Arrest warrants are often issued by judges in new cases for probation issues or failing to comply with court orders. While you are typically notified of an arrest warrant via telephone or mail, it is not uncommon to hear about it first “through the grapevine.” Having an open warrant can be stressful (especially if it is your first one, or you are wrongly accused), and it is best to turn yourself in before an arrest is made.
Meet with a lawyer. Be sure to consider the consequences and details of your case before contacting law enforcement. It may be in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney first, to review your case, explain possible options and outcomes, as well as develop a plan of action on how to proceed. Doing this first, may allow more time to negotiate and gather bail money, as well as prepare statements. And chances are, you will need an attorney if the case proceeds.
Present yourself appropriately. The best days to turn yourself in are Tuesday-Thursday, when processing times are quicker and judges availability is more flexible. Bring an official photo ID or other documents for identification, as well as cash or cards if bail is necessary. Dress in clean and comfortable clothes, avoiding belts and drawstrings if possible. Cell phones will be confiscated, so be sure to write down or memorize important numbers. Typically, reading glasses and medications are allowed, but check with the jail’s medical policies. Weapons, tobacco products, and contraband will be taken upon arrest, so leave those items at home.
Be aware of your Miranda Rights. When you turn yourself in and are arrested, you will be read your Miranda Rights. These statements allow you to remain silent for any questions other than your name, age, and date of birth from the arresting officer. If you do speak with law enforcement, it implies you are waiving your right, and anything you say can be used against you in court. Ask for your attorney to be present for any further questioning if you wish to exercise your right to remain silent.