Most people are familiar with the term ‘warrant’ and already know that they are tools used by law enforcement to either arrest someone or search someone or someplace.

With that said, there are different types of warrants – each type of warrant arising in a different context and serving a different purpose. Primarily, warrants are either considered arrest warrants or search warrants.

Arrest Warrants

In essence, an arrest warrant is an order by a Judge to law enforcement officers. That order requires that law enforcement takes into custody whoever is the target of that warrant.

Arrest warrants can be issued for a number of different reasons including, but not limited to, situations where someone is being sought as a suspect in a matter, when someone ‘Fails to Appear’ in court, when someone fails to comply with probation or some other order issued by a Court, or that person has not paid child support payments.

When someone is being pursued as a suspect or defendant, the arrest warrant can only be issued if there is probable cause to believe that the subject of the warrant committed a criminal offense. If there is insufficient probable cause, then a judge or magistrate is prohibited from issuing an arrest warrant. In that sense, the arrest warrant protects an individual from an unreasonable seizure/ arrest.

Further, even if there is an arrest warrant, that may not be enough for law enforcement to arrest someone. That person may be inside their own home or even at a friend’s house. In those, and in other circumstances, the arrest warrant may need to be paired with a search warrant.

Although a search warrant may be needed in order to execute an arrest warrant, once someone is arrested (without a search warrant), that person may be searched – if they are, in fact, arrested. This ‘search incident to arrest’, and most arrests and searches, raise several potential constitutional issues.

Not all arrest warrants are valid and an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney, like those at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez, can help identify when and if an arrest warrant is invalid. A valid arrest warrant is required to contain certain information including specific details about who is to be arrested and why they are to be detained.

When someone is detained under an arrest warrant, that individual is often booked into a detainment facility by law enforcement. Depending on the type of warrant, the individual who is arrested may be able to be processed and released on the day that they are detained. In other, no-bond matters, the individual will likely be processed and kept overnight so that they can be brought in front of the Judge the next day.

If the Court is going to have a bail hearing, and thus determine whether the individual should either be released during the pendency of the case or kept in custody during that time, then having an experienced defense attorney is critically important.

Search Warrants

Just like arrest warrants, search warrants are orders, issued by Judges or Magistrates. A search warrant, as opposed to an arrest warrant, does not target a given person but rather allows law enforcement to search a specific place.

A search warrant can only be issued upon a showing of probable cause to believe that the legitimate object of a search is located in a particular place. In that sense, the search warrant safeguards an individual’s interest in the privacy of his/her home and in their possessions against the unjustified intrusion of law enforcement.

Although a warrant is almost always required in order for law enforcement to execute a search, warrantless searches are allowed when the circumstances make it ‘reasonable’ to dispense with the warrant requirement. One of the most common “exceptions” to the warrant requirement is called the “exigent circumstances” requirement and is applicable when some emergency or time-sensitive issue arises.

Having an attorney that understands the intricacies of search warrants and when they do, or do not, apply can be critical to your case. The attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez are experienced and versed in the complex issues that arise in search and arrest warrants.

Contact the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez in order to set up a consultation on your matter.