An arrest warrant is issued by a judge on behalf of the State, authorizing police to arrest a person. In our country, the warrant must contain probable cause, be signed by a judge, based on an accurate police affidavit, particularly describing the person to be arrested. These basic requirements are set forth in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The best criminal defense lawyers in Houston, Texas, know how to attack warrants and get evidence suppressed.
After an arrest warrant is signed, police can then execute it. Execution means looking for the arrestee and arresting him when he is found. Nothing requires police to give a copy of the arrest warrant or affidavit to the defendant. Usually, police just show the defendant the warrant itself and place him under arrest. Generally, once the warrant is issued, it is entered into a statewide computer system. That data can then be sited by any law enforcement bureaucrat carrying out verification for warrants (regularly called a warrant inquiry). For example, during traffic stops, when police run a person’s background, they can see if there are any outstanding warrants. Outstanding traffic warrants are common.
To see if there is a warrant, it is as easy as calling the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. If there is an outstanding warrant, you are much better off speaking to a Houston criminal defense attorney, arranging for bond, and surrendering yourself, than waiting to get picked up. Surrendering yourself, when there is a high bond that you cannot afford, is often the most effective means of getting the bond reduced because your surrender shows you are not a flight risk.
In any criminal case, you do not want to be behind the eight ball. You want to be ahead of the curve. If there is an outstanding arrest warrant, immediately contact the best criminal attorney in Houston, Texas, you can afford. After all, your very freedom and good name or at stake.
As a Houston criminal defense attorney, I have come to learn of two major misconceptions that criminal defendants in Harris County, Texas, have about our criminal justice system:
Following Genovevo Salinas’ murder conviction, I was the Houston criminal lawyer hired to handle his appeal. We filed our notice of appeal in the trial court. We were then randomly assigned to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Harris County, Texas.
As appellate criminal lawyers in Houston, Texas, there are two courts of appeals here. One is the First Court of Appeals. The other is the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. Appeals are randomly assigned to either appeals court.
The Fourteenth Court of Appeals has nine justices. The Chief Justice is Adele Hedges, who has been there for around 20 years. One the case is assigned to an appeals court, a panel of three judges are randomly assigned to the case.
In Salinas’ case, the three judges on his panel were Justices Anderson, Frost, and Brown.
Justice Brown Jeff Brown was appointed to the 14th Court of Appeals by Governor Rick Perry in 2007 and won election to the same seat in 2008. From 2001-07 he served as judge of the 55th District Court. He is board-certified in Civil Trial Law. Before becoming a judge, he practiced at Baker Botts, trying jury cases throughout Southeast Texas. Before Baker Botts, he was a briefing attorney at the Texas Supreme Court. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas and his law degree with high honors from the University of Houston. While in law school he served as chief note & comment editor of the Houston Law Review.
Justice Ken Thompson Frost was appointed in early 1999 to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals by then-Governor George W. Bush. She was elected in 2000 to fill an unexpired term, and then re-elected in 2002 and again in 2008. Before taking the bench, Justice Frost enjoyed a 15-year civil trial and appellate practice, with an emphasis on complex business litigation.
John S. Anderson attended Washington & Lee University and received his law degree from my alma mater, the University of Texas School of Law. He served on the appeals court from 1995 until his retirement. He brought the wrath of GOP social conservatives down on their heads by ruling that the state’s antediluvian homosexual conduct law discriminates against gays by banning sexual behavior that is legal for straights.
So this was the panel we drew. And it was a panel, not unusual for appeals courts, of attorneys who practiced civil law before they were elevated to the bench. These three would be the first reviewing judges to address Salinas’ case and Fifth Amendment issue that he raised.
Salinas v. Texas, which the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear in January 2013, began as a murder case in Houston, Harris County, Texas. I was not the Houston criminal lawyer who tried the case. Instead, I was the criminal lawyer in Houston who handled the case on appeal. It is not unusual for defendants to hire new lawyers to handle the appeal.
Salinas was tried two times for murder. He allegedly shot and killed two people. The first trial resulted in a hung jury. In the second trial, the prosecution emphasized that before Salinas was arrested, police questioned him after he accompanied them to the police station. When police asked the million dollar question—in effect, whether he murdered the decedents—he remained silent. Police later arrested him and charged him with murder.
During his second trial, the prosecution used Salinas’ silence, in response to police questioning, as evidence of guilt. Salinas never testified at trial.
Salinas’ Harris County criminal attorneys objected, under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, to the use of his silence as evidence of guilt. The trial court overruled his objection. The prosecution emphasized in summation that Salinas must have been guilty or he would have denied the murder when police questioned him.
This Fifth Amendment issue was the issue that I raised on appeal.
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by the judge in the court to law enforcement granting the authority to arrest the particular person who has allegedly committed the crime. If the suspect is caught in the public or being chased in hot pursuit when committing a crime, then there is no need of arrest warrant but in case. That makes sense. Every in Harris County, Texas, people are arrested in hot pursuit because cops would not otherwise have time to obtain a warrant. Unless police have a warrant, you should generally never give up your rights and permit searches or seizures. The best Houston criminal attorneys know this.
There are a variety of different reasons as to why an arrest warrant can been issued:
A bench warrant is different than an arrest warrant. Generally, bench warrants in Houston, Texas, issue when a defendant fails to appear in court. If a defendant fails to appear and a bench warrant issues, a criminal lawyer in Houston, Texas, then has to approach the judge to have the warrant rescinded or get a reasonable bond set.
The reasons for the bench warrant placed against someone is
When the order has been issued by the judge, the cop will have the authority to pick up the particular person and bring him or her in front of the court. Some judges are more prone to issuing bench warrants than others; as a general rule, you should avoid contempt of court anyway, as the penalties can be severe. In most cases, a person with a bench warrant will be denied bail in order to minimize the risk that a second warrant will need to be issued for fleeing the first warrant.