant for arrest is for a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. You need to talk with a criminal defense lawyer to determine what you need to do.

What is a Warrant for Arrest?

An arrest warrant is a legal document that gives police officers the authority to take you into custody. Police officers do not need any other reason to stop and detain you. The arrest warrant is sufficient cause to stop, detain, and place you in custody. 

Arrest warrants are issued when you are suspected of committing a crime. Typically, police officers file a petition with the court requesting that the court issue the arrest warrant.

A judge issues a bench warrant when you fail to appear in court or comply with another court order. Both an arrest warrant and a bench warrant can result in you sitting in jail.

Don’t Arrest Warrants Expire After a Specific Time?

No, arrest warrants do not expire. Bench warrants do not expire either. The warrants remain active until there is a resolution. Resolutions include your arrest by police officers, turning yourself in, or the charges being dropped.

Are Out of State Warrants Valid in Texas?

If you have an arrest warrant or a bench warrant pending in another state, police officers in Texas can pick you up and hold you pending further order of the court. Police officers can check for outstanding warrants from other states by searching the FBI’s database. Therefore, if you are detained or stopped by a police officer, he can run your name to determine if you are wanted in another state.

Once you are in custody, the outcome of the warrant for arrest depends on the charges. If the criminal charge is a misdemeanor, a criminal defense lawyer in Texas might be able to work out an agreement for you to pay a fine or other minor penalty. 

For example, you have an outstanding misdemeanor drug charge, and your attorney here arranges for you to plead guilty and pay the fine without returning to the state that issued the warrant for arrest.

However, if the warrant for arrest is for a felony charge, the process is different. For example, if you face a felony charge for rape, murder, violent crimes, or burglary, you may be returned (via extradition) to the other state to face the felony charges. You can fight the extradition, but in most cases, you will lose. 

Can I Find Out if I Have an Outstanding Warrant for Arrest in Another State?

You probably do not want to call the court to ask if there is an outstanding warrant. You risk being questioned if you call the police department or the court to ask about outstanding warrants. Your phone number may show up on caller ID, giving the police your location. 

There are online databases in each state you can search, but municipalities and some courts might not be included in the database. The database may also be outdated.

There are many companies online that offer to search for arrest warrants. You must pay for these searches, and they do not guarantee their results.

Instead, you might want to consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can perform a search for an arrest warrant. If he locates a warrant for arrest, he explains the charges against you, the potential penalties for a guilty verdict, and your options for resolving the matter.

A bail bond agent can also search for an outstanding arrest warrant. You may also want to check the website for the local Sheriff. Some police departments maintain a current database online with a list of all outstanding warrants.

Outstanding Warrants for Arrest – What Do You Need to Know?

Do not ignore an outstanding arrest warrant, even an arrest warrant from another state. Police officers could show up at your home, work, or any other location without warning to arrest you. It is better to face the matter head-on and resolve it with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

If you suspect that you have a pending warrant for your arrest, contact a criminal lawyer to discuss the steps you need to take to avoid being arrested and jailed.