In California, the police can arrest you for committing a crime with or without a warrant.1 If you get arrested without a warrant, it is most likely because you allegedly committed a crime in an officer’s presence (a California DUI, for example).2 If, perhaps after an investigation, an officer suspects that you committed a crime, the officer can go to a judge and ask that an arrest warrant be issued.
Do you know or think you have an active warrant for your arrest in California? If so, contact us immediately and see our page on conducting a California warrant search. We can determine
- whether there is a warrant,
- what it is for, and
- the amount of bail.
Sometimes we can take you directly to court and get the arrest warrant cleared without you having to spend time in jail.
We assist clients with arrest warrants throughout the state, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Diego, Ventura, Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside.
In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding issuing, executing, and clearing arrest warrants. The questions we will answer include:
- 1. What is an Arrest Warrant?
- 2. Who can Issue an Arrest Warrant?
- 3. How do I know if I have a warrant for my arrest?
- 4. What Measures Can Police Take to Execute an Arrest Warrant?
- 5. What Happens to My California Arrest Warrant if I Leave the State or Country?
- 6. Will Bail be Set if I Have an Arrest Warrant?
- 7. Can an Attorney Prevent My Arrest Warrant from Being Issued?
- 8. Can I Turn Myself in Directly to the Court?
- 9. How Do I Fight an Illegal Arrest Warrant?
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us. Also visit our related pages on California Bench Warrants, California Search Warrants and the Use of Police Informants.
1. What is A California Arrest Warrant?
A California arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest and detain you if they suspect you of committing a crime outside of an officer’s presence.3
Judges issue arrest warrants based on:
- evidence presented to them by a peace officer and/or a District Attorney4, or
- following a grand jury indictment.
In order to be valid, a California arrest warrant must include:
- the name of the defendant,
- the crime which he/she is accused of committing,
- the time of issuance,
- the city or county of issuance,
- the signature and title of the judge, and
- the name of the court.5
Arrest warrants v. other types of warrants
|Arrest warrant||Bench warrant||Search warrant|
|Purpose||To arrest you for committing a crime||To arrest you for defying court orders||To search a location to seize evidence of a crime|
|Party requesting the warrant||Law enforcement||Judge or law enforcement||Law enforcement|
|Basis for issuance||Probable cause that you committed a crime||Your failure to comply with court orders||Probable cause that there is evidence of a crime at a specified location|
|Timeframe of issuance||Usually at the beginning of a criminal case||Anytime during an open case||Usually at the beginning of a criminal case|
2. Who can Issue a California Arrest Warrant?
A judge…by one of two ways.
California Arrest Warrants Issued After a Declaration
The first is based on the declaration of an officer and/or D.A. When a law enforcement officer suspects that you committed a crime (outside of their presence), the officer will attempt to obtain an arrest warrant.
In order to obtain a warrant, the officer must demonstrate “probable cause” that you committed a crime.6 “Probable cause” is a legal standard. It means that there is a reasonable belief that criminal activity is taking place. This means that when an officer “pitches” the case to the District Attorney, the officer has a reasonable belief that you committed the offense. An arrest warrant issued before charges are filed is referred to as a Ramey warrant.
If, after reviewing the officer’s evidence, the D.A. also believes that you should be arrested, the D.A. and/or the officer will present the case to the judge for an arrest warrant. If the judge agrees that there is probable cause that (1) a crime was committed, and (2) you committed the alleged offense, the judge will issue the warrant.7
California Arrest Warrants Issued After a Grand Jury Indictment
The second — and the much less common way — for the judge to issue a warrant for your arrest follows an indictment by the grand jury. A grand jury is sometimes convened to determine if there is enough information for a prosecutor to charge you with an offense. If the grand jury finds probable cause to believe that you committed the alleged offense, this triggers an indictment and the judge will likely issue a warrant for your arrest.
Although a judge issues the arrest warrant, law enforcement officers execute the warrant.8
3. How do I know if I have a warrant for my arrest?
People in California can perform a search to determine if there is a warrant out for their arrest.
Note that once a judge issues an arrest warrant, the clerk of court enters it into a particular website (which may differ depending on the facts of a case). A party, then, can perform a search into these websites to see if they are subject to an arrest warrant.
In particular, a person can search either:
- the local sheriff’s website,
- the local court’s website, or
- the website of the Superior Court of California.
A party can also run a criminal background check on themself to see if a warrant is pending.
Further, people in California can always consult with a criminal defense attorney to learn the status of an arrest warrant. A skilled defense lawyer can not only provide information as to the presence of a warrant, but the attorney can also advise a party on the best way to handle the warrant if one exists.
4. What Measures Can Police Take to Execute a California Arrest Warrant?
The most common places for you to be arrested on a warrant are your home or, unfortunately, at your place of work or business.
Arrest Warrants Executed at a Person’s Residence
If police officers attempt to execute a California arrest warrant in your home (and believe they must forcefully do so because you have not opened the door after they announced their presence), they must have probable cause to believe you – as the subject of the warrant – are inside.9 If the police are attempting to arrest a guest in your home, they must have a search warrant to do so.10
The Cops Do Not Need to Bring an Actual Copy of the Arrest Warrant
It should be noted that there is no requirement that the officers executing the warrant have an actual copy of it, as long as they can prove that they were legally informed about its existence.11 This most typically takes place when an officer stops someone for a traffic violation and, after running their driver’s license, learns that the individual has an outstanding warrant.
Following your arrest, you will most likely be handcuffed and taken to jail. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
A Summons in Lieu of an Arrest Warrant
Sometimes the prosecutor will request a summons in lieu of an arrest warrant.12 This usually entails a notice you get in the mail, or “served” on you by a process server, ordering you to appear in court on a future date. The summons gives you the opportunity to appear before the judge without being arrested.
A summons (in lieu of a warrant) may occur if, for example, you do not have any other outstanding warrants and if the alleged felony charge does not involve violence or firearms.13 The other exception applies to certain misdemeanor crimes.
Cite & Release for Some Misdemeanor Offenses
Most misdemeanor offenses fall under the “cite and release” category. If you get cited and released, it means that you do not get arrested and you do not go through a formal booking process (of fingerprinting, booking photos, etc). Rather, you get released just based on a promise that you will appear before the judge on a specific date and time.14
However, if your alleged crime involves
- domestic violence, or
- drunk driving, or…
- if you have another outstanding warrant for your arrest, or are unable to provide satisfactory evidence of your identification,
you will not be cited and released, but instead will get formally arrested.15 It should be noted that this list is only an example (and is by no means exhaustive) of the types of circumstances that may render you ineligible for a cite and release situation.
In any event, you will ultimately appear before the judge who issued your warrant or, at the very least, before a judge in the same county if you are arrested for a felony.16 If you are arrested for a misdemeanor, you will appear before the issuing judge.17
If you are fortunate enough to be summoned or given the notice to appear instead of being taken into custody, be sure to appear before the judge on the date and time stated. If you do not, a California bench warrant will likely be issued for your arrest,18 which may result in
- county jail time or state prison sentence, and/or
- a California driver’s license suspension by the DMV.
The Police Must Execute an Arrest Warrant if Issued by a Judge
Once an officer receives an arrest warrant, the officer must execute it and make an arrest.19 If the officer willfully fails to do so, the officer may be prosecuted for “contempt of court”.20
On a similar note, the warrant must be executed within a reasonable time. If it is not, you may be entitled to a dismissal of the charge(s) on the grounds that your “right to a speedy trial” was violated.
You May get Your Case Dismissed if The Cops Wait Too Long to Arrest You
For example, a Rancho Cucamonga judge issued a warrant for your arrest in 2004 for Penal Code 487 “grand theft”. For whatever reason, police did not arrest you until 2008, despite the fact that you had some intermittent police contact (you received two speeding tickets during that timeframe).
During those years, you continuously lived in San Bernardino, maintained the same job, and held a valid California driver’s license. The police simply made no effort to locate and arrest you.
Based on these facts, you may be entitled to a dismissal of your Penal Code 487 grand theft charges. Your California criminal defense lawyer can bring a motion in court called a “Serna Motion“…which asks the judge to dismiss your case because the police waited too long to arrest you and bring you to court.
If you can prove that you were prejudiced by the amount of time that passed (witnesses’ memories would have likely faded, for example) and that the police/prosecution were mostly to blame for that lapse, your charges would be dismissed.
What Time of Day (or Night) Can Police Execute a California Arrest Warrant?
Certain rules govern what time of day an arrest warrant may be executed. Felony warrants may be executed at any time.21 Misdemeanor warrants, however, may only be executed between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. unless
- the arrest is made in a public place,
- you are already “in custody” on another lawful matter, or
- the judge states on the warrant that it may be executed at any time.22
Once you have been arrested, the state must place you before the judge “without unnecessary delay“, which typically means within 48 hours of your arrest (excluding Sundays and holidays)…although more exceptions may apply.23
If you get arrested in a county other than the one issuing the arrest warrant
Different procedures apply if you get arrested in a county other than the one in which your arrest warrant was issued.
Regardless of whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the arresting officer must, without unnecessary delay, inform you of your right to be placed before a judge in the county in which you were arrested.24
If you choose that option, your bail will be the amount that was specified in your arrest warrant. If you post bail, you will then be directed to appear before the judge who issued your warrant on a certain date within 25 days.
- If your felony arrest warrant does not specify bail, or
- if you do not post bail, or
- if you do not demand to appear before a judge in the county in which you were arrested,
you will be transported to the county in which your warrant was issued within a maximum of five court days.
All of the above information pertains to misdemeanor arrest warrants as well. The major difference between felony and misdemeanor procedures lies in bail. If you choose to be placed before a judge in the county in which you were arrested, and no bail is specified in the warrant, that judge is permitted to set and accept your bail.25
5. What Happens to My California Arrest Warrant if I Leave the State or Country?
If you know that you are being sought by the courts and you flee, you will be considered a “fugitive from justice”. This is the case even if you think that you are innocent of any and all charges. Fugitives are subject to extradition regardless of why they left the state.
Extradition, in its simplest terms, is the process of transporting a fugitive from their location of hiding back to the state or country in which their alleged offense was committed. Basically, this means that if you run…and are caught…you will not only still face your criminal charges, but will also face an enhanced penalty for fleeing from the court.
On the other hand, if you did not know about your warrant, you may not be considered a fugitive. This may alter when/how you are brought back to California to face your pending charges.
The laws regulating California extradition are complex and technical. Before you can be extradited back to California, you are entitled to a hearing to contest the process.26 Consulting with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in this area is critical to successfully challenging an extradition order.
6. Will Bail be Set if I Have an Arrest Warrant?
Typically, yes. When issuing a California arrest warrant, the judge is supposed to specify your bail on the warrant itself if the charge is a bailable offense.28 There are only a few crimes that preclude bail:
- capital crimes (where you could receive the death penalty),
- felony offenses involving violence or sexual assault (if it is likely that another would be harmed if you were released), or
- felony offenses where you threatened another with great bodily harm (and it is likely that you would carry out that threat if you were released).
If you are not accused of committing one of these crimes, you will be entitled to post bail even if picked up on an arrest warrant. Bail will be set according to the bail schedule in the county in which your warrant is issued.
If you post bail, you will get released. In some cases, your California criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the judge to lower your bail or release you on your own recognizance (otherwise known as an “O.R.” release). An O.R. release means that you don’t have to pay bail as long as you promise to show up to all future court appearances.
Note that people can no longer be incarcerated in California solely because they cannot afford bail. Clear and convincing evidence is required to show that detention is necessary to protect public safety.27
7. Can an Attorney Prevent My Arrest Warrant from Being Issued?
If you are under investigation for a crime, a California warrants defense lawyer can often take measures to try to prevent charges from being filed. For example, we can investigate the case, and marshal up evidence that supports your innocence. We can present our position to the prosecutors, and sometimes dissuade them from ever filing criminal charges. We call this a “pre-file investigation.”
Sometimes the prosecutor still files criminal charges, or charges have already been filed and an arrest warrant issued. Even here, we can still help avoid an embarrassing situation (getting arrested at work, for example). Moreover, we can bring you directly to the court that issued the warrant…and ask the judge to lower bail or grant you an OR release.
Voluntarily appearing before the court has two major benefits: First, it wins you favor with the judge and thus makes it more likely the judge will lower bail or simply release you on a promise to return for future court dates. Second, it saves you the embarrassment of being arrested in front of your family, friends, and/or co-workers.
8. Can I Turn Myself in Directly to the Court?
Yes…but beware. Judges have heard every type of excuse possible…and the fact of the matter is that you already have a strike against you since you are suspected of being a criminal. If you go alone to turn yourself in, you will most likely be immediately taken to jail.
However, criminal defense attorneys who have experience with California warrants know what arguments and evidence are most successful in persuading judges to permit an O.R. release or, at the very least, a reduced bail. In many cases, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to have the warrant cleared before any punishment or penalties attach. This action is commonly referred to as having the warrant “recalled and quashed”.
9. How Do I Fight an Illegal Arrest Warrant?
Unfortunately, most of the laws that regulate warrants involve legal “technicalities” that make it difficult to obtain an outright dismissal of your charges.
That said, if you believe that you have been wrongly arrested on an illegal warrant, or that your arrest warrant was illegally executed, it is possible to have your charges either reduced or dismissed…depending on how much evidence can be excluded from the case.
An illegal arrest or execution will not, in and of themselves, entitle you to a dismissal. For example, if your arrest warrant was issued without a “probable cause declaration”, you could still be held on criminal charges.29
Wrongful Police Conduct Can Help Your Case
However, your California arrest warrants defense attorney would argue that any evidence that was obtained following that illegal arrest should be excluded from trial.30
Similarly, if your warrant was illegally executed (for example, the police arrested you outside of the permissible hours or did not put you before a judge within the required timeframe), your case would not automatically be “thrown out”.
But, if your attorney could convince the judge that the officer’s misconduct was unjust or prejudicial to your case, you would have the leverage to negotiate a more favorable plea bargain.
The bottom line is this — if you can get enough evidence excluded (even if the exclusion is only based on “technicalities”), your chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed increase dramatically.
Writ of Habeas Corpus to Challenge Your Incarceration
There is another challenge known as a “writ of habeas corpus“. If you have been wrongfully arrested (a case of mistaken identity, for example) and taken into custody following the warrant’s execution, your California criminal warrant lawyer may file a writ of habeas corpus on your behalf.
Simply put, this writ alerts the judge that you believe you have been illegally incarcerated…and allows you an advanced opportunity to present evidence to that effect.
Contact Us for Further Help
If you or a loved one is looking to hire an attorney for representation for your criminal case, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group for legal help. Our law firm can provide legal advice in our offices or by phone on your felony- or misdemeanor case. We also defend against restraining order violation charges and appear in DMV hearings on DUI cases.
We have local law offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout the state of California.
Learn about other types of warrants.
For information on Colorado arrest warrants, go to our page on Colorado arrest warrants.
¿Habla español? Visite nuestro sitio Web en español sobre remover las “Órdenes de Detención” en California.
- California Penal Code 836 — Arrest with and without warrant… (“(a) A peace officer may arrest a person in obedience to a warrant, or, pursuant to the authority granted to him or her by Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, without a warrant….”)
- See same — (“(a) A peace officer may arrest a person…without a warrant…whenever any of the following circumstances occur: (1) The officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense in the officer’s presence.”). See also California Vehicle Code 40300.5 — Arrest without warrant (“In addition to the authority to make an arrest without a warrant pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 836 of the Penal Code, a peace officer may, without a warrant, arrest a person when the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person had been driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug….”)
- See California Penal Code sections 813-816 and 1427. See also People v. Robinson (2010) . See also People v. Woodall (. , 2013)
- See same
- California Penal Code 815 — Warrant; contents (“A warrant of arrest shall specify the name of the defendant or, if it is unknown to the magistrate, judge, justice, or other issuing authority, the defendant may be designated therein by any name. It shall also state the time of issuing it, and the city or county where it is issued, and shall be signed by the magistrate, judge, justice, or other issuing authority issuing it with the title of his office and the name of the court or other issuing agency.”). See also California Penal Code 814 — Warrant; form (The warrant, itself, contains the following language, “Complaint on oath having this day been laid before me that the crime of __________ (designating it generally) has been committed.”)
- California Penal Code 817 — Probable cause; declarations; warrants; issuance; form; certificate of service (States that an officer’s probable cause must be declared in a sworn written or oral statement.) See also People v. Sesslin, (1968) 68 Cal.2d 418 (“Article I, section 19 of the California Constitution states that “… no warrant shall issue, but on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.”)
- California Penal Code 813 — Complaints; arrest warrants; summons; issuance (“…if, and only if, the magistrate is satisfied from the complaint that the offense complained of has been committed and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has committed it, the magistrate shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant….”) See also People v. Sesslin, (1968) 68 Cal.2d 418 (“The Commissioner must judge for himself the persuasiveness of the facts relied on by a complaining officer to show probable cause.”)
- California Penal Code 816 — Warrant; direction; execution (“A warrant of arrest shall be directed generally to any peace officer, or to any public officer or employee authorized to serve process where the warrant is for a violation of a statute or ordinance which such person has the duty to enforce, in the state, and may be executed by any of those officers to whom it may be delivered.”)
- California Penal Code 844 — Breaking open door or window to effect arrest; demand for admittance; explanation of purpose (“To make an arrest, a private person, if the offense is a felony, and in all cases a peace officer, may break open the door or window of the house in which the person to be arrested is, or in which they have reasonable grounds for believing the person to be, after having demanded admittance and explained the purpose for which admittance is desired.”)
- People v. Dyke, (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 648 (“However, a homeowner’s Fourth Amendment rights are violated when officers enter his home to arrest a guest pursuant to an arrest warrant. ( Steagald v. United States (1981) 451 U.S. 204, 213-214, 101 S.Ct. 1642, 1648, 68 L.Ed.2d 38.) A search warrant is required under such circumstances to protect the rights of the homeowner. ( Ibid.)”)
- California Penal Code 842 — Exhibition of warrant on request (“An arrest by a peace officer acting under a warrant is lawful even though the officer does not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest, but if the person arrested so requests it, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable.”) See also People v. Sanford, (1968) 265 Cal.App.2d 960 (“Information from official police files or records may be relied on to support an arrest. (People v. Stewart (1961) 189 Cal.App.2d 176, 10 Cal.Rptr. 879.) Officer Fesler was aware of a teletype warrant for defendant’s arrest, and he had also checked defendant’s record at the police department, all of which is information from official channels. Furthermore, the requirement of immediate display of a warrant, with the necessity of possession of the warrant, was abolished by a 1957 amendment to Penal Code section 842.”)
- California Penal Code 813 — Complaints; arrest warrants; summons; issuance (“(a) When a complaint is filed with a magistrate charging a felony originally triable in the superior court of the county in which he or she sits, if, and only if, the magistrate is satisfied from the complaint that the offense complained of has been committed and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has committed it, the magistrate shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant, except that, upon the request of the prosecutor, a summons instead of an arrest warrant shall be issued.”)
- See same (“(e) The prosecutor shall not request the issuance of a summons in lieu of an arrest warrant as provided in this section under any of the following circumstances: (1) The offense charged involves violence. (2) The offense charged involves a firearm. (3) The offense charged involves resisting arrest. (4) There are one or more outstanding arrest warrants for the person. (5) The prosecution of the offense or offenses with which the person is charged, or the prosecution of any other offense or offenses would be jeopardized. (6) There is a reasonable likelihood that the offense or offenses would continue or resume, or that the safety of persons or property would be imminently endangered. (7) There is reason to believe that the person would not appear at the time and place specified in the summons.
- California Penal Code 853.6 — Misdemeanors; release procedures; notice to appear… (“(a) In any case in which a person is arrested for an offense declared to be a misdemeanor, including a violation of any city or county ordinance, and does not demand to be taken before a magistrate, that person shall, instead of being taken before a magistrate, be released according to the procedures set forth by this chapter.”)
- See same (“In any case in which a person is arrested for a misdemeanor violation of a protective court order involving domestic violence, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 13700, or arrested pursuant to a policy, as described in Section 13701, the person shall be taken before a magistrate instead of being released according to the procedures set forth in this chapter, unless the arresting officer determines that there is not a reasonable likelihood that the offense will continue or resume or that the safety of persons or property would be imminently endangered by release of the person arrested…. (i) Whenever any person is arrested by a peace officer for a misdemeanor, that person shall be released according to the procedures set forth by this chapter unless one of the following is a reason for nonrelease, in which case the arresting officer may release the person, or the arresting officer shall indicate, on a form to be established by his or her employing law enforcement agency, which of the following was a reason for the nonrelease: (1) The person arrested was so intoxicated that he or she could have been a danger to himself or herself or to others. (2) The person arrested required medical examination or medical care or was otherwise unable to care for his or her own safety. (3) The person was arrested under one or more of the circumstances listed in Sections 40302 CVC and 40303 of the Vehicle Code. (4) There were one or more outstanding arrest warrants for the person. (5) The person could not provide satisfactory evidence of personal identification. (6) The prosecution of the offense or offenses for which the person was arrested, or the prosecution of any other offense or offenses, would be jeopardized by immediate release of the person arrested. (7) There was a reasonable likelihood that the offense or offenses would continue or resume, or that the safety of persons or property would be imminently endangered by release of the person arrested. (8) The person arrested demanded to be taken before a magistrate or refused to sign the notice to appear. (9) There is reason to believe that the person would not appear at the time and place specified in the notice. The basis for this determination shall be specifically stated.”)
- California Penal Code 814 — Warrant; form (The warrant, itself, contains language from the judge, instructing the arresting officer to bring the defendant… “before me at __________ (naming the place), or in case of my absence or inability to act, before the nearest or most accessible magistrate in this county.”) See also Penal Code 821– Arrest for felony; officer to take defendant before magistrate; arrest in another county; procedure (“If the offense charged is a felony, and the arrest occurs in the county in which the warrant was issued, the officer making the arrest must take the defendant before the magistrate who issued the warrant or some other magistrate of the same county.”) See also Penal Code 821 — Arrest for felony; officer to take defendant before magistrate (“If the offense charged is a felony, and the arrest occurs in the county in which the warrant was issued, the officer making the arrest must take the defendant before the magistrate who issued the warrant or some other magistrate of the same county.”)
- California Penal Code 1427 – (Language in the warrant, itself, states that the defendant shall be brought to the court.)
- See same (“(c) If a defendant has been properly served with a summons and thereafter fails to appear at the designated time and place, a bench warrant for arrest shall issue.”)
- Malone v. Carey, (1936) 17 Cal.App.2d 505 (“Where a warrant valid in form and issued by a court of competent jurisdiction is placed in the hands of an officer for execution, it is his duty without delay to carry out its commands.”)
- Pankewicz v. Jess, (1915) 27 Cal.App. 340 (“The failure to serve a warrant issued by a recorder’s court would be disobedience of the lawful order of the court, and hence contempt thereof, for which the officer so disobeying might be punished as provided by law.”)
- California Penal Code 840 — Time of arrest; felony; misdemeanor (“An arrest for the commission of a felony may be made on any day and at any time of the day or night.”)
- See same (“An arrest for the commission of a misdemeanor or an infraction cannot be made between the hours of 10 o’clock p.m. of any day and 6 o’clock a.m. of the succeeding day, unless…(2) The arrest is made in a public place…(3) The arrest is made when the person is in custody pursuant to another lawful arrest….[or] (4) The arrest is made pursuant to a warrant which, for good cause shown, directs that it may be served at any time of the day or night.”)
- California Penal Code 825 — Appearance before magistrate; unnecessary delay; maximum time… (“(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the defendant shall in all cases be taken before the magistrate without unnecessary delay, and, in any event, within 48 hours after his or her arrest, excluding Sundays and holidays. (2) When the 48 hours prescribed by paragraph (1) expire at a time when the court in which the magistrate is sitting is not in session, that time shall be extended to include the duration of the next court session on the judicial day immediately following. If the 48-hour period expires at a time when the court in which the magistrate is sitting is in session, the arraignment may take place at any time during that session. However, when the defendant’s arrest occurs on a Wednesday after the conclusion of the day’s court session, and if the Wednesday is not a court holiday, the defendant shall be taken before the magistrate not later than the following Friday, if the Friday is not a court holiday.”) See also Government Code; Chapter 1.1 Judicial emergencies; section 68115 (provides that the 48 hour rule may be extended to a maximum of 7 days in a state of emergency resulting from a natural or other disaster.
- All of the information pertaining to out-of-county felony arrest warrants comes from California Penal Code 821 — Arrest for felony; officer to take defendant before magistrate; arrest in another county; procedure (“If the offense charged is a felony, and the arrest occurs in the county in which the warrant was issued, the officer making the arrest must take the defendant before the magistrate who issued the warrant or some other magistrate of the same county. If the defendant is arrested in another county, the officer must, without unnecessary delay, inform the defendant in writing of his right to be taken before a magistrate in that county, note on the warrant that he has so informed defendant, and, upon being required by defendant, take him before a magistrate in that county, who must admit him to bail in the amount specified in the endorsement referred to in Section 815a, and direct the defendant to appear before the court or magistrate by whom the warrant was issued on or before a day certain which shall in no case be more than 25 days after such admittance to bail. If bail be forthwith given, the magistrate shall take the same and endorse thereon a memorandum of the aforesaid order for the appearance of the defendant, or, if the defendant so requires, he may be released on bail set on the warrant by the issuing court, as provided in Section 1269b of this code, without an appearance before a magistrate.If the warrant on which the defendant is arrested in another county does not have bail set thereon, or if the defendant arrested in another county does not require the arresting officer to take him before a magistrate in that county for the purpose of being admitted to bail, or if such defendant, after being admitted to bail, does not forthwith give bail, the arresting officer shall immediately notify the law enforcement agency requesting the arrest in the county in which the warrant was issued that such defendant is in custody, and thereafter such law enforcement agency shall take custody of the defendant within five days, or five court days if the law enforcement agency requesting the arrest is more than 400 miles from the county in which the defendant is held in custody, in the county in which he was arrested and shall take such defendant before the magistrate who issued the warrant, or before some other magistrate of the same county.
- California Penal Code 822 — Arrest for misdemeanor; officer to take defendant before magistrate; bail; direction to appear (“…if no bail is specified, the magistrate may set bail….”). Except in serious or violent felony cases, most arrestees in Los Angeles County will be released without having to pay bail. Learn more in our California bail article.
- Tobin v. Casaus, (1954) 128 Cal.App.2d 588 (“One who, with knowledge that he is being sought pursuant to court process, absents himself or flees, is a fugitive from justice. ( People v. Lee Nam Chin, 166 Cal. 570 [137 P. 917].) That he believes himself to be innocent does not alter the fugitive status, which is achieved by his refusal to submit to judicial process.”). Boag v. Boies, (1972) 455 F.2d 467 (“Both Arizona and California have enacted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (A.R.S. 13-1301 to 13-1328; Cal. Penal Code 1548-1556.2). Section 10 of this Act (A.R.S. 13-1310; Cal. Penal Code 1550.1) provides that a prisoner may not be extradited without first being brought before a magistrate and informed of his rights to a hearing and counsel to contest the extradition
- See In Re. Kenneth Humphrey on Habeas Corpus, (March 25, 2021) 11 Cal. 5th 135.
- California Penal Code 815a — Warrant; endorsement of amount of bail (“At the time of issuing a warrant of arrest, the magistrate shall fix the amount of bail which in his judgment in accordance with the provisions of [California Penal Code] section 1275 will be reasonable and sufficient for the appearance of the defendant following his arrest, if the offense is bailable, and said magistrate shall endorse upon said warrant a statement signed by him, with the name of his office, dated at the county, city or town where it is made to the following effect “The defendant is to be admitted to bail in the sum of ________ dollars” (stating the amount).
- People v Bradford, (1969) 70 Cal.2d 333 (“Under compulsion of applicable federal law a majority of this court recently held that arrest warrants issued on ‘information and belief’ do not comport with Fourth Amendment requirements unless facts are stated which support a complainant’s belief that a defendant has committed a felony. (People v. Sesslin (1968) 68 A.C. 431, 436-437, 67 Cal.Rptr. 409, 439 P.2d 321.) Once an accusatory pleading has been filed, however, a defendant is no longer held on the arrest warrant, and thus he cannot complain solely on the basis of an alleged defect in the issuance of the warrant. It is no defense to a state or federal criminal prosecution that a defendant was illegally arrested or forcibly brought within the jurisdiction of the court.”). See also People v. Kasrawi (C. , 2021)
- See same (“If he [defendant] can show that law enforcement officials exploited the period of illegal detention to obtain evidence utilized at trial, of course, he is entitled to have the evidence suppressed.”)