A warrant for arrest is an official order which gives the police or another law enforcement officer the powers to arrest or search a named offender. Warrants can be issued for various matters, however arrest warrants are specifically issued for criminal matters. Once an authorised officer has issued and authorised the warrant, then police will attempt to locate you and detain you in police custody. Police do not necessarily need a warrant to arrest you, but they do need a search warrant to be able to search you or your property.
The most common situation in which warrants for arrest are issued are when a defendant does not attend court on the court date.
If you have been issued a warrant for arrest, you should seek legal advice immediately.
What Is a Warrant For Arrest?
A warrant for arrest is a warrant issued by a registrar or another judicial official to authorise police with the powers to arrest a named suspect before a criminal matter is brought to court and detain them in custody. A warrant for arrest also grants police officials with the power to search you or your property, as well as being able to confiscate any relevant objects which are found in the search. If an arrest warrant is issued whilst on bail, you can be charged with a further offence of breaching bail conditions.
Warrants for arrest are generally issued when there is reason to believe that a suspect or offender will not attend court or if the magistrate believes that there are substantial reasons to do so.
An arrest warrant can be revoked by a Judge, Magistrate or another authorised officer if it is of the opinion that it is deemed appropriate to do so.
Police are not able to issue a warrant for arrest, however, are still able to arrest an individual if they are directly caught committing an offence.
Types of Warrants for Arrest
There are different types of arrest warrants, each containing its own rulings and conditions for being issued.
Pre Court Warrant for Arrest
At any time after it is found that an offender is deemed to be convicted guilty of an offence, the court may issue a pre-court warrant for the offender’s arrest. They can also be issued if an offender has been refused bail for an indictable offence.
When it is deemed difficult for police to locate a suspect for their charge, the Magistrate or another legal official may issue a warrant for arrest which will allow for the police to be authorised for being able to arrest and search the said suspect when found.
Warrant for Arrest Following a Failure to Appear at Court
An arrest warrant can be issued when a defendant has failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing.
Following the Criminal Procedure Act, if an accused defendant is not present and has failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing, and there are no substantial reasons to have done so, a magistrate may issue a warrant for arrest to arrest the absent defendant.
If an offender is on bail and has failed to meet the conditions of their bail which was stated during the criminal proceedings, then an arrest warrant will be issued and you may be refused bail.
Warrant for Arrest Following a Breach of Bond
An offender who is on a Good Behaviour Bond is given certain conditions and is required to be of good behaviour for a given period that is deemed fit by the court. If an offender is currently on a Good Behaviour Bond and they have committed a criminal offence (not a traffic offence) or made an action which the court determines to breach the given condition of the Good Behaviour Bond, they may decide to revoke bond.
Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, if the court has decided to revoke the bond, they may choose to either:
- Issue a warrant for arrest and the offender will be called back to court to be resentenced for the offence.
- Issue an Intensive Correction Order
Warrant for Arrest in Relation to AVO Proceedings
An AVO, also known as “Apprehended Violence Order” is a court order designed to protect victims of domestic and/or personal violence from any further abuse or violence. AVO’s restrict or the person that is alleged of causing abuse or violence from being able to contact the protected person.
AVOs can fall under two categories:
- Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (AVDO) – protection against an individual whom he or she has had a domestic relationship with.
- Apprehended Personal Violence Order (AVPO) – protection against an individual who is not necessarily in a personal relationship with the victim.
If a file for an AVO is made and an authorised officer deems that it necessary in regard to the potential victim, a warrant for arrest can be issued for an offender. Similarly, if it is apparent that there has been a breach of the order, the offender may be charged with a criminal offence.
Warrant for Arrest in Relation to Correction of Sentence
If the court has decided to reopen court proceedings for the correction of a given sentence, they may decide for the revocation or imposition of a penalty that is required to be imposed by law.
If the court has decided to impose the penalty that is required by criminal law, they may call upon the defendant for a summons. If said defendant fails to appear at the scheduled court summons, they may issue a warrant for said defendant’s arrest.
Warrant for Arrest of Witness in Proceedings
An individual who has been summoned or requested to attend a court proceeding for a subpoena may be issued an arrest warrant if said person fails to comply and has no just or reasonable excuse.
They may also be ordered to compensate another party’s legal costs.
Depending on your reasoning for objecting to a subpoena, you may be able to explain your reason by sending a notice to the court. It is recommended that you seek legal advice if you are wanting to object to a subpoena.
What is a Bench Warrant?
A Bench Warrant is a type of arrest warrant that is usually issued when a defendant or suspect has failed to appear for a required court summons. Bench warrants are issued “on the bench” by a judge or magistrate and call for the immediate arrest of a suspect so that they can be brought forth to the court. They are not issued as a result of a criminal offence; however, it can give rise to a criminal charge.
A Bench warrant when issued, is generally assigned a bond amount.
The Difference Between a Bench Warrant and an Arrest Warrant
A bench warrant ultimately serves the same purpose as an arrest warrant. However, there are key differences.
- An arrest warrant is issued to arrest a named suspect or offender before a criminal matter is brought to court and detain them in custody.
- A Bench warrant is issued to arrest when a suspect or offender has failed to appear for a required court summoning. Bench warrants are not necessarily issued as a result of a criminal offence.
Who can Issue a Warrant for Arrest?
A warrant for arrest can only be issued by officials such as Registrars, Magistrates and Judges. However certain offences can only have arrest warrants issued by certain officials as shown below:
|Type Of Offence||Official that can issue warrant|
|Pre-Court Warrant||Magistrate or Registrar|
|Warrant for Arrest Following a Failure to Appear at Court||Magistrate or Judge|
|Warrant for Arrest Following a Breach of Good Behaviour Bond||Magistrate or Judge|
|Warrant for Arrest in Relation to AVO Proceedings||Magistrate or Registrar|
|Warrant for Arrest in Relation to Correction of Sentence||Magistrate, Registrar or Judge|
|Warrant for Arrest of Witness in Proceedings||Magistrate or Registrar|
|Bench Warrant||Magistrate, Registrar or Judge|
What Happens Once a Warrant for Arrest is Issued?
Once a warrant for arrest has been issued for a suspect, police officers will then locate said suspect, arrest them and then proceed to detain them in police custody until the court date.
If you are presented with a warrant by a police officer, do not attempt to argue or evade them as this could cause further criminal offences to arise.
Police Warrant Checks: Do Arrest Warrants show up in Police Checks?
Warrants for arrest may appear on a police or background check depending on the type or severity of crime that it was issued for. However, it should be noted that a warrant for arrest is issued to give police the authority to arrest a suspect and is not used as conclusive proof of guilt for an offence.
However, if an arrest warrant has led to the conviction of a suspect following a court hearing, then it will appear on a police check.
How To Know If There Is A Warrant For A Person’s Arrest
How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant
Before you do anything, it is recommended that you do so once you have sought adequate legal advice. Following this:
If you’re wanting to find out whether or not you have an outstanding arrest warrant against you or a family member, contact your local court. You can also enquire with your local police station, though in the case that there is indeed an arrest warrant issued on your name, you’ll likely be immediately arrested and taken into custody.
What To Do If There Is A Warrant Out For Arrest For You Or A Family Member
Although it may sound obvious, if you are confronted with an arrest warrant or realise that there is one issued against you, first make sure that it consists of the correct details of yourself or your address.
Do not argue with the police or resist arrest as you can be charged with the offence of resisting and obstructing against police. Similarly, do not say or do anything that could possibly put you in a worse situation as anything can and will be used against you as potential evidence.
It is absolutely critical that you seek legal assistance immediately.
If you believe that you require legal assistance and need help, please feel free to reach out and contact us! Call Sydney’s most trusted criminal defence lawyers, Ly Lawyers on 1300 595 299. We’re here for you 24/7.