What are arrest warrants and how do they work in Arizona?

Maricopa County courts, and others throughout Arizona, frequently issue warrants for people’s arrests. Many have heard of such warrants, however, few understand what it means if one is issued for them. It is important for people to be familiar with arrest warrants are and how they work to help ensure their rights are upheld should they ever find themselves the subject of a criminal investigation.

Sometimes people are not in custody when an indictment comes down, or a complaint is lodged, against them. In these cases, judges will often issue a warrant for a person’s arrest. According to the Arizona Supreme Court, arrest warrants inform law enforcement officers that a person should be taken into custody when he or she is located. Depending on the circumstances, warrants may be for in state arrests only, or they may be national. If a person is arrested outside of the state on an Arizona warrant, he or she will generally be brought back to face charges.

Once they have been issued, arrest warrants remain active until they are dealt with. As such, people cannot simply wait it out and lay low until after they are in the clear. The City of Tempe’s website points out that arrest warrants may be cancelled by paying the bond set by a judge. In certain cases, such as when new evidence has arrived that suggests a person’s innocence or after a person makes a court appearance, judges may also cancel warrants.

Whether minor, serious or somewhere in between, criminal charges can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. For that reason, those who have been charged with a criminal offense may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights and options, and help them to develop a strong criminal defense.