Most people understand that having an arrest or bench warrant issued against them in their home state is a serious matter. However, some operate under the assumption that they’re less likely to face legal consequences if they have a warrant in another state. They may even skip town to evade arrest.

Don’t make this mistake. If there’s a warrant out for your arrest in another state, local police may still arrest you at any time.

Understanding Out of State Arrest Warrants for Felonies

Arrest warrants are typically issued when a person is accused of a felony or the police have good reason to suspect they’ve committed one. A judge can issue an arrest warrant that grants law enforcement the authority to take a suspect into custody.

An arrest warrant will usually authorize police to arrest a suspect at any time and in any place. Suppose you have an arrest warrant in another state, and the police stop you in your home state (or any other state you happen to be in). In this case, the police can arrest you and extradite you to the state where the warrant was issued. 

In some cases, crimes are serious enough that law enforcement in other states will reach out to the police in a suspect’s home state, coordinating with them to arrest the suspect.

Do you have reason to believe there’s a warrant out for your arrest in another state? Contact a criminal defense attorney right away. The situation will only get worse if you ignore it.

Understanding Out of State Arrest Warrants for Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor is less severe than a felony. Thus, the penalties for misdemeanor convictions tend to be less serious.

However, misdemeanor penalties can still be stiff. For example, if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in Dayton, OH, it could impact everything from your employability to your right to drive.

That said, if you’re arrested in your home state because there’s a misdemeanor arrest warrant out for you in another state, your odds of being extradited are lower. The matter is more likely to be resolved with a fine or some jail time.

It’s still extremely important to work with a lawyer in this scenario. An attorney can help minimize any penalties you may face.

Understanding Out of State Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is different from an arrest warrant in certain key ways. A judge may issue a bench warrant if you fail to appear in court for a hearing or trial.

Arrest warrants are only issued in criminal cases. Bench warrants can be issued in both criminal and civil cases.

Bench warrants may result in fines, loss of driving privileges, and more. Guard against serious consequences by hiring a lawyer right away. Again, a lawyer can’t promise you’ll avoid major penalties, but they can maximize your odds of securing an ideal outcome.

How Do I Know if I Have an Out-of-State Warrant?

There are several ways to confirm if a warrant has been issued for you in another state. Many states and counties have online databases and records that allow users to check for warrants. If you can’t find such a database for the county, you can approach a criminal defense attorney for help.