Warrants allow the Government to search for something and seize it. The Constitution protects all citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. More specifically, the Fourth Amendment protects the right of people “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
If you have an outstanding warrant in San Antonio or a surrounding county, it’s important to act quickly to get out in front of it.
Warrants are common issues after an arrest on a new criminal offense, failure to appear in court, or after a violation of probation. When warrants of these types are issued, the defendant is not automatically noticed.
I have extensive experience dealing with the following types of warrants:
- Felony warrants
- Class A or B misdemeanor warrants
- Municipal warrants
- Justice of the Peace warrants
- Failure to Appear warrants
- Motion to Revoke Probation warrants
- Bond increase warrants
- Warrants for unpaid traffic citations
Every judge has a different temperament. There are judges that will issue a warrant for your arrest after a simple probation violation. One of the worst parts about this type of situation is that you can have a warrant for your arrest for a days, even weeks, without notice.
While an arrest warrant requires being magistrated and having a bond set, I have had success approaching judges to resolve the situation without forcing the defendant to get re-arrested and post a new bond.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §18.02 states that warrants can be issued to search for and seize the following:
- Property acquired by theft or in any other illegal manner
- Property specially designed, made, or adapted for or commonly used in the commission of a criminal offense
- Arms and munitions kept or prepared for the purposes of insurrection or riot
- Prohibited weapons
- Gambling devices or equipment, altered gambling equipment, or gambling paraphernalia
- Obscene materials kept or prepared for commercial distribution or exhibition
- A drug, controlled substance, immediate precursor, chemical precursor, or other controlled substance property, including an illegally kept, prepared, or manufactured apparatus or paraphernalia
- Any illegally possessed property
- Implements or instruments used in the commission of a crime
- Property or items, except the personal writings by the accused, constituting evidence of an offense or constituting evidence tending to show that a particular person committed an offense
- Contraband subject to forfeiture or
- Electronic customer data held in electronic storage.
The Government can circumvent the warrant requirement when exigent circumstances exist. Some examples include:
- “Hot pursuit” of an alleged offender
- Protection of life and property
- To prevent the destruction of evidence
- To prevent the escape of an alleged offender
- To search for additional alleged offenders or
- When alleged offenders are armed
- “Plain View” searches
- Stop and frisk
- Search incident to arrest
- Consent searches
Not all warrants are valid. The Government will frequently be protected for acting in “good faith,” but there are situations where the excuse of “good faith” isn’t good enough. Clear examples of dishonesty, exaggeration or mistake can undercut the validity of a warrant.
Evidence obtained from a warrant found to be invalid will be suppressed. Additionally, the warrant can be successfully challenged if:
- Application wasn’t made under oath
- Lack of probable cause
- False statements/motives of information source or confidential informant
- Property searched or seized was not specified in warrant
- Other procedural errors