Warrant Check List

New warrant issued?

Dealing with a criminal charge is something many of us have to go through at one time or another. Depending on the crime, the stress can seem unbearable and once that warrant comes out it's important you do your best to keep calm and focus on getting this taken care ASAP. Chances the warrant will just disappear are not in your favor, sure you can beat the charge later in court but that will take months. The best rule to go by is to prepare for the worse. 

Always prepare for the worse, hope for the best

1. Lawyer Up!  Search Google for a local criminal lawyer and give them a call. Explain your situation and ask what they recommend you do. Lawyers are in the business to make money so they will naturally offer to set up a appointment or explain their fees, but will also usually be able to give you lots of valuable information such as potential bond amount and sentences judges in that state/county usually hand out in these types of cases.

Call a local lawyer and ask for advise on what you should do next, they may give you the sales pitch but a simple phone consultation will not cost you anything and can provide valuable information

2. Bond if arrested, this is the amount of money the county or state would set to allow your release. If your crime is minor and this is your first time getting in trouble as a adult, there is a chance you will be released on a personal recognizance or own recognizance bond, which means you would just have to sign and agree to goto court to get out without having to pay anything.

If this is a felony, you would definitely want to ensure you have enough money to cover the bond amount before turning yourself in, however if this is your first criminal charge as a adult, even a Felony can be released with no money needed.

Most people can't afford to pay the entire bail amount which, depending on the crime can be in the thousands. Luckly we have bondsmen (and women) that have a agreement with the local sheriff or jail and have the power to release you on promise to the jail that they pay the entire amount if you fail to appear to any of your court hearings. Most counties have a set fee of 10-15% so if your bail amount is say $10,000, you would pay the bondsmen $1,000 or $1,500.

Now depending on the bondsmen, they will usually work with you if you don't have enough to cover it all. If you have a car title or property to put up, or have a good job you have been at for a while or where your employer will  vouch for you, most bondsmen are very understanding and are more then happy to help you -- just don't cross them! Find a bondsmen before you turn yourself in, call every single one, explain your situation and be as nice as you can be, trust me you will feel a lot better.

3. Shut UP! Don't talk to anyone about this other then your lawyer. When you are first confronted, you will feel the need to try and talk ourself out of it, and the police or detectives actually make it seem like that is a posiablity. If you already have a warrant, chances are you will not be getting off that easy, at least not outside of a courtroom. They know you're scared and will use that against you, be nice to them but don't talk about anything, not even small talk -- again they are highly trained and do this daily, don't make things worse for yourself.

4. Minor Charge ? Do you even need a lawyer? You will be asked at the first bond hearing if you can afford a lawyer. If not you will also probaly have to fill out some type of finacinal discalimer form. If you are found guilty you have to pay for your court apointed lawyer (usually a few hundred dollars) If you can afford your own lawyer, expect to pay about $1,000 for a minor mistdeamor and several thousand for a Felony (Felonys mean multiple court hearing meaning more money for each) 

That being said, if you really are guilty and the crime is minor, you may just want to represent yourself to save some money (for the fines you will get!) 

5. Be Nice to everyone, not just the cops! If you are placed in custody it's very important you stay calm, don't show fear and be nice to everyone you come in contact with, but not overly friendly.

6. No Delays! Get your affairs in order, bond arranged and as many co signers behind you as you can get and turn yourself in ASAP. Things look much better to both the bondsman and bond hearing judge if you turn yourself in vs. getting picked up on the street. 

7. Should you run? No! Even if you may be facing years in jail, being on the run is not worth it. Chances are they will find you and then you will be facing even more charges.