In Colorado, an arrest warrant gives the police the authority to arrest you because you are suspected of committing a criminal offense. The police can go to your home, place of business, or other locations they think you might be to execute the warrant and take you into custody. After you are arrested you may be allowed out on bail, depending on the type of crime and other factors related to your release.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is a Colorado arrest warrant?
- 2. Why did I get a warrant issued for my arrest?
- 3. How will the police execute a Colorado arrest warrant?
- 4. Can I be arrested in another state for a Colorado arrest warrant?
- 5. How do I get rid of a warrant?
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge and authorizes law enforcement to arrest and detain an individual on suspicion of involvement in criminal activity. In order for police to arrest a suspect, they must have probable cause to believe the person committed a crime or have a valid arrest warrant.
When the police do not have immediate probable cause to arrest an individual, they may have to seek permission from the court to make an arrest. This comes in the form of an arrest warrant.
A judge will issue an arrest warrant if the evidence presented shows probable cause to believe that an individual has committed a crime. This may be based on the evidence presented by the police or a District Attorney. A judge may also issue a warrant if a grand jury has found probable cause to justify an arrest.
Under the United States and Colorado Constitutions, a valid warrant must
- be issued by a neutral judge, show probable cause for the arrest,
- describe the defendant, and
- be issued without known falsehoods by law enforcement.
An arrest warrant also has to include certain information in order to be valid. This includes:
- Defendant's name
- The criminal offense for which he or she is accused
- Time, date, and location the warrant was issued
- Signature of the judge
An arrest warrant is similar to a bench warrant in Colorado, except that bench warrants are issued specifically for violating an order of the court or the judge.
A warrant can be issued based on probable cause to believe you committed a crime. Probable cause is not proof of a crime and an arrest warrant does not mean that you will be convicted of a crime. It only requires a “reasonable basis” to believe you may have committed a crime.
A warrant is usually issued after the police or District Attorney (D.A.) go to a judge to get the legal authority to make an arrest. This can be based on a simple statement made by a member of the public, such as a claim that a victim was assaulted by a certain individual. It could also be based on a long investigation that gathered various types of evidence over months or years.
The police and D.A. will present the case to a judge for the basis of an arrest warrant. This generally includes an affidavit by law enforcement. An affidavit is given under oath and provides the facts and evidence to establish probable cause for an arrest of the specific individual. General allegations and statements may not be enough to establish probable cause.
A judge may also sign off on an arrest warrant after a grand jury indictment. In a grand jury indictment, the prosecutor presents evidence to a group of jurors. This could include witness testimony, law enforcement statements, or other evidence. If the grand jury finds probable cause that the suspect committed a crime, they may return an indictment. The judge may then issue a warrant based on the grand jury's decision.
Warrants are generally issued to arrest an individual at a known location during certain hours of the day. This may include showing up to an individual's house or workplace during the day to make the arrest. The way the police will execute an arrest warrant may depend on a number of factors, including the type of crime and suspect's criminal history.
After a warrant has been issued, any contact with the police may result in your arrest. For example, if your house was burglarized you may call the police to make a report. However, upon learning that you have an arrest warrant issued for some other offense, the police would likely place you under arrest and take you to jail.
For a serious felony, such as murder, the police may seek broader authority to make the arrest. This may include showing up to your house or your family's house in the middle of the night. It may also involve forcing entry in the house if you do not open the door and they believe you are inside.
Just because a warrant was issued in Colorado does not mean you won't be arrested in another state. Similarly, police in Colorado can arrest you for an out-of-state arrest warrant. When police issue a warrant for your arrest, or even for missing a court date, that information is usually entered into a national database. Law enforcement in most states share this information and can tell if you have a warrant for your arrest just by running your name.
If you are pulled over for a speeding ticket in California or Utah, the police officer will generally be able to find out that you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest in Colorado. The police officer may place you under arrest even though the warrant was issued in another state.
In order to clear your warrant, you may have a couple of options. If you turn yourself into law enforcement, they may place you under arrest and you may have to spend a night or two in jail. You may then appear before a judge to set bail. After posting bond, you may be released with a future court date. You may also be able to plead guilty, and pay any required fees and costs.
In some cases, your attorney will be able to appear in court on your behalf. This can help you avoid having to spend a night in jail while allowing you to take care of the warrant. Your attorney may be able to have your warrant cleared without you having to appear in court. However, for most felony charges, you may have to appear in person.
Call us for help...
If you have been arrested in Colorado, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.
Also see our article on Nevada arrest warrants.