Can You Simply Pay Off a Warrant? Steps to Clear a Warrant for Arrest
Let’s talk warrants. Just the word itself makes most people anxious. Visions of getting hauled off to jail in handcuffs fill your mind.
But take a deep breath. You have more options than you realize. This isn’t the end of the line.
At Durham Law Firm, we’ve helped hundreds of clients deal with warrants in Nevada. No one expects to get that document signed by a judge. But it happens. And with our guidance, many warrants get cleared up without setting foot in jail.
So, if you have an outstanding warrant in Nevada, know there are paths forward. Let’s walk through this together.
The Warrant Breakdown
Firstly, there are a few common types of warrants to be aware of:
- Arrest warrants: These warrants authorize police to arrest you and bring you before a judge. Around 90% of warrants fall into this category.
- Bench warrants: When you miss a court date or violate a court order, a judge issues a bench warrant, ordering your arrest.
- Search warrants: These warrants give police the OK to search your property for specific evidence. Search warrants are often part of criminal investigations.
- Traffic warrants: These are issued when you fail to appear for a traffic violation like a speeding ticket. Traffic warrants typically apply within the county they’re issued.
What Happens When There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest?
Once a judge signs the warrant, it grants police the legal authority to take you into custody per Nevada law, NRS 171.114. This means that any law enforcement officer can arrest you based on that warrant.
Typically, officers will transport you to the nearest jail or detention facility. You may have to go through processing, which includes getting photographed, fingerprinted, and changing into a jail uniform. It’s an unpleasant and demoralizing experience.
You will need to remain in custody until the police arrange to bring you before a judge, which could take hours or even days, depending on court schedules. Sitting in a cell waiting and worrying makes minutes feel like hours.
When you finally go before the judge, that’s when you’ll have the chance to share your side of the story and situation. But by then, you’ve already experienced the scare and inconvenience of being arrested and jailed on the warrant.
Here’s the troubling thing—warrants don’t just disappear on their own. Even if you lay low and try to avoid police contact, the warrant remains indefinitely valid within the court system per NRS 171.178. Years can go by, but that warrant is always there waiting, ready to be executed at any time.
Can You Pay Off or Clear the Warrant Without Appearing in Court?
No, You Cannot Simply Pay Off a Warrant.
It’s natural to hope there might be a way to resolve a warrant without turning yourself in. Perhaps you think you can just pay a fine, post a bond, or settle it over the phone.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Warrants are ordered by judges specifically because you failed to comply properly with the court process. You may have missed a court date, owe fines, or violated probation.
Whatever the initial issue, a warrant means the court wants you to appear in person before a judge to address the legal matter. Simply paying money does not satisfy the court that this matter has been fully resolved.
Trying to take care of a warrant informally or remotely will not make it go away. The only path forward is through the proper court procedures.
Hiring a Lawyer Provides the Best Chance to Clear a Warrant
Does this mean you’re doomed to sit in jail waiting for a court hearing? Absolutely not. A skilled criminal justice attorney can be your best friend in this situation.
An experienced lawyer has insider knowledge of prosecutors and the courts. They have tools for potentially getting warrants recalled or quashed without you having to appear before a judge.
In many cases, your attorney can re-open the original case and negotiate agreements with the prosecutor’s office. There are situations where we can resolve that old charge or probation violation that led to the warrant in the first place.
A good lawyer knows how to work the system properly from the inside to take care of warrants through legal channels. Their experience can keep you out of jail in the process.
Steps to Take if There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest
Let’s get specific – what should you do if you discover there is an active warrant out for your arrest?
Having a warrant hanging over your head is unnerving. But you’re not powerless. Here are proactive steps you can take to get the situation under control:
Consult with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Finding a qualified lawyer you trust should be your first call. An experienced criminal defense attorney is critical for strategically navigating the legal system.
They can walk you through your options and represent your best interests in negotiations with police and prosecutors. There are situations where we can make warrants go away without the client ever stepping foot in jail.
Every case is unique, so having someone to guide you through the process one-on-one is invaluable. Their know-how can save you from sitting behind bars.
Consider Voluntarily Surrendering on the Warrant
For some types of minor warrants, you may be able to voluntarily surrender yourself to the court. The police will arrest you, but then you can post bail and be released in a matter of hours.
While certainly not fun, formally submitting the warrant in this way can reset the situation and get you back on track legally. It shows you are taking the initiative to address the matter properly.
Of course, the specific details matter tremendously. Your attorney can best advise you if voluntarily surrendering is the wisest path forward or if alternatives may exist.
Attend Your Court Hearing
If there is already a court date set in association with your warrant, attending the hearing gets you back in front of the judge.
Showing up demonstrates a willingness to comply. In some cases, the judge may be satisfied and withdraw the warrant when you appear.
Having your attorney by your side helps ensure the best possible outcome when facing the judge. Negotiating with prosecutors directly without representation is typically not recommended.
Consequences of Ignoring an Active Warrant
Ignoring a warrant is not a path to making it go away. Actively evading an outstanding warrant will only compound your problems down the road.
Here are some potential consequences of letting a warrant hang over your head indefinitely:
- You could get arrested at any moment – whether during a routine traffic stop or when police run your name for any reason. Even minor interactions can alert officers to warrants.
- Ignoring the warrant may lead authorities to file additional charges against you for evading law enforcement under NRS 199.335. This lands you in even deeper legal trouble.
- The warrant will remain active indefinitely until addressed through proper court procedures. It will never just resolve itself or vanish over time.
- Having an outstanding warrant prevents you from fully moving on with your life. The threat of sudden arrest at any time hangs over everything.
The only way to move forward is by tackling the warrant head-on through above-board legal channels. Let an experienced attorney protect your rights and help guide you toward resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do warrants expire in Nevada?
No, warrants do not expire in Nevada. An old warrant can still be valid, leading to your arrest even many years later. There is no statute of limitations on outstanding warrants in the state.
If I violate probation terms, will that result in a warrant?
Yes, if you are on probation and fail to meet the requirements – like missing meetings with your probation officer or failing a drug test – the court can issue a warrant for your arrest for violating probation under Nevada law NRS 176A.630. Any alleged violations of probation terms could trigger a warrant.
How often do police check for warrants during routine stops?
Very often. Any time you interact with police, like during a traffic stop, the officers can and do routinely check their databases for any outstanding warrants associated with your license and identity. Even minor stops can alert police to old warrants.
If I have a warrant, do I have to go straight to jail?
Not necessarily. Turning yourself in may be one option, but depending on the specifics of your case, your attorney may be able to work out a resolution that keeps you out of jail. There are often alternatives to detention that a lawyer can pursue. The key is taking action on the warrant promptly.
Don’t Hesitate to Address Your Warrant – Contact Us Today
With an outstanding warrant, you have a critical choice to make.
You can let uncertainty and fear control the next chapter of your life. Or you can take back power by seeking legal guidance.
At Durham Law Firm, our attorneys have the courtroom experience in both federal and state courts to protect your rights. We’ve helped hundreds of clients quietly resolve warrants without ever stepping foot in jail.
Don’t wait and risk the consequences of an open warrant. You have options – but your window to act is now. Contact Durham Law Firm in Las Vegas now for your free case review. Our bilingual team of seasoned attorneys is ready to walk this journey with you every step of the way. Your fresh start begins today.