ARREST WARRANTS AND BENCH WARRANTS
Skilled Representation by Our DuPage, Kane, and Cook County Criminal Defense Law Firm
In the legal world, a warrant is often the basis for police action, such as conducting a search or an individual’s arrest. Any time law enforcement officers suspect that someone committed a crime, they must first obtain a warrant to legally arrest the accused. In some instances, courts may issue warrants without the necessary probable cause. Warrants may also be defective in other ways, such as when a warrant is overly vague or broad. When this happens, the experienced team of lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., can help you challenge probable cause and advance other legal challenges against the warrant the State issued against you.
Whether you have a warrant out for your arrest or a judge issued a bench warrant, your case requires the legal knowledge of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we bring all of the following to each and every case:
- 24/7 availability
- Named from 2010 to 2018 100 Top Lawyers in Illinois by Super Lawyers®
- 40-plus years of experience
- 10 Superb Avvo Rating
- Experience as former felony prosecutors
Our firm can supply you with the legal knowledge and representation you need during this time to ensure that your charges do not escalate unnecessarily. Our knowledgeable team of DuPage, Kane, and Cook County, Illinois, criminal defense lawyers can represent you at all of your court hearings, as well as during plea negotiations with the State’s attorney. With criminal defense lawyers ready to serve all of DuPage County, you do not have to face criminal charges without a trusted advocate. Contact our office to learn more about how we may assist you in your case.
Information About Warrants in Illinois
Illinois judges may issue warrants for a variety of reasons. In some instances, the warrant authorizes police officers to arrest a person whom the State suspects of committing a crime. A warrant may also allow police to search a person’s property to try to obtain evidence against the accused. Searchable property might include a person’s vehicle, home, or office desk. Lastly, a judge may issue a warrant if the accused did not show up for a court date or if the accused arrived late to court.
Each local court follows specific rules in regard to warrants, which must be in accordance with state laws. Consider the following information mandated by DuPage County courts:
- Arrest warrants must meet the requirements under 725 ILCS 5/107-9 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure
- Each search warrant must have supportive information as required by 725 ILCS 5/108-3 and 5/108-4 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure
- Courts shall set bond as advised on the warrant or as set by a judge in accordance with 725 ILCS 5/110-5 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure
- Individuals arrested on warrants should be able to appear before the issuing judge as soon as possible or before a bond judge
- Courts may issue warrants in traffic, misdemeanor, or felony cases
The rules for warrants in Cook County and Kane County also adhere to the requirements under Illinois state criminal laws. If a warrant fails to qualify under the law, our criminal defense lawyers can challenge the validity of an arrest, as well as any evidence stemming from the arrest.
The Difference Between Arrest Warrants and Bench Warrants
Although similar, these two types of warrants have very different purposes when used by law enforcement. An arrest warrant always precedes a bench warrant, as the court issues an arrest warrant the first time a police officer suspects you are guilty of committing a crime. In many instances, courts may issue arrest warrants and bench warrants without regard to probable cause, or there may be other defects present that render the warrant invalid.
Courts often issue arrest warrants before a prosecutor issues charges of a crime. The court order essentially gives the officer the authority to legally arrest you and details the conditions of your bail bond. Typically, this warrant also orders you to come to court for your initial hearing.
In order to obtain an arrest warrant, police officers must present certain facts to the judge, often stemming from a criminal investigation. A judge will review the facts of the situation and if they decide there is probable cause that you committed a crime, they can issue the warrant. An officer can then proactively show up at your home or workplace to execute the warrant and place you under arrest.
The question of probable cause can be difficult to determine, and the threshold necessary to reach probable cause can be subjective. If a judge determines that there is probable cause to believe that a criminal act happened and that the accused was the individual who committed the crime, then the judge has the legal authority to execute an arrest warrant.
Once a court approves an arrest warrant, the sheriff or another police officer can legally detain the individual the judge named in the warrant. The officer can go to your office or home, arrest you there, and take you into legal custody. The purpose of taking you into custody is to ensure that you will show up for your court date, as well as to mitigate risks of harm to the community in the case of a violent offense.
Potential Problems With Arrest Warrants
There can be several problems with arrest warrants, and a skilled criminal defense attorney can identify such issues and use them to your benefit whenever possible. For example, if a warrant was not valid under the law, a lawyer can argue that your arrest was in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights and, therefore, any evidence stemming from your arrest—such as a confession—should be suppressed in your case. An arrest warrant can be invalid for many reasons, including:
- The officers provided false information on which the judge relied
- There was not enough substantiating information or facts to constitute probable cause
- The party who signed the warrant was not a “neutral and detached magistrate,” as required by the Supreme Court
- The warrant was overly broad and did not adequately detail which specific persons the police could arrest under the warrant
Another common issue with arrest warrants is that the bail specified in the warrant may be excessive under the circumstances. It is critical to have an attorney review your bail so they can argue for a fair amount at a bail hearing as soon as possible after your arrest.
Bail—otherwise known as bond—is an amount of money that someone must pay in order for police to release the arrestee from custody. The purpose of setting a bond is to guarantee that the arrestee will appear in court on the specified hearing or trial date. Generally speaking, the amount of the bond the judge sets must be proportionate to the crime that the arrestee allegedly committed. When setting the amount of the bond, the judge will typically consider the following:
- Whether the arrestee faces charges of a felony crime or a misdemeanor crime
- Whether the arrestee faces charges of a crime of violence, such as a homicide or certain types of assault
- Whether the arrestee is already on probation or parole
- Whether the arrestee has any court dates coming up and/or has any other criminal cases that are currently pending in the court system
- Whether the arrestee has a past criminal record and the nature of past offenses
- Whether the arrestee has been convicted of the same offense before
- Whether the arrestee has a history of failing to appear for court or is otherwise a potential flight risk
- Whether the arrestee poses a potential danger to the community-at-large if he or she is released from custody
- The potential penalties for the charged crime upon conviction
If the judge decides to set a bond, there are various types of bond that he or she could set. Those include the following:
- Cash bail – This means the arrestee typically has to satisfy the bond by posting the funds in cash or via certified check
- Property – In these cases, the arrestee can use property as collateral if the property has enough equity to satisfy the amount of the bail bond
- Percentage to a bail bondsman – The arrestee (or someone else on the arrestee’s behalf) must contact a bail bondsman to post the bond on the arrestee’s behalf. The arrestee must also pay the bondsman’s fee, which typically ranges from one to ten percent of the total amount of the bond. For example, if the judge sets a $25,000 bail bond. The bondsman’s fee could range anywhere from $250 (one percent of the total amount) to $2,500 (ten percent of the total amount). Some bail bondsmen may also be willing to work out a payment plan with the arrestee.
When dealing with bail bondsmen, it is usually best to shop around and see what different bondsmen are charging. You should then compare fees prior to making your decision.
In other circumstances, the judge will opt to issue an arrest warrant without setting a bond. This is common if the arrestee faces allegations of a minor crime (such as petty theft) and/or if the arrestee has never been arrested before, does not pose a serious threat to public safety, or does not have a remarkable criminal record.
In the event that the bond amount is excessive or is more than what you can afford, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., can file a motion with the court to try and convince the judge to lower the amount of your bail bond. If the judge decides to grant the motion, you will need to post the lower bond amount for your release, or a judge may even release you on your own recognizance, which means there will no longer be a required bond.
Also, remember that if police officers arrest you on a warrant, you have the right to remain silent and not answer police questions, as well as the right to call an attorney right away. You should never hesitate to exercise these rights, as it is almost always in your best interest, and our lawyers are ready to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If authorities release you from jail with a summons or you receive a summons for a court date, the court can issue a bench warrant if you miss your hearing. Courts can issue bench warrants any time an individual is in contempt of the court, and a warrant may apply to either criminal and civil court proceedings. If you fail to comply with a court order, you could have a bench warrant and not even realize it. For instance, many people unknowingly have bench warrants issued when they fail to pay child support for a certain period of time.
If there is a bench warrant issued against you, police can arrest you on the spot they pull you over. When you are subject to a traffic stop or otherwise come into contact with police, they can see on your record that you have a bench warrant and trust us, they will not hesitate to act on that warrant. Remember, after an arrest, always call a defense attorney as soon as possible.
One of the primary reasons for bench warrants is the failure to appear in court. If you receive a traffic ticket and fail to pay it or show up to your court date, you can have a bench warrant issued no matter how seemingly minor the original ticket was. Additionally, many people who receive a criminal court summons may think if they ignore the matter, it will go away. This is definitely not the case, as the situation will only escalate to an active warrant issued for your arrest. Instead of forgetting about a ticket or trying to hide from a criminal charge, call our defense attorneys immediately so they can begin handling your case for you.
Protect Yourself by Calling Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Many times, officers arrest people under conditions that were not legally warranted, which can be extremely valuable to your defense if this happens to you. In order to determine if this is the case, you need to have a DuPage criminal defense attorney on your side as soon as possible.
At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we understand the potential consequences that arise when an arrest warrant or a bench warrant is defective or invalid. Our experienced litigators can examine the face of the warrant and can raise all of the necessary legal challenges in the courtroom. We can also file all of the necessary pre-trial motions in order to challenge the validity of a warrant. Finally, we can try to convince the court to lower the amount of the bail on your criminal case or to release you on your own recognizance.
Contact Martin & Kent, L.L.C., today using our 24-hour toll-free hotline at (630) 474-8000! We look forward to speaking with you and working on your defense.
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