A warrant is a written order issued by a judge that gives the police the authority to arrest someone or to perform an act that upholds the law. Warrants are powerful documents that are often required, but there are some key exceptions when the police don’t need them.
Types of Warrants
To know when the police need a warrant, it’s important to understand that there is more than one kind of warrant. These different types of warrants allow the police to take different types of action. Here are some key types:
- Arrest warrants: These warrants empower the police to arrest someone who is accused of a crime. An arrest warrant must identify the person to be arrested and name the crime that they allegedly committed.
- Search warrants: These warrants empower the police to search a place for evidence of a crime. The place could be your home, the place where you work, your vehicle or your personal belongings. A search warrant must clearly state the place to be searched and the items to be seized.
- Bench warrants: If you are found to be in contempt of court, a judge may order a bench warrant. There are many reasons a person could be found to be in contempt, but one of the most common is failure to appear at a hearing. If a judge orders a bench warrant, it gives the police the power to immediately arrest you and bring you before the judge to resolve the matter.
- Blue warrants: In Texas, blue warrants are issued if a parolee has violated parole. There are many reasons that this could have happened, from failure to obtain employment to missing a meeting with your parole officer.
Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement Under Texas Law
Warrants are not needed in all situations. A common exception is for “exigent circumstances.” This means that a reasonable person would look at the circumstances and believe that quick action was needed to stop physical harm to the police or someone else, to stop the destruction of evidence, or to prevent the suspect from escaping.
Another common exception is for a pat-down search when the police have probable cause to believe that a person is carrying a weapon. In that case, a warrant is not needed for the officer to do a limited search looking for the weapon.
Talk With a Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Your Rights
If you think your rights were violated by illegal search and seizure, talk to a lawyer about your options. Your lawyer can examine the facts of your case and take action if your rights were violated. For a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP, call 817-678-6771 or send us a message today.