Finding you have a warrant for a probation violation can be very stressful. We’ll help you understand how these things work and what you should do, but the first piece of advice is always to call us. Every situation is different and your level of fear can get in the way of handling a probation violation properly. So, what can you do about a Probation Violation Warrant?
The first thing you will need to do on a probation violation is clear the warrant. The best way to clear a probation warrant is to get the probation reinstated or discharged. If the matter is resolved there’s no more need for a warrant or a hold on that warrant. This is definitely a spot where having expert help is critical. It’s not something you can go in and do yourself. This won’t always work but when it does it’s magical and should be the first thing your lawyer should try to do for you. It happens more than you might expect.
The typical way a probation warrant gets cleared is when the probationer gets arrested, either by surprise when their name is run by police, for example, in a traffic stop. You may also turn yourself in if you have a probation violation warrant. Any law enforcement officer who encounters you is commanded to take you into custody. You may also find you get cuffed when you go to your meeting with your probation officer. Any of these will start the process of arrest, book-in, arraignment, and setting of bail. On misdemeanors, the magistrate will usually set bail. So on misdemeanors, unless you have some sort of bad history of failing to appear for court, it’s usually pretty straightforward to have bail set and bond out.
On felonies, however, bail will typically not be set at arraignment. Th e problem with this is you’ll likely get stuck in jail for days or even weeks, possibly longer. And if you have the misfortune to be arrested out of state, you could get stuck for long periods as well. (In that case, please call, and remember – it can sometimes be critical not to sign a waiver of extradition.)
In Covid-19 times, most agencies are more restrictive about what cases they’ll pick up prisoners on. All agencies are still confirming warrants and picking up prisoners on violent felonies, but for many non-violent felonies, as well as most misdemeanors, many agencies aren’t confirming the warrants when they get the call, or they confirm but then elect not to pick up. We can check with the fugitive section and see what they are planning to do on cases we’re hired on. And it can even be difficult to turn yourself in on warrants during the pandemic. So if you need to get your case resolved quickly, you have one more reason to go ahead and hire a laywer who can work to get you moved through the system.
Often, we can avoid much of the delay in this process by getting a bond pre-set and arranging a walk-through to clear the warrant. In fact, sometimes we can shortcut the whole process and resolve the violation altogether. In that case, the warrant is recalled and you are never arrested. This obviously avoids a lot of stress and prevents the expense of posting bond.
We haven’t touched on the many ways a person can be found to have violated probation. This topic is covered in our post, What will violate probation?