Having a warrant for your arrest is scary; but it isn’t going to go away on its own. Do nothing… and it is only a matter of time before it catches up with you. Turning yourself in is one way to take care of a warrant, but it is not necessarily the best way to handle all warrants. So, before you go turn yourself in, here are some things you need to know and consider.
#1 What type of warrant is it?
There are different types of warrants. Knowing what type of warrant will help to determine the best way to deal with it.
If there is a warrant for your arrest, it is most likely either a cost warrant or a bench warrant.
Cost warrants (AKA Green Warrants or Rule 8 Warrants) are all about money, money that you owe the court. It might be due to a ticket that wasn’t paid, or other fines and costs that have not been paid.
Some jurisdictions will allow you to come in on your own to either pay the fines owed or set up a payment plan. Other jurisdictions will require that you put up a cash bond or have a bondsman post a bond guaranteeing that you will return for court.
Bench warrants are issued by a judge when a defendant fails to appear for court. Bench Warrants can also be issued when there is probable cause shown that a crime has been committed, or when new charges have been filed against a defendant.
Sometimes the judge will set a bond amount on the bench warrant. If a bond has not been set, you will have to go before a judge before a bond can be posted. It is important to consult an attorney and a bail bondsman to determine what options are available.
#2 What am I being charged with?
The warrant will usually specify what you have been charged with. If you are in Oklahoma, you can search www.oscn.net for any cases that have been filed in participating county courts. You can also ask a bondsman to call the Sheriff’s department to see what the warrant is for.
#3 Will you need an attorney?
When charged with a Felony or Misdemeanor, you will likely be required by the court to have an attorney. That is not a bad thing. An attorney can walk you through the court process, protect your rights, give advice, and represent you in front of the District Attorney and the Judge.
Most municipal or city courts do not require that you have an attorney, but you do still have the right to have one if you want one. An attorney can be present during the proceedings, and can assist in later getting the charges expunged, if appropriate in your case.
If you are not sure if you will need an attorney, you can ask the judge when you go in for arraignment. The judge will tell you if one is required in your case.
Note: If your case requires that you hire an attorney, we recommend that you talk to several to find the right one for you and your situation. Most attorneys will offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Click here to learn more about finding an attorney.
#4 Can you get a Public Defender?
That depends on your financial situation. Public defenders are appointed by the court for defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney. To apply for a Public Defender, you will need to complete an application requesting a PD for your case.
There is generally a small fee required to apply. Paying the fee and filling out the application does not guarantee that you will get a Public Defender. A hearing will be held, and the court will review your application and determine if you will be appointed a PD.
It is important to know that making bond creates a presumption that you are financially able to hire a private attorney. This presumption does not mean that you cannot get a public defender; it simply means that you must demonstrate financial need to the judge before he or she will appoint a public defender for you.
If, for example, you are unable to work due to a disability and your only source of income is disability income, and you didn’t pay for the bond, a judge may agree that you are unable to afford to hire a private attorney.
#5 Can I post a bond?
Yes, once a bond has been set. Most warrants will specify the amount of the bond. If a bond amount is not set on the warrant, it may mean that you will have to see a judge before you can bond out.
If the bond amount is unreasonably high, your attorney can file a motion for a bond reduction. At the hearing, the judge may look at several different factors. These factors include your criminal record, what the crime was, the likelihood of you returning to court, and any threat you may pose to the community if released.
In the case of cost warrants, some jurisdictions will allow you to post a partial cash bond with the court. The court will then put you back on a payment plan.
#6 How much will it cost?
The amount a bondsman charges to post your bond is based on the bond amount. In most cases, a bondsman will charge 10% of the bond amount. In the case of small bonds, bondsman will have a minimum rate they charge, rather than a percentage of the bond. Remember, bail bondsmen do not determine the amount of a person’s bond, that is set by the court holding them.
#7 Do I have to go to jail to clear my warrant?
Many warrants can be cleared without you having to go to jail. Jurisdictions vary though, so for example, how Oklahoma County does it is different than how Cleveland County does it. Before you go turn yourself in at the jail, it is very important to discuss your situation with an attorney and a good bondsman. Even if you do decide to turn yourself in, it is easier to coordinate your bondsman and attorney when you are not locked up.
#8 How should I get started?
If have a warrant (or think you might) and you are in Central Oklahoma, start by contacting Rodney’s Bail Bonds. Rodney is a licensed Professional Bail Bond Agent that has helped hundreds of people in your situation. In most cases, Rodney can keep you out of jail, or get you out as quick as possible. He is professional and discreet. Best of all, there is no obligation to call and discuss your situation with him. Check out the FAQ and Warrant sections of his website for lots of additional information. Click here to call Rodney!
Rodney Floyd is a Professional bondsman licensed to write bail in the State of Oklahoma. Rodney is not an attorney, and the information in this post is not intended to be legal advise. You should discuss your specific situation with an attorney. If you are in Central Oklahoma and looking for information about bail bonds, go to www.RodneyOKCBailBonds.com. We will be happy to help you get the answers you are looking for. Rodney’s Bail Bonds is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When the unexpected happens, call Rodney at 405-205-0603.