If you have an open arrest warrant or bench warrant in Indiana and you want to speak to an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer, call me for a free consultation at 317-695-7700. I have practiced criminal defense my entire career, teach criminal law at the IU School of Law, and have personally handled thousands of cases. I provide affordable criminal defense representation in the entire State of Indiana, including Indianapolis, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Monroe County, Bloomington, Noblesville, Carmel, Fishers, Danville, and Plainfield.
If you think you have an Indiana arrest warrant, you can do a free warrant search for Indiana warrants on at www.mycase.in.gov
An arrest warrant or bench warrant can be issued for several reasons. The most common reasons for an open warrant are the filing of new criminal charges, a missed court date, a probation violation, or a pretrial release violation.
Having an open arrest warrant can be extremely stressful. Law enforcement could arrive at your home or place of work to execute the arrest warrant. Also, if you have any interaction with law enforcement, even a speeding ticket, the warrant will be executed.
In my experience as an Indiana criminal defense lawyer, in many cases, getting an open arrest warrant recalled is much easier than most people realize. There are 3 basic steps I suggest that people take when they have an open arrest warrant.
File a Motion to have the Arrest Warrant Recalled
If you have an open warrant, the first step that your Indiana criminal defense attorney will pursue is filing a motion with the Court asking that the warrant be recalled. Obviously, it will be up to the Judge to decide whether or not to recall the warrant, but in my experience as an Indiana criminal defense lawyer, filing this motion is successful in many cases. Whether the Judge decides to recall the bench warrant will depend on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the underlying allegation, how long the warrant has been active, and your criminal history.
In many cases, if your Indiana criminal defense lawyer files a motion to recall the warrant, the Judge knows that (1) you are aware of the case and are taking it seriously, (2) you have hired an attorney, and (3) you are likely to appear for future court dates. As a practical matter, people generally do not hire a criminal defense lawyer if they plan to go on the run, so merely hiring an attorney often indicates to a Judge that you are not a flight risk. In many cases, this motion will be granted without you having to appear in court.
Filing a motion to have the warrant recalled is the first step your criminal defense attorney will take when you have an open warrant. If the request to recall the arrest warrant is denied, the second step your criminal defense attorney will take is to file a motion for a combined bond review and warrant surrender.
File a Motion for a Combined Bond Review and Warrant Surrender
If the Court has denied your request to recall the arrest warrant, the second option your Indiana criminal defense attorney will pursue is filing a motion for a combined bond review and warrant surrender. Please note, this motion does involve certain risks and should be pursued only after a motion to recall the warrant has been denied.
For this motion, your criminal defense lawyer is asking the Judge to set a court date where two things will occur at the same time. First, you will surrender yourself to the Court on the open warrant. Second, the Judge will immediately conduct a bond review.
This has several advantages over turning yourself in.
First, if the Judge decides to release you on your own recognizance, you can merely walk out of court without spending a minute in jail.
If your Indiana criminal defense attorney has filed a motion for a combined bond review and warrant surrender, it is important that you notify at least one friend or family member. It is generally best to have this person come to court with you. If you are released on your own recognizance, you can merely walk out of court. However, if the Judge does set a bond, it is important to have a friend with you in Court so that they can pay the bond as soon as possible.
Last Resort – Turn Yourself in on the Open Warrant
If the Court has denied the request to recall the arrest warrant, and the Court has also denied the request for a combined bond review and warrant surrender, then your last resort is to turn yourself in on the open warrant. However, this is a last resort and you should not turn yourself in on the arrest warrant until after speaking with an Indiana criminal defense attorney.
Turning yourself in on the warrant has several disadvantages.
First, this will generally result in incarceration for a period of time. This may only be for a few days, or it may be for a much longer period of time. However, it is very likely that you will be incarcerated for a minimum of a few days.
Second, you will likely spend several days in jail just waiting for a bond review. Even if the Judge decides to release you on your own recognizance, you will have spent several days in jail waiting for this decision. By this time, you may have already lost your employment.
Third, if the Judge orders pretrial release conditions (GPS, alcohol monitoring, home detention, etc…) you will sometimes be held until a community corrections device becomes available. As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen several situations where a Judge ordered someone to be released with GPS monitoring, and the person was held an extra week while they waited for community corrections to come to the jail with a GPS bracelet.
Turning yourself in on a warrant is a last resort and if you are going to pursue this option, it is important to have your affairs in order before doing so. Make sure to notify a friend or family member as well as your employer.