Arrested on a Warrant? What happens?

Arrest Warrants: What happens next?  A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s | Attorney’s Perspective.

Occasionally, a prosecutor’s office in Washington State will file a complaint | criminal charge and the court will issue a warrant and no notice will be given to you.

Why is a Warrant Issued?

Washington court rules have a preference for summoning people to voluntarily appear in court for most-lower level crimes (misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and most low felony charges). However, occasionally, if the prosecutor and facts convince a court that there is reasonable cause to believe “that the defendant (i) will not appear in response to a summons, (ii) will commit a violent offense, (iii) will interfere with witnesses or the administration of justice, or (iv) is in custody”, the court can and will issue a warrant instead of asking someone to come in and voluntarily appear for any crime that can result in jail time (no warrants for speeding tickets). CrR 2.2, CrRLJ 2.2.


In the case of felonies (technically even low level ones), there is no preference for summons, and judges have more discretion to do what they feel is right.  Courts may issue a summons to voluntarily appear in court instead of issuing a warrant unless the court finds “reasonable cause to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to a summons, or that arrest is necessary to prevent bodily harm to the accused or another, in which case it may issue a warrant.”  CrR 2.2, CrRLJ 2.2.

Getting out of Jail.

Unless the offense is a capitol offense (like murder), bail and/or other conditions of release will be spelled out in the Order proposed by the prosecuting attorney that authorized and ordered the warrant. CrR 2.2, CrRLJ 2.2.  Getting out of jail requires posting bail, or if the bail is too high, having your lawyer argue bail at your arraignment.  If you are picked up on such a warrant, your arraignment date will be within 14 days if

Defendant Detained in Jail.  The defendant shall be arraigned not later than 14 days after the date the information or indictment is filed in the adult division of the superior court, if the defendant is (i) detained in the jail of the county where the charges are pending or (ii) subject to conditions of release imposed in connection with the same charges. Rule CrR 4.1,  Rule CrRLJ 4.1.

Our office routinely calls to find out bail amounts and what the next arraignment date will be.

The criminal defense lawyers | attorneys in our office have handled an enormous number of complicated cases in the criminal arena over the course of our criminal law careers. We are a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police reports claim and our clients hire us because they want staunch and effective counsel who takess the time to make sure their rights are protected. Whether our role is as legal counsel, negotiator, or litigator, we have years of experience fighting and resolving criminal cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.

Robert Rhodes

With a successful background in law, courtrooms, wrestling, rugby and jujitsu, Robert Rhodes’s nature is well-suited for argument and litigation. Mr. Rhodes knows how to talk clearly and directly to his clients, adversaries and to the Court. His common sense, straight talk and experience put his clients immediately at ease. Mr. Rhodes does not do anything half way and you will sense this when you meet him. Read more >>