An arrest warrant is a warrant directing a law-enforcement officer to arrest and bring a person to court. An arrest warrant is issued by a judge if the judge is presented with enough evidence by law-enforcement or the district attorney’s office that probable cause exists to believe that the named suspect committed the crime in the complaint or information. A description of a suspect that is overly broad will not be valid.
For example, a judge should not issue an arrest warrant claiming that John Smith robbed a house in the month of April and that Mr. Smith is of medium build with dark hair and brown eyes. The description of John Smith is overly vague and can apply to a number of people, hence if the arrest warrant of John Smith is executed, it can be challenged because it is overly broad.
A valid warrant in this hypothetical could declare that the homeowner and its occupants identified a photograph of John Smith as the man who committed the robbery and burglary on April 14th. This would establish probable cause to issue an arrest warrant.
An arrest warrant is generally issued at the inception of a criminal case. An arrest warrant is a warrant directing a law-enforcement officer to arrest and bring a person to court. Thus, a task commanded by the arrest warrant is performed or completed upon an arrest of a defendant. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 171.122(1) states that the arrest warrant must be executed by the arrest of the defendant. Police may enter a residence to execute the arrest warrant. Hayes v. State, 106 Nev. 543, 548, 797 P.2d 962, 965 (1990) (stating that “police may enter a residence to execute an arrest warrant” (emphasis added)), overruled on other grounds by Ryan v. Eighth Judicial Dist Court, 123 Nev. 419, 429, 168 P.3d 703, 710 (2007) In light of the plain meaning of “execute” as that term relates to arrest warrants, NRS § 248.100(1)(c) unambiguously requires sheriffs to arrest defendants named in arrest warrants but imposes no duty to enter warrant information into electronic databases.
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 248.100(1)(c), a sheriff shall execute a process, writs, or warrants of courts of justice when delivered to the sheriff for that purpose. Nev. Rev. Stat. ch. 248 does not define “execute,” but the word is defined elsewhere as “to perform or complete.” A Sheriff must act diligently in the performance of his or her official duties, including his or her duty to execute arrest warrants by arresting defendants. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 248.060. Every public officer is bound to use reasonable skill and diligence in the performance of official duties. It is within the Sheriff’s discretion, however, to determine how best to execute arrest warrants under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 248.100(1)(c).
Another lesser-known type of warrant is known as a material witness warrant. Prosecutors can seek the arrest of a potential witness if a witnesses testimony is deemed material to a criminal proceeding and the state argues that the “material” witness presents a risk of flight. A material witness warrant must be issued by a judge. A person who is arrested under a material witness warrant is entitled to legal representation.
A Las Vegas arrest warrant attorney can try to arrange a surrender or “walk through,” where the suspect is booked and released on bail or on your own recognizance for an arrest warrant. You could be held without bail until an arraignment, release hearing or similar proceeding. If you have an outstanding arrest or bench warrant you should call the Spartacus Law Firm today at 702-660-1234 for a free consultation.
An arrest warrant is distinct from a bench warrant. Bench warrants as the name suggests are issued by a judge and are usually issued after the inception of a criminal case. A bench warrant commonly issues because a defendant has failed to appear or to complete requirements dictated by the court.
The court will enforce its orders through the issuance of a bench warrant. A bench warrant is issued when a defendant defies court orders. Courts most commonly issue bench warrants for failure to show up at the scheduled court hearing, for violating probation, or for failure to pay a fine, complete community service, or pay child support. The court will enforce its orders through the issuance of a bench warrant. Your lawyer can file a motion to quash, and a hearing will be held a few days later. A Las Vegas arrest warrant attorney can attempt to persuade the judge to lift or recall the warrant. However, you could be held in jail until the hearing or be required to post a bond and pay court fees.
Neither arrest warrants or bench warrants have a statute of limitations. Both types of warrants remain in full effect until the defendant is arrested and detained. Both bench warrants and arrest warrants can be executed many years after their issuance. Most crimes, however, do have a criminal statute of limitations. For example, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor DUI
is one year and for a felony DUI
it is three years. If an arrest warrant was issued after the criminal statute of limitations has taken effect, the warrant will be invalid and the underlying criminal case must be dismissed.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, the warrant must be executed by the arrest of the defendant. The officer need not have the warrant in the officer’s possession at the time of the arrest, but upon request the officer must show the warrant to the defendant as soon as possible. If the officer does not have a warrant in the officer’s possession at the time of the arrest, the officer shall then inform the defendant of the officer’s intention to arrest the defendant, of the offense charged, the authority to make it and of the fact that a warrant has or has not been issued. The defendant must not be subjected to any more restraint than is necessary for the defendant’s arrest and detention. If the defendant either flees or forcibly resists, the officer may, except as otherwise provided in NRS 171.1455
, use only the amount of reasonable force necessary to effect the arrest.
2. In lieu of executing the warrant by arresting the defendant, a peace officer may issue a citation as provided in NRS 171.1773
(a) The warrant is issued upon an offense punishable as a misdemeanor;
(b) The officer has no indication that the defendant has previously failed to appear on the charge reflected in the warrant;
(c) The defendant provides satisfactory evidence of his or her identity to the peace officer;
(d) The defendant signs a written promise to appear in court for the misdemeanor offense; and
(e) The officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant will keep a written promise to appear in court.
3. The summons must be served upon a defendant by delivering a copy to the defendant personally, or by leaving it at the defendant’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person then residing in the house or abode who is at least 16 years of age and is of suitable discretion, or by mailing it to the defendant’s last known address. In the case of a corporation, the summons must be served at least 5 days before the day of appearance fixed in the summons, by delivering a copy to an officer or to a managing or general agent or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and, if the agent is one authorized by statute to receive service and the statute so requires, by also mailing a copy to the corporation’s last known address within the State of Nevada or at its principal place of business elsewhere in the United States.
Arrest warrants most commonly are issued by the return of a grand jury indictment or information. NRS 173.015
properly defines an indictment or information as the first pleading on the part of the State. NRS 173.025
provides that the several courts of this state shall have and may exercise the same power and jurisdiction to try and determine prosecutions upon information for crimes, misdemeanors and offenses, to issue writs and process and do all other acts therein as in cases of like prosecution under indictment.
1. An information may be filed against any person for any offense when the person:
(a) Has had a preliminary examination as provided by law before a justice of the peace, or other examining officer or magistrate, and has been bound over to appear at the court having jurisdiction; or
(b) Has waived the right to a preliminary examination.
2. If, however, upon the preliminary examination the accused has been discharged, or the affidavit or complaint upon which the examination has been held has not been delivered to the clerk of the proper court, the Attorney General when acting pursuant to a specific statute or the district attorney may, upon affidavit of any person who has knowledge of the commission of an offense, and who is a competent witness to testify in the case, setting forth the offense and the name of the person or persons charged with the commission thereof, upon being furnished with the names of the witnesses for the prosecution, by leave of the court first had, file an information, and process must forthwith be issued thereon. The affidavit need not be filed in cases where the defendant has waived a preliminary examination, or upon a preliminary examination has been bound over to appear at the court having jurisdiction.
3. The information must be filed within 15 days after the holding or waiver of the preliminary examination. Each information must set forth the crime committed according to the facts.
4. If, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney, a defendant waives the right to a preliminary examination in accordance with an agreement by the defendant to plead guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or to at least one, but not all, of the initial charges, the information filed against the defendant pursuant to this section may contain only the offense or offenses to which the defendant has agreed to enter a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere. If, for any reason, the agreement is rejected by the district court or withdrawn by the defendant, the prosecuting attorney may file an amended information charging all of the offenses which were in the criminal complaint upon which the preliminary examination was waived. The defendant must then be arraigned in accordance with the amended information.
1. All informations must be filed in the court having jurisdiction of the offenses specified therein, by the Attorney General when acting pursuant to a specific statute or by the district attorney of the proper county as informant, and his or her name must be subscribed thereto by him or her or by his or her deputy.
2. The district attorney or the Attorney General shall endorse thereon the names of such witnesses as are known at the time of filing the information. The district attorney or Attorney General shall not endorse the name of any witness whom he or she does not reasonably expect to call.
3. In all cases in which the defendant has not had or waived a preliminary examination there must be filed with the information the affidavit of some credible person verifying the information upon the personal knowledge of affiant that the offense was committed.
A Summons is still a notice to appear, but it is not a warrant for your arrest. You can not and should not ignore the receipt of a summons. In less serious criminal cases the district attorney can request the issuance of a summons in lieu of an arrest warrant. Receiving a summons to appear instead of being arrested and booked into the detention center is a much better outcome. If you ignore a summons an arrest warrant can and likely will issue.
1. Upon the request of the Attorney General acting pursuant to a specific statute or the district attorney, the court shall issue a warrant for each defendant named in the indictment or information.
2. The clerk shall issue a summons instead of a warrant upon the request of the district attorney, the Attorney General or by direction of the court.
3. Upon like request or direction the clerk shall issue more than one warrant or summons for the same defendant.
4. The clerk shall deliver the warrant or summons to the peace officer or other person authorized by law to execute or serve it.
5. If a defendant fails to appear in response to the summons, a warrant must be issued.
If you live in another state and have an outstanding warrant you need to retain counsel as soon as possible. You can be considered a fugitive pursuant to NRS 179.221
Fugitives from this State; duty of Governor. Whenever the Governor of this State demands a person charged with crime or with escaping from confinement or breaking the terms of bail, probation or parole in this State, from the executive authority of any other state, or from the Chief Justice or an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia authorized to receive such demand under the laws of the United States, the Governor shall issue a warrant under the seal of this State, to some agent, commanding the agent to receive the person so charged if delivered and convey the person to the proper officer of the county in this State in which the offense was committed.
If you live in another state and have an outstanding warrant in Nevada, you are subject to extradition. The Nevada Attorney Generals Office has an extradition unit in place for out of state warrants that require extradition. The federal Uniform Criminal Extradition Act requires governors of each state to return any person charged in another state with treason, a felony, or any other crime, and who has fled from justice and is subsequently apprehended in a state in which the crime was not committed. The Interstate Agreement on detainers covers inmates who are imprisoned in another state penal institution and wanted by the demanding state to stand trial on criminal charges. The Extradition Coordinator, who also serves as Nevada’s Agreement Administrator, is responsible for ensuring the ends of justice are promoted by effectuating the return and/or temporary transfer of fugitives who have taken asylum in this state to the requesting states; effectuating the return and/or temporary transfer to Nevada of fugitives who have taken asylum in other states within the statutorily prescribed methods, procedures and time limits; recovering the monetary costs to which the state is entitled by virtue of this undertaking; and providing high quality continuing legal education on all aspects of extradition and detainer laws. Statutory Authority: NRS Chapters 178 and 179
Extradition is a complicated process and you are entitled to a hearing to contest the extradition order. It is imperative to employ experienced legal counsel so that you can protect your rights throughout this process. At the Spartacus Law Firm we can assist you if you have an out of state warrant and we can help to mitigate the severe consequences of fugitive status or extradition.
Pursuant to NRS 176.055
a defendant will receive credit for time in custody, even if you are in another jurisdiction. Therefore, if you are fighting extradition, any time you are in custody or a custodial environment you must receive credit towards any sentence imposed by the court. This is important because the extradition process can take time, you can be in custody for weeks or even months awaiting extradition. To make matters worse, the court may attempt to obtain the money spent by the state for extradition from the defendant through a civil lien or other means.
If you are subject to extradition on a felony warrant (rarely is extradition sought for misdemeanor cases), please contact the Spartacus Law Firm and our Las Vegas arrest warrant attorney today. Attorney Chandon S. Alexander represents clients for all types of warrants, including misdemeanor warrants, felony warrants, arrest warrants, violation of probation warrants, bench warrants, material witness warrants, and the failure to appear warrants.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, whenever a sentence of imprisonment in the county jail or state prison is imposed, the court may order that credit be allowed against the duration of the sentence, including any minimum term thereof prescribed by law, for the amount of time which the defendant has actually spent in confinement before conviction, unless the defendant’s confinement was pursuant to a judgment of conviction for another offense. Credit allowed pursuant to this subsection does not alter the date from which the term of imprisonment is computed.
2. A defendant who is convicted of a subsequent offense which was committed while the defendant was:
(a) In custody on a prior charge is not eligible for any credit on the sentence for the subsequent offense for time the defendant has spent in confinement on the prior charge, unless the charge was dismissed or the defendant was acquitted.
(b) Imprisoned in a county jail or state prison or on probation or parole from a Nevada conviction is not eligible for any credit on the sentence for the subsequent offense for the time the defendant has spent in confinement which is within the period of the prior sentence, regardless of whether any probation or parole has been formally revoked.
An arrest warrant is not valid if it is not grounded in probable cause, or if it is overly broad. If a defendant is in custody on an invalid arrest warrant, your defense counsel can file what is known as a writ of habeas corpus. A writ of habeas corpus is used to ascertain if the detention of a defendant is lawful.
1. Each petition for a writ of habeas corpus based on alleged lack of probable cause or otherwise challenging the court’s right or jurisdiction to proceed to the trial of a criminal charge shall contain a notice of hearing, or application for a hearing date, setting the matter for hearing 14 days from the date the petition is filed and served. In the event the judge to whom the case is assigned is not scheduled to hear motions on the 14th day following the service and filing of the petition, the notice must designate the next available day when the judge has scheduled the hearing of motions.
2. Any other pretrial petition for writ of habeas corpus, including those alleging a delay in any of the proceedings before the magistrate or a denial of the petitioner’s right to a speedy trial injustice court or municipal court, shall contain a notice of hearing setting the matter for hearing not less than 1 day from the date the writ is filed and served.
3. All points and authorities in support of the petition for writ of habeas corpus shall be served and filed at the time of the filing of the petition. The prosecutor shall serve and file a return and a response to the petitioner’s points and authorities within 10 days from the receipt of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus based on alleged want of probable cause or otherwise challenging the court’s rights or jurisdiction to proceed to the trial of a criminal charge. In proceedings under subsection 2, the prosecutor may serve and file a return and a response to the petitioner’s points and authorities in open court at the time noticed for the hearing on any other writ of habeas corpus set for hearing in one day.
4. The court reporter who takes down all the testimony and proceedings of the preliminary hearing must, within 15 days after the defendant has been held to answer in the district court, complete the certification and filing of the preliminary hearing transcript. Upon filing the transcript, the court reporter or recorder will notice the defense attorney and prosecutor who handled the preliminary hearing.
5. The court may extend, for good cause, the time to file a petition. If the preliminary hearing transcript is not filed at the time of the defendant’s initial arraignment, the court shall find good cause for extending the time for the filing of the petition. A party may obtain an ex parte order from the court allowing for an extension if the preliminary transcripts are not available within 14 days of the defendant’s initial appearance. All other applications to extend the 21-day time period must include appropriate notice to the prosecuting attorney. A stipulation between the prosecutor and the defense will suffice for appropriate notice for the court to grant the extension.
6. Any writ filed in a criminal case at the district court level shall be assigned to the same department where the underlying criminal case is filed. If no such previous criminal case exists, the writ shall be randomly assigned to a department.
The United States Supreme Court for Fourth Amendment purposes, has stated that an arrest warrant founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives when there is reason to believe the suspect is within.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 603, 100 S. Ct. 1371, 63 L. Ed. 2d 639 (1980)
. In Payton, the Court noted that “any differences in the intrusiveness of entries to search and entries to arrest are merely ones of degree rather than kind.” Id. at 589. Hence, under federal law, a search warrant may permit officers the authority to arrest a suspect if probable cause forms during the lawful search. See Mahlberg v. Mentzer, 968 F.2d 772, 775 (8th Cir. 1992)
. Likewise, an arrest warrant may permit officers to seize evidence discovered as a result of a lawful arrest. See United States v. Pruitt, 458 F.3d 477, 480-82 (6th Cir. 2006)
(concluding that execution of an arrest warrant justified seizure of evidence found in third party’s home during protective sweep).
Following Payton and its progeny, a federal court recently held that “the issuance of the arrest warrant . . . undermines any privacy interest in prospective geolocation data.” In re Smartphone Geolocation Data Application
. The court reasoned that searching for a suspect in his home is far more intrusive than seeking geolocation data from a suspect’s cell phone, and if the United States Supreme Court has found the more intrusive home search to be reasonable, then a less intrusive cell phone data search is surely reasonable. See also Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204, 214 n.7, 101 S. Ct. 1642, 68 L. Ed. 2d 38 (1981)
(“Because an arrest warrant authorizes the police to deprive a person of his liberty, it necessarily also authorizes a limited invasion of that person’s privacy interest when it is necessary to arrest him in his home.”).
An arrest warrant that justifies the physical invasion of the home also justifies a digital invasion into a defendant’s cell phone for the purpose of locating the defendant. (emphasis added) “The Fourth Amendment cannot accord protection to geolocation data associated with a defendant’s cell phone while denying such protection against a physical invasion of his home, as the latter is entitled to the highest order of defense.” See Generally, Meisler v. State, 130 Nev. 279 (2014)
A police officer is not liable for false arrest or imprisonment when he acts pursuant to a warrant that is valid on its face. Strung v. Anderson, 529 P.2d 1380 (Mont. 1975)
. See Brendel v. County of Pima, 591 P.2d 77 (Ariz.App. 1979)
; Clipse v. Gillis, 582 P.2d 555 (Wash.App. 1978)
; J. Dooley, 3 Modern Tort Law § 42.13 at 190-91 (1977)
. The facially valid warrant provides the “legal cause or justification” for the arrest, in the same way that an arrest made with probable cause is privileged and not actionable. See Hernandez v. City of Reno, 97 Nev. 429, 634 P.2d 668 (1981)
; Grover v. County of Clark, 97 Nev. 104, 625 P.2d 85 (1981)
; Cullison v. City of Peoria, 584 P.2d 1156 (Ariz. 1978)
If a warrant is issued for your arrest it means the courts have authorized police officers to arrest you at anytime. It also means there is probable cause to suspect your involvement with a crime. Warrants are based on sworn statements or affidavits from police officers and can be issued for minor infractions, such as traffic violations or unpaid traffic tickets.
Police rarely search for suspects with misdemeanors, but in felony cases
, police may actively search for you, and may even use your cellphone to locate you. You should take any outstanding warrant seriously, felony or misdemeanor. Do not ignore a warrant. It will not go away. Do not run from the police or attempt to fly, especially internationally. And if you choose to turn yourself in, meet with a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer
The warrant will stay in effect until it is recalled or quashed by a Judge. In Las Vegas, you must do one of the following to resolve a criminal warrant:
1.) Hire a reputable Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer for assistance. You may also be represented by the Public Defender’s Office
2.) If you choose to represent yourself, you can schedule a court appearance at the Las Vegas Justice Court Criminal Customer Service window. If you choose this option please be forewarned that you can be arrested at the courthouse, since you have an active warrant out for your arrest, though this rarely occurs it is still a risk of which you need to appreciate.
3.) Those who live out of state and do not have a public defender or a criminal defense lawyer may send a letter to the judge requesting a recall of the warrant. Be sure to include your case number and mail the request to:
Justice Court, Las Vegas Township Criminal Records Division
200 Lewis Avenue, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 552511
Las Vegas, NV 89155-2511
Or Fax to (702) 382-4078.
If you think you may have a warrant out for your arrest, it is recommended to consult with a Las Vegas lawyer. It may be possible to check for warrants online or by phone. You’ll want your lawyer to check on your behalf and advise of options for getting the warrant recalled or quashed.
Go to City of Las Vegas Justice Marshal Warrant Search (secure3.lasvegasnevada.gov/ewarrantlookup/
) to check for warrants issued by Las Vegas Municipal Court. You’ll need to enter the person’s name and social security number.
Go to Las Vegas Township Justice Court Records Inquiry (lasvegasjusticecourt.us) to check for warrants issued by Las Vegas Justice Court. Follow the directions online.