An arrest warrant is a legal document signed by a judge that authorizes law enforcement officials to take people into custody. Judges issue arrest warrants when they find probable cause to believe that a specific person has committed a crime. Probable cause normally is based on a written affidavit by a law enforcement officer or another person making the complaint.
If the judge issues an arrest warrant, law enforcement officers then serve the warrant on the person named in the warrant and take them into custody. Arrest warrants are good throughout the entire state of Texas. These warrants must contain the name of the person, a reasonable description of the person, the offense of which the person is accused, and the judge’s signature.
In some cases, judges will opt to issue a court summons instead of a warrant. A summons does not allow police officers to take people into custody. Rather, the individuals simply have a summons to appear in court on a particulate date and time.
Police officers also do not need to have an arrest warrant signed by a judge in all cases to arrest a person. Law enforcement authorities may arrest people when they:
- Observe them committing a crime
- Have probable cause that a person has committed a felony and is trying to escape
- Have probable cause than an assault has occurred and a victim is still in danger
- Receive a voluntary statement from individuals stating that they have committed a felony
Other circumstances that can result in warrantless arrests are those in which police officers have probable cause that a person has committed an offense that violates a protective order or recover stolen property that they believe a person has stolen. Various other situations exist that may also justify a warrantless arrest.
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Our goal is to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys.