New York, just like many other states, can issue a warrant of arrest when there is sufficient evidence that the person of interest committed a crime. New York law enforcement officers can't simply arrest a person without a reason, so they must either be witness to the crime when it happens, or gather enough evidence to merit a valid warrant through a judge.
Examples of reasons for an arrest warrant are:
- Witnesses report a crime
- Crime is caught on video
- Person skips bail
- Alleged criminal escapes police pursuit
- Fingerprints are found at crime scene
- A federal indictment
Once a person has an active arrest warrant in New York the only way to resolve it is to go through the court system, or have a judge dismiss it.
If you believe that you or somebody that you know has a warrant, we recommend that you do a New York warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.
Types of Warrants in New York
The most common types of warrants in New York, and the rest of the country are:
- Search warrants
- Bench warrants
- Arrest warrants
Arrest warrants are specifically implemented as a resolution for a crime that has been committed, while bench warrants and search warrants are handled in different manners.
New York Bench Warrants
In the state of New York, a judge will typically implement a bench warrant if a person fails to appear at a court date, or does not pay a fine on time. At any time a person does not comply with an order from the court, or fails to follow through with an agreement imposed by the court a judge has the right to remand that person into custody to further face the court.
Instances that can result in a bench warrant are:
- Failure to pay a fine
- Failure to appear in court
- Child support issues
- Traffic court issues
Bench warrants are not typically as high of a priority to law enforcement officers as arrest warrants, but a person that has an active bench warrant will be in the system. If they get pulled over, or asked to show identification at any time, the police will most likely take them into custody, or issue them a promise to appear.
Search Warrants in New York
In order to obtain a search warrant for a person or an area of property that belongs to a person the officer that wants to search must obtain a valid search warrant signed by a judge, otherwise it is an illegal search.
The New York search warrant laws are in place in order to protect the citizens from invasive, unauthorized searches by law enforcement officers.
Property can be searched and seized in the State of New York with a search warrant in situations such as:
- Suspicion of theft or stolen property
- Suspicion of felonious activity
- Suspicion of possessing child pornography
- Suspicion of selling illegal drugs
- Suspicion of harboring or selling illegal weapons
Pretty much any activity that involves a felony can be grounds for a law enforcement officer to obtain a search warrant. However, there has to be probable cause.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is in place to further the accountability and responsibility of the state to protect the rights of the citizens from being abused by law enforcement officers. Because of this amendment, there must be enough probable cause present to legally merit any search warrant.
When Can an Arrest Warrant Be Issued in New York State?
In the state of New York, a warrant can be issued regardless of if you're charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. It doesn't matter how severe the offense is, any offense can have a warrant issued for an arrest.
- Alleged driving under the influence
- Alleged shoplifting
- Alleged vehicle theft
- Alleged indecent exposure
A warrant can be issued after a judge has heard testimony on a crime that has been committed or after a judge has reviewed an ongoing police case. In either case, it's up to the judge if a particular matter would be considered an authorized reason to issue a warrant for the person in question's arrest.
Receiving a Summons in New York
In some cases, the judge will decide that a summons is more fitting for the matter at hand. A summons is much like a warrant in many ways.
Both a warrant and a summons require for the person in question to appear in court. The big difference is that with a summons, you're notified and given a court date to appear. With a warrant, it's a lot more likely that the person in question will be arrested by the police and brought to court. It's a little more complicated than just that sentence, but we'll get back into that in a moment.
What do New York Warrants Look Like?
In the state of New York, only local criminal courts are able to issue warrants. Generally speaking, the warrant needs to be issued in the same city where the crime was committed. If that's not possible, nearby towns in the same county are able to do this. Every New York warrant must contain:
- The name of the defendant.
- The crimes the defendant is being charged with.
- Signature from the judge.
- Name of the judge's office.
- Date and time of the issuance of the warrant.
Without these details, a warrant can be considered invalid. An invalid warrant can cause a lot of issues during the trial. Most judges are on top of their responsibilities when it comes to this, so it's rare that you see a warrant that has any mistakes on it.
When and How Can a Warrant be Executed?
A warrant of arrest can be addressed to any group, class, or single police officer. Typically, it is addressed to groups of police officers that are within the area where the warrant was issued because they're the most likely to be able to respond quickly to a warrant.
A warrant can be executed, generally, only by the officers that it was addressed to. There are a few exceptions that allow for other police officers to execute the warrant, and the officers that the warrant was addressed to are allowed to delegate the warrant to someone else if certain conditions are met.
An Out of County Offense
The most common reason why a police officer would delegate a warrant to another police officer that wasn't addressed to it is that the officer believes that the defendant is in a county other than the one where the warrant was issued that also isn't next to the county where the warrant was issued.
The police officer isn't allowed to leave their jurisdiction to find the defendant, so they need officers that are able to operate in the county they believe the defendant to be in to handle the warrant for them. Typically, nearby counties are alerted of warrants that they may need to be on the lookout for.
New York Statewide Court Stipulations
If a district court, the New York City Court, and a superior court judge sitting as a local criminal court is the court responsible for the warrant, the warrant can be executed in any part of the state. It's also possible for city and town courts to request that a warrant be executable anywhere in the state, depending on what crime was committed and how high the flight risk is.
Endorsements from higher courts are not uncommon for certain crimes, but it's not the only kind of endorsement a warrant can receive.
New York County Expansion
Warrants can also be endorsed by other local courts in other counties. A warrant can be executed in the county where the warrant was issued, but also in surrounding counties. That means that if a warrant is endorsed by a county on the other side of the state, that warrant is executable in both the county of origin, the endorsing county, and all counties surrounding both.
As far as when a warrant can be executed, there's not really a time constraint. Any warrant can be executed day or night, weekend or weekday. Warrants can even be executed on holidays.
The most important thing is that, unless the police officer believes that it would result in a fight or a flight, the officer must let the defendant know that there's a warrant out for their arrest.
Police officers are also allowed to enter certain facilities if they have a reasonable suspicion that the defendant is located within them. If the defendant is believed to be in a facility that isn't owned by them, the police officer will try to gain entry by giving proof of his authority, but if the officer believes that there is a risk of someone being injured or property damage they are allowed to enter regardless.
Understanding the Warrant Laws in New York
Warrant Searches understands just how difficult it can be to decipher the laws on the books, especially when it comes to our criminal justice system. Fortunately, we are able to provide you with tools both to learn more about the laws in your state as well as find out if anyone you love has a warrant out for their arrest.
Regardless of which state that you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.