The Three Types of Warrants in Arizona

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The Three Types of Warrants in Arizona

Many people are familiar with the concept of warrants from movies and crime dramas, but few understand how warrants actually work. You’ve probably heard phrases like “come back with a search warrant” or “I have a warrant for your arrest,” but what exactly is a warrant? How does a police officer get one? 

There are three different types of warrants in Arizona: search warrants, arrest warrants, and bench warrants. This quick guide will explain each type in more detail, as well as how warrants are issued and enforced. 

What Is a Warrant? 

A warrant is a legal document issued by a government entity that gives law enforcement the power to carry out a specific action related to the administration of justice. In Arizona, there are three different types: search warrants, arrest warrants, and bench warrants.

Search Warrants 

These warrants are court orders that authorize law enforcement to search a private location like a home or place of business, a person, a personal vehicle, and even a phone or computer, to look for evidence of a crime. Search warrants also give law enforcement officers the right to confiscate any evidence that they may find. 

Arrest Warrants 

An arrest warrant is issued by a judge after being presented with probable cause that a person was involved in a crime. This type of warrant allows law enforcement officers who did not make an arrest on the scene to go back later and arrest or detain a person of interest. 

Bench Warrants 

When a person fails to show up for court, does not pay their fines, or refuses to pay their child support a judge may issue a bench warrant. These warrants are not issued in relation to a crime, and often jail time only needs to be served if there is not a valid reason for the missed court time or late payment.

Who Can Give Out and Enforce Warrants?

Warrants can only be issued by a court. That means that a judge must sign off on the warrant before law enforcement can put it into action. The only ones allowed to enforce a warrant are police officers. 

When a warrant is being enforced or responded to, there are several ways it can be done. An officer can be responsible for locating a person and bringing them in, or a person can voluntarily turn themselves in. They can also voluntarily turn in warranted personal property like a phone or computer.

What Information Should a Warrant Have? 

The information you will find on a warrant depends solely on the type of warrant issued. For example, a search warrant will have information about the locations to search while an arrest warrant will be focused on a person. But no matter what type of warrant has been issued, you should always receive a copy when it is being enforced. 

A Warrant of Any Kind Warrants a Lawyer

Being faced with a warrant can be daunting. The most important thing to remember is your first call should be to your lawyer. It is important to have a lawyer review any issued warrants. The information included on the warrant is very specific, and if any of it is inaccurate, then it can be used as evidence to help your case. 

Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona justice system. A commitment to clients and a track record of success make Coolidge Law Firm the right choice if you need a certified criminal attorney. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/15/24).Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash.