What do I do if there is a Warrant out for my arrest?
Don’t panic. Many people call our office everyday with this very situation. The first thing to remember is a warrant is an allegation, not a conviction. You are presumed innocent and your charge may be dismissed in the end. My goal here is to give you some pointers to navigate the process.
A 3 Step Process
First, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can discuss the case with you, and give you more specific advice about your situation. He or she will also remind you to remain silent when speaking with the police. You have a right to remain silent and have a lawyer present at all custodial interrogations. Use your rights. Your lawyer will also be able to request a bond reduction if your bond is set too high. That is why it is important to hire your lawyer before hiring a bonding company.
Second, contact a bonding company. In Memphis, there is usually no way to avoid going into custody on an arrest warrant. This is not to be confused with a bench warrant, which I discuss here. A knowledgeable bonding company can give you a rough idea of what your bond is likely to be based on your charges, your criminal history, employment history, and residential history. They will also need to know who will be paying and/or co-signing on your bond. You will want to discuss this information with the family and friends who will be making your bond.
Finally, plan how and when you will turn yourself in. Do not take expensive clothing or personal items to the jail. Remember, all of this will go into jail property, and it is often hard for you or family members to retrieve these items. Additionally, anything you take with you, such as a wallet or phone, is subject to search. I would be sure to leave these items with friends or family. I recommend that my clients take an ID, around twenty dollars in cash, and wear comfortable cheap clothing.
When should I turn myself in?
As far as the best time to “turn yourself in,” I recommend you do it as soon as possible, preferably on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. If you go to the jail during high-traffic (nights and weekends) it will take much longer for you to process into the jail. In other words, you will be waiting for a long time. You will want to go earlier in the week so you will have your first court date before the week is out. It usually takes 48-72 hours (not including weekends or holidays) for you to have your first court appearance after entering the jail. If you have hired a lawyer, he or she can start working on your case at that first court date. If your family and friends have had trouble making your bond, your lawyer can start to address that problem at your first court date.
Contact an Experienced Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney
I hope these tips help if you or a loved one are ever charged with a crime in Memphis or Shelby county. For further information, you can check the status of Shelby county warrants. You can also to check the court date, charges, and bond amounts of a Shelby county inmate. Lastly, our office is equipped to handle criminal matters if you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.