Do Felony Warrants Expire?
Legal Issues

Do Felony Warrants Expire?

Do felony warrants expire

For those who have been convicted of a felony or who have been faced with a felony charge, you know the hassle they can create. You might hear that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Those are words that can create a great deal of anxiety.

Do they ever go way? You might be wondering if felony warrants ever expire.

Let’s understand the process. In doing so, it is important also to know about the different types of warrants and how each is handled.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Do Arrest Warrants Expire?
  • Difference Between a Bench Arrest Warrant and a Search Warrant
  • When is an Arrest Warrant Issued?
  • How Long Does a Felony Warrant Last?
  • Can I Get a Job With a Felony Warrant?
  • What’s the Difference Between an Arrest Warrant and a Summons?
  • Have More Questions?

Do Arrest Warrants Expire?

A simple answer here. No, felony warrants do not expire no matter how long they have been active. A felony warrant may be on the books for years until a suspect has been arrested or the court issues an order counteracting the felony warrant.

While a felony warrant does not expire, it can be dismissed through use of the Sixth Amendment which is the right to a speedy trial. This is called a Serna motion and is what is used in such a dismissal.  

The right to a speedy trial only works for a crime involving a possible prison sentence or jail time. A motion to dismiss this may allege the prosecution did not use reasonable diligence to locate a defendant.  

Difference Between a Bench Arrest Warrant and a Search Warrant

You might wonder how a bench arrest warrant is different from a search warrant. First, not all felony warrants are arrest warrants.

A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant and is not the same as a general arrest warrant. A bench warrant is initiated by a judge usually for someone who fails to appear for a court date. 

A felony arrest warrant is typically initiated by a police officer and issued by a judge for probable cause in a specific crime. An arrest warrant is necessary before an arrest for any misdemeanor that is not committed within direct view of a police officer. It is not typically required to arrest a person suspected of a felony.

An arrest warrant is issued by a judge in a court in which a person fails to comply with a court order. The most common reason given for issuing a bench warrant is failure to appear in court for a court date.

In order to obtain a warrant, a police officer provides a written statement to a judge. The statement must give sufficient information to establish probable cause that a crime was committed by the person indicated in the warrant is responsible.  

Once an arrest warrant has been granted by a judge, law enforcement is allowed to arrest a person named in the warrant. 

A bench warrant is used in both civil and criminal cases:

  • Neglecting to show up for a court hearing
  • Disobeying a subpoena ordering testimony in a case 
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Violating probation
  • Failure to pay traffic ticket

A search warrant is not the same as a bench warrant or an arrest warrant. A search warrant permits police to search a vehicle or location even if this does not end up in an arrest.  

The Fourth Amendment states that citizens are protected from unlawful searches and seizures. A search warrant can only be issued if there is probable cause. It must describe the place to be searched with a person to be seized. 

When is an Arrest Warrant Issued?

Someone suspected of a crime may be subject to an arrest warrant if a judge thinks there is enough evidence for probable cause for an arrest.

An arrest warrant is often issued by a judge when it is believed that a crime has been committed and the defendant committed the crime. A warrant can be issued for arrest following a grand jury indictment.  

The court does not need someone’s address but can be allowed to be arrested at work or at home.  After a felony warrant has been issued, it will be executed by the police.

How Long Does a Felony Warrant Last?

When a felony warrant is issued, it must include the name of the individual under suspicion of committing a crime. Along with the specific crime that person is suspected of committing. 

A felony warrant can be served anywhere, in any jurisdiction. If it is in another state, the suspect can be brought in only through extradition.

A felony warrant lasts as long as it takes to resolve a case. It does not just automatically expire. 

A felony warrant can last for years until a suspect has been arrested or an order has been issued to revoke the original order. So, as long as that felony warrant is active, your name will be on it, and you are subject to being apprehended. 

That makes it essential to have the case resolved.

Can I Get a Job With a Felony Warrant?

Yes, it is possible to get a job  with a felony warrant, though it will be difficult. Finding a job with a felony conviction is enough of a challenge. A felony warrant that is outstanding presents another type of obstacle to overcome.

Some employers may not make an issue of whether there is an outstanding warrant. They may look at the background check and consider the information it contains. Others may conduct a background check and review the results. If they see a felony warrant, it may deter them from hiring you.  

After all, a felony warrant indicates that there is pending legal action yet to be resolved. The outcome of the execution of the warrant could result in jail or prison time, depending on how things work out.  

They likely will not want to hire someone and lose them to a pending symptoms. It’s just another major obstacle felons face your quest to get a job.

What’s the Difference Between an Arrest Warrant and a Summons?

While an arrest warrant authorizes police to take someone into custody on suspicion of having committed a crime, a summons to appear in court is issued in conjunction with a case in which a prosecuting attorney issues a summons or order to make certain that someone appears in court on a specified date.

Most often a summons is issued in a more minor cases such as a traffic offense. It is typically not issued in a crime that involves violence or firearms.  

Have More Questions?

Hopefully, this will shed some light on felony warrants and whether they expire. The information presented here does not constitute legal advice. For an opportunity to speak with an attorney, you can go here.

 What do you think about this article? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of having an outstanding felony warrant? What was that like for you, and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

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