Austin Arrest Warrant Lawyer

How Cofer & Connelly, PLLC Can Help With An Arrest Warrant

A person in handcuffs being arrested

A warrant is an official document issued by a judge, ordering police to take action, such as arresting an individual. In Texas, the laws governing warrants cover various aspects, including the issuance, execution, and requirements of warrants.

Understanding warrants and the legal procedures surrounding them is crucial if you are charged with a crime in Austin. Facing the criminal justice system can be overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC can provide the guidance you need. Our team brings 100+ years of experience, having handled over 25,000 cases and 300+ jury trials.

Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online for a consultation with an Austin arrest warrant attorney. We can help you understand your rights and explore your legal options.

Definition of a Warrant of Arrest

A warrant of arrest, according to Article 15 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, is an order from a judge (magistrate). This order directs a police officer or another designated person to arrest the individual accused of an offense. The purpose of a warrant is to ensure that the accused person is brought before the court to face charges. By requiring that a magistrate issues the warrant, the law ensures that there is judicial oversight before an individual's freedom is restricted.

What is Required For an Arrest Warrant?

A warrant in Texas must meet specific requirements, regardless of its form. First, the warrant must clearly state the name of the person to be arrested. This requirement ensures that the warrant is specific and avoids the possibility of wrongful arrest because of mistaken identity. If the name of the person is unknown, the warrant has to have a reasonably definite description. This description has to be detailed enough to identify the individual uniquely, preventing the arrest of the wrong person.

Secondly, the warrant must state that the individual is accused of committing an offense against Texas law. It is not sufficient for the warrant to vaguely allude to illegal activity; it must specify the particular offense. This clarity is crucial because it informs the accused of the exact nature of the allegations against them, allowing them to prepare a defense. Furthermore, this requirement ensures that the magistrate has considered the specific legal grounds for the arrest, adding another layer of judicial oversight.

The third requisite is that the warrant must be signed by the magistrate who issues it. The magistrate's office must also be indicated either in the body of the warrant or near the signature. This signature is not a mere formality; it signifies the magistrate's authorization and personal accountability for the issuance of the warrant.

How Is An Arrest Warrant Issued?

A magistrate can issue a warrant or summons in several scenarios. One of the primary conditions is when the magistrate is authorized by law to verbally order the arrest of an offender. This authority might be exercised in urgent situations where immediate action is necessary to prevent harm or flight. However, even in those cases, the verbal order must be followed by a written warrant to ensure proper documentation and judicial oversight.

Another scenario in which a magistrate may issue a warrant is when an oath is made before the magistrate that another person has committed an offense. This means that a credible person must swear that they have knowledge of the offense. The requirement for an oath adds a layer of seriousness and accountability, as the person making the oath is legally obligated to tell the truth. This process helps prevent the issuance of warrants based on frivolous or unfounded accusations.

Additionally, the magistrate can issue a warrant in cases where the Code of Criminal Procedure specifically authorizes it. This provision ensures that warrants can be issued in a wide range of circumstances, as long as they are legally sanctioned.

What is a Summons?

A summons serves a similar purpose to a warrant but requires the defendant to appear before a magistrate at a specified time and place instead of being immediately arrested. The summons must be served personally, left at the defendant’s residence with a suitable person, or mailed to the defendant’s last known address. This flexibility in service methods ensures that the defendant is adequately notified and cannot evade the legal process by simply avoiding personal service.

If the defendant fails to appear in response to the summons, a warrant will be issued. This provision ensures that the legal process can proceed even if the defendant initially evades the summons.

Modern technology has also influenced the issuance of warrants and summonses. The law now allows for the use of an electronic broadcast system to present the person’s image to the magistrate. This system enables real-time, two-way communication between the person and the magistrate, ensuring that the requirements are met even if the person is not physically present.

Complaint and Requisites for an Arrest Warrant

A complaint is a formal accusation made before a magistrate or an attorney that charges a person with an offense. The complaint has to include:

  1. Name of the Accused: If the name is known, it must be stated. If unknown, a reasonably definite description has to be provided.
  2. Offense Details: The complaint must show that the accused has committed an offense against the state laws. The affiant, or the person making the complaint, must have good reason to believe the accused committed the offense.
  3. Time and Place: The complaint should specify when and where the offense occurred as accurately as possible.
  4. Signature of the Affiant: The affiant must sign the complaint, either by writing their name or affixing their mark.

Execution and Validity of Warrants

A warrant of arrest issued by any county or district clerk, or by any magistrate (except mayors), extends to every part of the state. This means that a police officer can execute the warrant in any county within Texas, ensuring statewide enforceability.

When a warrant is issued by a mayor of an incorporated city or town, its execution is limited to the issuing county unless it is endorsed by a judge or magistrate, allowing execution in other counties.

The law allows for the forwarding of a warrant by any method that ensures the transmission of a duplicate of the original warrant. The receiving police officer must execute it without delay.

A complaint may also be forwarded, and the magistrate who receives it must issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused immediately.

A judge writing an arrest warrant

In cases where a prosecution is dismissed because of delay, the defendant can be re-arrested upon the issuance of a new indictment or information.

In the execution of a warrant, the officer has to bring the arrested person before the issuing magistrate without unnecessary delay. If the magistrate is in another county, the person should be taken before a local magistrate.

Arrest Procedures and Rights of the Accused

After an arrest, the accused must be taken before a magistrate promptly. This step is crucial to ensure that the accused is informed of their rights and the charges against them as promptly as possible.

The arresting officer must bring the arrested person before a magistrate within 48 hours. The magistrate will inform the person of the accusations, their right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to an examining trial. The magistrate must also ensure that the accused understands these rights, even if they do not speak English or are deaf, by providing appropriate assistance.

Only reasonable force may be used to effect an arrest. Excessive force is prohibited, ensuring that the arrest is conducted in a lawful and humane manner.

The authority for the arrest has to be made known to the accused upon arrest. The police officer is required to inform the person of the crime charged and the existence of the warrant, even if the warrant is not physically present at the time.

Special Cases and Additional Provisions

In some cases, special provisions apply when dealing with warrants. Law enforcement must notify schools if a student is arrested. This is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of all students and staff. The law requires that the head of the law enforcement agency notify the school superintendent within 24 hours of the arrest. This notification must be followed up with written notice within seven days. This helps schools prepare and respond appropriately to potential risks posed by the student's behavior.

Additionally, police officers or state attorneys are prohibited from requiring, requesting, or administering a polygraph examination to a person filing a complaint for certain offenses.

When Warrants Aren’t Needed For Arrests

In Texas, law enforcement officers can arrest you without a warrant in specific situations. If a police officer or any person sees you committing a crime classified as a felony or a public peace offense, they can arrest you on the spot. Similarly, if a felony or breach of peace occurs in the presence of a magistrate who orders the arrest, a warrant is not needed.

Officers can also arrest you without a warrant if you are in a suspicious place or acting in a way that makes them reasonably believe you committed a felony, violated certain laws, breached the peace, or are about to commit a crime. They can arrest you if they have probable cause to believe you committed assault with bodily injury, are in danger of causing further harm, or have committed family violence. If you admit to a felony to an officer, they can arrest you based on that admission.

Additionally, police officers from other jurisdictions can arrest you without a warrant if they see you commit a felony, breach the peace, or violate specific laws, even if they are outside their usual area of authority. These rules ensure officers can act swiftly in urgent situations to maintain public safety.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help With an Arrest Warrant? 

When you face an arrest warrant, a criminal defense lawyer can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights. They start by explaining what the warrant means and what you should expect during each stage. Your lawyer will check the warrant's validity, ensuring it meets all legal requirements and that no errors could affect your case.

Next, your lawyer will help you understand your options. They can negotiate with law enforcement to arrange a voluntary surrender, which might help you avoid a public arrest. This step can make the process less stressful and help maintain your privacy.

Once you are in custody, your lawyer will work to secure your release. They will argue for reasonable bail conditions and prepare you for the bail hearing, explaining what will happen and how to respond.

Throughout this process, your lawyer will also gather evidence and information to build a strong defense. They will communicate with the prosecutor, seek opportunities to reduce charges, and aim to resolve the case as favorably as possible. By having a lawyer by your side, you ensure that someone knowledgeable and experienced is working to protect your interests and achieve the best outcome for you.

  • "Excellent all around. Highly recommend."
    W. N.
  • "I am eternally grateful for all of the efforts they put in to go above and beyond for everyone they help."
    Former Client
  • "They really listen to and care about their client's needs and consistently fight for the best outcome! I am eternally grateful for all of the effort they put in to go above and beyond for everyone they help."
  • 103 Years of Experience
  • 32,000 Cases
  • 357 Trials

Committed to Excellence


Contact Us Today

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy