If you know you have a warrant for your arrest and want to clear it before you are arrested, you will have to make contact with the court that issued the warrant. You can do this in person or through an attorney. You must arrange to appear before a judge in the court that issued the warrant in order to clear it. If you voluntarily appear at the police station or district attorney's office when there is a felony warrant outstanding, you will be arrested and taken to jail before you see the judge.
Understand the Charges Filed Against You
Gather all the information you can about the outstanding felony warrant by contacting the government agencies involved with the warrant. You will want to know the charges filed against you, the bail amount, and date and file number for the warrant, as well as any facts stated in the warrant. In some jurisdictions, you may find outstanding warrant information online, such in the City of Newport News, Virginia, which is available to the general public. In most situations, you will have to call the clerk of court, district attorney's office or law enforcement agency involved with issuance of the warrant.
Consult an Attorney
Speak with an experienced criminal attorney in your area who is familiar with how criminal cases are handled in the court that issued the warrant. Provide the attorney with all the information you have gathered about the warrant. The attorney can advise you on what to expect when you appear in court on the warrant and represent you in court.
Appear Before the Judge
Appear at the court before the judge who issued your felony arrest warrant, which must occur before it can be cleared. If you are appearing without an attorney, contact the court ahead of time to find out when the judge is on the bench for criminal hearings. Do not expect to discuss the merits of the charges with the judge. You should be focused solely on having the warrant cleared and indicating to the judge your willingness to voluntarily appear in future case hearings set by the court so that you can be released without posting bail. If you are appearing with an attorney, follow your attorney's instructions.
- When you voluntarily appear before the judge who issued your arrest warrant, you make it more likely the judge will release you on your own recognizance or lower your bail. You are also saved the embarrassment of being arrested at home or at work, in front of family, friends and co-workers.
- If you voluntarily appear at the police station or district attorney's office when there is a felony warrant outstanding, you will be arrested and taken to jail before you see the judge. If you voluntarily appear at the court, you might also be arrested and jailed before you see the judge. You should consider hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to arrange for your appearance on the warrant so that you won't simply be taken to jail just for showing up.
Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.