The criminal justice system is full of fees, and there is always a cost to be paid somewhere. Arrest warrants are no exception, but the warrant itself is not like a bill that can simply be paid off.
You cannot simply pay off a warrant because warrants do not impose a cost on criminal defendants. People sometimes confuse paying bail with paying a warrant. Bail comes after the warrant has been executed and the suspect has been taken into custody. There are generally two types of arrest warrants. Standard arrest warrants originate with the police, while bench warrants are handed down from judges. You may have to post bail for either warrant to stay out of jail. If you are arrested and cannot afford to pay bail, you might have to wait in jail while we petition to have your bail reduced or reconsidered.
If you believe there is a warrant out for your arrest, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you try to clear the warrants and avoid arrest or begin preparing for a bail hearing. For a free case evaluation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.
Do I Have to Pay Money to Clear a Warrant in New Jersey?
You do not have to pay any sum of money to clear a warrant. Even if you wanted to, this is not an option. Warrants are not bills that can be paid off. They are legal devices that authorize law enforcement to take people into custody. However, there are still various costs associated with arrest warrants and the arrest process. The primary cost most arrestees deal with is bail.
People sometimes mistakenly believe they just have to pay a fine or fee to make an arrest warrant go away. While there might be fines and fees related to the underlying criminal charges of your case, there are none for the warrant itself. Warrants do not work this way. Even the richest person in the world cannot simply pay off an arrest warrant.
Our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys can help you figure out what to do next when you realize there is a warrant out for your arrest. If you have already been arrested, we can help you assert your rights during criminal processing with the police and begin arguments for your bail hearing.
What Do I Have to Pay for an Arrest Warrant in New Jersey?
If you are arrested on a warrant, there are a few steps to get through before the subject of payment comes up. Generally, a defendant is taken into custody for booking and criminal processing after an arrest. This usually involves fingerprinting, mug shots, and taking personal and biographical information to verify the defendant’s identity. The defendant may also be questioned by the police, which may take several hours or more, depending on the case.
Once you get through criminal processing, you will have your first encounter with a judge at a hearing called the first appearance. At your first appearance, pretrial conditions, including the possibility of bail, are set. Although bail has gone through several reforms in New Jersey and other states, cash bail is still a possibility for some defendants. Our Cape May criminal defense attorneys can argue for the least restrictive bail possible, and hopefully you can be released without paying anything or only very minimal costs.
You cannot prepay bail as a way to avoid being arrested. The arrest is not solely about throwing someone in jail but is about detaining suspects, verifying their identity, and kicking off the criminal justice process. Even if you are released on your own recognizance and do not have to pay any money for bail, you may still be arrested first.
Types of Arrest Warrants in New Jersey
Standard arrest warrants are issued when a suspect has allegedly committed a new crime. The police must first gather enough probable cause to support their assertions that a crime has been committed and a specific suspect is the perpetrator. A judge must be convinced of this probable cause and sign off on the warrant. Standard warrants are very specific and only apply to one person. They do not give law enforcement free rein to snatch people off the streets.
Bench warrants are issued when a defendant misses a court date or violates a court order. These warrants are arguably less serious than standard arrest warrants, and the police do not usually act on them right away. In fact, the police are likely to wait until they encounter you later, like at a traffic stop. If you are aware of a warrant before you are arrested, call our Egg Harbor criminal defense attorneys for help immediately. We might be able to help you clear the warrant or at least begin preparing for your bail hearing.
You may have to pay bail if you are arrested under either type of warrant. Even bench warrants that do not involve new crimes may require defendants to post bail to secure pretrial release. In some cases, defendants arrested on bench warrants will have their bail revoked, usually if the warrant was issued for skipping bail in the first place.
What If I Cannot Afford to Pay for a New Jersey Arrest Warrant?
The payment most people associate with warrants (i.e., bail) is to secure pretrial release, meaning you are released from jail while you wait for your next court date. If you cannot afford this payment, you may not be released. If that is the case, you must wait for your trial from a jail cell.
This is problematic because the criminal justice process can sometimes be slow, and defendants who cannot afford bail might sit behind bars for weeks or months without being convicted. Our Haddonfield, NJ criminal defense attorneys can help you petition the court to reconsider your bail conditions. This might mean reducing the amount of money you have to pay or adjusting the terms and conditions, like requirements to avoid drugs and alcohol. We can even argue for cashless bail, depending on your charges.
Call Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys for Assistance
You cannot simply pay off a warrant, but you might have to pay bail to secure your pretrial release after a warrant is executed. Our Ocean City criminal defense attorneys can help you through this process. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case review.