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The Top 5 Misconceptions on Criminal Warrants

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It can be a scary experience to have a warrant out for your arrest. You may want to ignore the issue and wait for it to disappear or try to hide from the potential criminal penalties. Many defendants have unfortunate misconceptions on how warrants work, which can lead to serious consequences in the future. Understanding the truth about warrants is important to avoid additional issues.

#1: I Can Flee the Warrant

Many defendants want to flee a warrant and hide from a future arrest. However, running away from criminal charges is always a poor decision.

If you are caught attempting to flee a warrant, you will likely face harsher penalties. You may not be able to reach a plea deal. You will likely be considered a flight risk and ineligible for bail—leaving you in jail until your case reaches a conclusion.

#2: If I Leave the State, They Can’t Catch Me

It may be tempting to cross state lines in an attempt to avoid the potential consequences. A warrant will not disappear, even if the defendant does enter another county or state.

Police departments often share information with each other, including data about warrants. If you are stopped by the police with an open warrant, the officers could find this information and make an arrest. An incident as routine as a traffic stop can result in serious consequences.

#3: I Can Get the Same Plea Deal as a Friend

If you have a friend who was arrested on a warrant, you may believe that you could attempt to secure the same plea deal or arrangement as him or her. However, all criminal cases are different. There is no guarantee that you will receive the same treatment.

#4: I Don’t Need a Lawyer

Many people believe that when they are arrested on a warrant, they can represent their own interests in court. However, the Washington criminal justice system is very complex and can be difficult to navigate without an attorney. Hiring a defense attorney is an effective legal strategy—and one that could help reduce the penalties that you face.

Your lawyer can file petitions and make arguments to support your case and help you reach an optimal outcome. Your attorney can also help negotiate bonds, communicate with your family, and create an action plan for when you surrender yourself to the state.

#5: I Can Ignore a Warrant

You cannot simply ignore a warrant and hope that the issue will be resolved. It is common for defendants to believe that the prosecutor will drop the case, the state will forget the issue, and the case will eventually expire. However, warrants do not have an expiration date. It is preferable to face the issue with the support of an attorney, rather than waiting for law enforcement to make an arrest.

What to Do After an Arrest in Washington

If you are arrested on a warrant in Washington, it is important to remain calm and speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Follow the officers’ instructions, but do not answer any questions until you consult with an attorney. Remember, you have a constitutional right to legal representation, as well as the right to remain silent.

Immediately after your arrest, contact our Washington defense lawyer to represent your case. Criminal defense lawyer Mark Treyz will evaluate your situation and help you understand your legal options, strategizing your optimal pathway to achieve the best possible outcome.

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