An arrest warrant is a court order signed by a judge giving law enforcement the legal right to arrest a person for committing an alleged criminal offense. Judges only issue arrest warrants when they are given affidavits showing probable cause to believe a person listed on an arrest warrant is guilty of a crime.
Any person believing they have been arrested without probable cause or who has a warrant out for their arrest should quickly retain legal counsel to help overcome all of the challenges that will arise in handling these types of cases. You do not want to risk encountering a police officer during your everyday life and being placed under arrest in an even more embarrassing situation.
Arrest Warrants Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
If you are dealing with any kind of arrest warrant, contact our firm right away. Our firm understands the warrant process and many of the flaws inherent to these kinds of issues.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.
Arrest Warrants in Tarrant County
When an arrest warrant is signed by a judge, law enforcement officials may then carry out an arrest. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 15.26, any time a law enforcement official serves a warrant and makes an arrest, an alleged offender must be notified by the officer that they are being arrested pursuant to a warrant.
For a warrant to be valid, it must be signed by a judge, have the name or description of the alleged offender, and have which offense(s) the individual is being accused of. An alternative to an arrest warrant will be a summons giving the individual a particular time and date for which to appear in court.
When a person is given a summons, or given a traffic citation and fails to appear in court, or otherwise resolves the citation, a judge can issue a bench warrant. Bench warrants are issued for the arrest of individuals who have violated court orders, unlike arrest warrants, which are issued for individuals who are accused of crimes.
Chapter 15 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure addresses many of the issues relating to arrest warrants. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 15.01, a “warrant of arrest” is a written order from a judge directed to a peace officer or some other person specially named, commanding them to take the body of the person accused of a criminal offense, to be dealt with according to law.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 15.02 states that an arrest warrant is issued in the name of “The State of Texas” and must be sufficient, without regard to form, if it has these substantial requisites:
- It specifies the name of the person whose arrest is ordered, when it is known, or if unknown, then some reasonably definite description must be given of him.
- It states that the person is accused of some offense against the laws of the State, naming the offense.
- It is signed by the judge, and their office is named in the body of the warrant, or in connection with their signature.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 15.03 further establishes that a judge can issue a warrant of arrest or a summons:
- In any case in which they are authorized by law to order verbally the arrest of an alleged offender;
- When any person makes an oath before a judge that another person has committed some offense against the laws of Texas; and
- In any case where they are specially authorized to issue warrants of arrest.
A summons can be issued in any case where a warrant can be issued and must be in the same form as the warrant, except that it must summon the alleged offender to appear before a magistrate at a stated time and place. A summons must be served upon an alleged offender by delivering a copy to them personally or by leaving it at their dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or mailing it to the alleged offender’s last known address.
When an alleged offender fails to appear in response to the summons, a warrant must be issued. For purposes of Subdivision 2, Subsection (a), a person can appear before the judge in person, or the person’s image may be presented to the judge through an electronic broadcast system.
A recording of the communication between the person and the judge must be made if the person’s image is presented through an electronic broadcast system under Subsection (c). If the alleged offender is charged with the offense, the recording must be preserved until:
- the alleged offender is acquitted of the offense; or
- all appeals relating to the offense have been exhausted.
The counsel for the alleged offender may obtain a copy of the recording on payment of an amount reasonably necessary to cover the costs of reproducing the recording. The phrase “electronic broadcast system” means a two-way electronic communication of image and sound between a person and judge and includes secure Internet videoconferencing.
Warrantless Arrest in Fort Worth
In several cases, warrants are required for officers to arrest someone. However, under certain circumstances, law enforcement can make warrantless arrests.
Some of these instances listed in Chapter 14 of the Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure include:
- An officer has probable cause to believe that an alleged offender committed a felony and is about to escape
- Law enforcement has recovered stolen property, and believes the alleged offender who is in their presence is guilty of stealing it
- An officer sees an alleged offender commit a crime
- Law enforcement has probable cause to believe an alleged offender assaulted a spouse or family member
- An alleged offender voluntarily gives a statement to law enforcement that gives them probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a felony
- An officer has probable cause to believe the alleged offender violated a protective order
If you have been arrested without being presented a warrant and you feel that law enforcement may not have probable cause to believe you committed a crime, contact an experienced Fort Worth defense lawyer immediately.
Search Warrants in Tarrant County
Chapter 18 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure also deals with search warrants. This chapter states a search warrant is a written order, issued by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for any property or thing and to seize the same and bring it before such judge or commanding him to search for and photograph a child and to deliver to the judge any of the film exposed pursuant to the order.
No search warrant can be issued for any purpose in Texas unless sufficient facts are first presented to satisfy the issuing judge that probable cause does, in fact, exist for its issuance. A sworn affidavit setting forth substantial facts establishing probable cause must be filed in every instance in which a search warrant is requested.
Except as otherwise provided, an affidavit becomes public information when the search warrant for which the affidavit was presented is executed, and the judge’s clerk must make a copy of the affidavit available for public inspection in the clerk’s office during normal business hours. When an applicant for a search warrant attests to the contents of an affidavit submitted by reliable electronic means, the judge must acknowledge the attestation in writing on the affidavit. If the judge considers additional testimony or exhibits, the judge must:
- ensure that the testimony is recorded verbatim by an electronic recording device, by a court reporter, or in writing;
- ensure that any recording or reporter’s notes are transcribed and that the transcription is certified as accurate and is preserved;
- sign, certify the accuracy of, and preserve any other written record; and
- ensure that the exhibits are preserved.
A judge may modify a search warrant that is submitted. If a judge modifies the warrant, the judge must:
- transmit the modified version to the applicant by reliable electronic means; or
- file the modified original and direct the applicant to modify the proposed duplicate original accordingly.
A judge who issues a search warrant for which information is provided by telephone or reliable electronic means must:
- sign the original documents;
- enter the date and time of issuance on the warrant; and
- transmit the warrant by reliable electronic means to the applicant or direct the applicant to sign the judge’s name and enter the date and time on the duplicate original.
Tarrant County Resources for Warrants
Active Warrants | Tarrant County — This Tarrant County website page lists current active warrants with Justice Court 1 and is updated monthly. You can make a payment in accordance with the fees page. The county also has a criminal warrants page.
Warrants | The City of Fort Worth — The Fort Worth website notes that its court issues two types of warrants: Warrants of Arrest or Capias Warrants issued for failure to appear in court as promised or not taking care of original Class C citation and Post-Judgement Warrants or Capias Pro-fines. You can look up your warrant or look up your case. The website notes that a warrant can be issued for a person’s arrest when they do not respond to a citation within 21 days, do not appear for a court date, do not pay a fine assessed by a judge, do not complete the Driving Safety Course requirements and fail to appear to the show cause hearing, do not comply with the terms of their probation and fail to appear at the probation revocation hearing, default on payment arrangements, or fail to comply with a community service order.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for an Arrest Warrant | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to find applicable defenses in your particular case to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area. Our firm can thoroughly review your entire case and discuss how we might be able to help. We have decades of experience handling these kinds of issues.