Finding out that you’re under criminal investigation is a scary feeling. All of a sudden, so many uncertainties will fill your mind. What’s going to happen to me? Am I going to jail? Will I lose my job? Are they going to come arrest me in my home, in front of my neighbors and family? There are many different ways and situations for which a criminal defendant might be arrested. This article will focus on when a warrant has been issued and the police are charged with finding that person and bringing them into custody. An arrest warrant is an order signed by the judge giving the police the authority to take someone into custody. In order to get a warrant, the police must show probable cause that the individual has committed the crime. Probable cause does not mean guilt, it just means that there is enough evidence for an arrest. Probable cause for an arrest warrant can be established by a witness (often called an affiant) who provides first-hand information about the event in question. Once the warrant has been issued, the police may act on it at any time. If you have an active warrant they can come to wherever they think you might be, such as your house or place of work, at any time, and arrest you. If you’re pulled over for a traffic violation the police will run a check for warrants and can arrest you that way as well. This includes being out of state, so if you have a warrant from Memphis and are in another state, they can arrest you there and extradite you back to Memphis. You’ll remain in custody that whole time. What should you do if you find out there’s a warrant out for you? You should arrange to turn yourself in right away, because again they can come and get you anytime, anywhere. It’s much better if you arrange this on your terms, rather than waiting for theirs. In Memphis you can turn yourself in downtown at the annex next to the criminal courthouse at 201 Poplar. If you’re in one of the suburban jurisdictions such as Bartlett, Germantown, or Collierville, you can do this at the police station. Once you turn yourself in you’ll be processed and taken into custody. You’ll eventually appear before a judge or magistrate and given a bond, but this won’t happen for at least 8 hours or so. From the time you turn yourself in to the time you bond out, it could be at least 12 hours. The judge will set your bond based on the type of charge and whether you have any prior record. More serious charges bring higher bonds. A non-violent felony for someone with no prior record might get a bond of a few thousand dollars, probably more in Bartlett or Germantown. With some charges, though, you might get a release on recognizance, or ROR bond, which means you’re released without paying any bond. It just depends on the case. You’ll have a court date the next day, so as soon as possible, preferably before you turn yourself in, you should talk to a Memphis criminal defense lawyer about representation. Having an attorney with you at your first court date can greatly relieve any stress or uncertainty you’ll be feeling, plus you’ll be helping your case because the lawyer can immediately start gathering information and negotiating for a resolution. Being charged with a crime can be an emotionally devastating, unsettling situation. Your very freedom is at stake. Memphis criminal lawyer Patrick Stegall can provide answers about your case, and work to get you the best outcome possible. Please contact him by phone at (901) 205-9894 or by email at

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