Warrants in Las Vegas, Nevada

Understanding Warrants

Warrants in Las Vegas, Nevada

For most people words like “warrant,” “arraignment,” and “motion to quash” are as foreign as high school French. But do not fear. Although these and other legal words may sound strange, the concept is easy to understand.

A warrant often serves as an introduction to the judicial process for many members of the public. Unfortunately, when warrants are left ignored, serious consequences can flow even for people, who would, otherwise, have nothing on their criminal record.

This article will provide you with a basic understanding of the common types of warrants, and, most important, some of the legal options available for removing warrants.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for a legal advice. If the warrant is issued in your criminal case in Las Vegas, always consult with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. We encourage you to call us at 702-432-1000 to discuss your case.

Types of Warrants

In the criminal justice system there are three (3) basic kinds of warrants:

  • Bench warrants
  • Arrest warrants
  • Search warrants

Each has specific legal boundaries and requires specific justifications to be issued.

The warrants may be challenged in court by a criminal defense attorney.

Each case is unique. Without knowing the specifics of your case it is hard to provide any recommendations. Call Heshmati & Associates at 702-432-1000 to speak with a criminal defense attorney directly. We provide free and confidential consultations.

What is a Bench Warrant?

The bench warrant is the most common type of warrants. The bench warrant is issued directly from the court when the person misses court appearance date.

Why is Missing a Court Date a Big Deal for Judges?

Most judges view a defendant’s absence as a sign of disrespect to the court’s authority. The law requires that the defendant or their lawyer to be present for important court dates regarding their case. If the defendant is not present, the judge has to freeze the defendant’s case within the criminal justice system, until the defendant is present.

So, how can the judge get a missing defendant to appear for their case? By issuing a proclamation to law enforcement that says, if any police come across you, they are to hold and transport you to the court, so that your case can proceed.

For most criminal defendants a bench warrant is issued because they missed their initial court appearance at the scheduled arraignment or court return date.

In Las Vegas, What Happens When You Go to Court With a Bench Warrant?

You may be arrested.

It is always a better idea to contact a lawyer first and learn the status of your case, and then to go to court with a bench warrant. A lawyer will tell you what are the chances that you may end up in jail and recommend strategies to avoid that result.

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Removing a Bench Warrant

To remove a warrant you (or your attorney) will have to ask the court that issued the warrant to remove it.

The process is called a "motion to quash bench warrant".

Most people do not feel comfortable walking into court and asking the judge to remove their warrant. In fact, you may be arrested and placed in jail, if you try to remove your warrant alone. It's better to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can set a time on the court’s calendar for the request to be heard. The attorney may or may not need your presence. You should always ask your attorney what they think is best for you and why.

If the judge feels comfortable that your case will proceed smoothly through the system, he or she will grant a “motion to quash the bench warrant.”

What is an Arrest Warrant?

When a prosecutor believes that he or she has probable cause to charge you with a crime, the prosecutor can either ask the court to summon you to appear or ask the court to send a proclamation to law enforcement to arrest you on sight.

This is an arrest warrant.

As you can imagine, if the court was always issuing arrest warrants, the system would quickly get overloaded and our jails would be overflowing. Instead, a prosecutor will typically only request an arrest warrant, if he or she believes that the defendant is a danger to the community or would ignore the court’s summons to appear on their own.

You should ask your criminal defense attorney, why there is an arrest warrant in your case. A skillful coordination between a defense attorney and the court is needed to minimize the chance of being held in jail or having to pay a high bond for your release. Alternatively, the attorney can secure a bail bondsmen to make sure that the bail can be posted, if the court is not inclined to grant a Walkthrough Own Recognizance Release.

Search Warrant Definition

Search warrants give the police special permission to search your home, car, or office for evidence relating to a potential crime. Search warrants are not arrest warrants. However, a person can be arrested during the execution of a search warrant.

There are special legal rules governing all stages of the search warrant process, including the application for the warrant with a judge, and the execution of the warrant by the police. When there is an error at any stage of the warrant process, the evidence that was found may be suppressed in court.

If a search warrant was issued in your case, a criminal defense attorney can review the entire search warrant process and determine whether the evidence that was found is admissible in the court of law.

Who Issues Search Warrants?

In Nevada, all search warrants are issued by the court where the charges were filed.

Each search warrant must be signed by the judge.

The search warrants are common in drug and firearm possession cases.

Should You Be Given a Copy of a Search Warrant?

Yes. A copy of the search warrant must be given to you. Search warrants are requested by Las Vegas Metro, Henderson Police, North Las Vegas Police, and any other State police agency that are governed by NRS 179.015 - NRS 179.115. The search warrants expire ten (10) days after the request.

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Can Police Execute a Search Warrant at the Hotel in Las Vegas?

Yes. When police execute a search warrant, they take a copy of the warrant to the location to be searched, knock on the door, and announce themselves with the warrant. If they are not allowed in the location (in this case, a hotel room), they can make a forcible entry.

At What Day of the Year Warrants Are Removed?

Many clients are asking us, "At what day of the year warrants are removed?"

Warrants can be removed on any day of the year. When the issue is resolved, the warrant is removed. For example, a criminal defense attorney filed a motion to quash bench warrant on your behalf. If the motion was granted, then the court would remove the warrant. Or, a person missed the court appearance date and because of that the judge issued a bench warrant. Later, that person was found and appeared in court in front of the judge. The warrant would then be removed.

If you need more information or to discuss your warrant, call us at 702-432-1000 and ask to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Nevada?

Once a warrant is issued, it can only be removed by the court. A warrant will not expire based on time. A warrant stay active forever.

Warrants: Confidential or Not?

All bench warrants are public record. A judge will issue the bench warrant in court. The proceedings that happen in court are public record.

Arrest warrants are different. Arrest warrants may be issued under seal. This means a person may not know that the warrant has been issued. Why? Because the police don’t want a person to skip town knowing that there is a warrant issued for his or her arrest.

Search warrants are also issued under seal. The police do not want give a person the chance to hide or destroy evidence.

Las Vegas Attorneys Experienced at Removing Warrants

If you have a warrant issued in your criminal case, call the office of Heshmati & Associates at 702-432-1000 to schedule a free face-to-face or over-the-phone consultation.

Warrants can be tricky business. The attorneys at Heshmati & Associates routinely and successfully handle motions to quash bench warrants and know how to make the process of lifting arrest warrants easy and painless.

Hiring a good Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can greatly increase your chances of staying out of jail.

Last updated on April 19, 2017.

Additional Resources:
Free Warrant Search

Civil Law Self-Help Center. To look up your court case, click on the name of the court where your case is pending and follow the steps on that court's website.

Active Warrants Information. You can find here the list of active warrants issued by Henderson Municipal Court.

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Phone: 702-432-1000

Fax: 702-446-6776

Heshmati & Associates
515 S. 7th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101-6903

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