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Do I Have A Warrant For My Arrest?

By Daniel T. Geherin

Do I Have A Warrant For My Arrest?

Looking for the best criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor?

As courts throughout Michigan close during the Emergency Order, people who were recently arrested or contacted by police are left wondering if now there’s a warrant for their arrest, and if so, how to take care of it.  Unable to contact anyone in the court system, their minds start to draft to scary places: 

“Will the police come and arrest me in my home?”
“Will I be taken to jail, where the threat of Coronavirus seems particularly high?”
“If there are no open courts, how can I take care of this warrant now while I have time?”

Dan Geherin, owner of the Geherin Law Group PLLC in Ann Arbor, is an ex-prosecutor and board-certified criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor who exclusively handles cases with a criminal justice element.  As part of his practice, Dan represents hundreds of clients charged with criminal offenses each year.  Every day, Dan takes calls from clients who wonder whether there’s a warrant for their arrest, and if so, how to handle that warrant in as painless a way possible. 

In Michigan, warrants come in several forms:

  • Bench Warrants:
    These warrants are executed by Judges for a variety of reasons, including failure to appear in court and/or failure to comply with a judicial order. 
  • Arrest Warrants:
    These warrants are requested by police agencies/prosecutors and are authorized by magistrates or judges following a “swearing out” of information. 
  • Immediate Warrants: 
    These warrants can be requested by prosecutors at the time criminal charges are authorized, meaning a person is subject to arrest as soon as the police enter the warrant into the law-enforcement identification network (LEIN). 
  • Show Cause Warrants:
    These are typically issued, but held, by probation agents or judges following a person’s failure to comply with bond or probation requirements.  They often give the person a chance to appear in court to “show cause” why he/she should not be held in contempt or violation of order. 

Dan Geherin - one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Ann Arbor

The type of warrant often hinges on the type of case for which it’s sought.  For instance, for most misdemeanor offenses (including drunk driving), police will release a person from the station and seek charges through a prosecutor’s office.  When the prosecutor’s office authorizes most misdemeanor offenses, they will not typically not ask for a warrant but rather for notification through the court system for an Arraignment.  However, in counties like Washtenaw, prosecutors are increasingly asking for warrants on misdemeanor cases in which there is an element of violence (such as domestic violence), and even on drunk driving cases in which the blood alcohol level is high at arrest. 

For most felony offense, the exact opposite is true:  Prosecutors will request an arrest warrant upon authorization of charges, and the arrest warrant will almost always go directly into LEIN.  This will allow police agencies to come out looking for the person, at home, at work or wherever.  If there’s a valid arrest warrant, the police have unfettered right to execute that warrant how and when they see fit.  Only if the arrestee has knowledge of the warrant and turns him/herself in might the dreaded arrest warrant be avoided. 

Generally speaking, these warrants might go into the system several days to several months after an arrest or incident.  It is important, then, that the person either vigilantly checks with the appropriate police agency, prosecutor’s office, or court, or hires a private attorney like Dan and his team at GLGMichigan to check for them.  After all, the pain and anxiety of an arrest are bad enough; compounding that with a second warrant execution (oftentimes in the middle of the night, or at work, or on the weekend) can and should be avoided if possible. 

Often, the only way a person can find out if there’s a warrant is to check with the arresting agency or the prosecutor’s office.  And, the public often has a difficult time getting through to these agencies.  So, a private attorney should be able to check and extend all resources in an effort to help clients clear up warrants.  In some instances, a court might waive, cancel or combine the Warrant when an Attorney files an Appearance on a defendant’s behalf.  This is especially common for misdemeanor cases.   This can save a client from having to come to court, and often reduces the bond/bail exposure and risk of incarceration.  Again, this is yet another strong reason to retain a criminal defense attorney as early in the investigation as possible.

For questions about Warrants (or in general) in any criminal case in Ann Arbor or throughout Washtenaw County, please contact Dan Geherin and his team at GLG Michigan.  Schedule online, or call 24/7 (734) 263-2780.

GLG Michigan:  Handling criminal cases—from investigation through trial—in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and throughout Southeastern Michigan.