If you learn that police are looking for you, contact a warrant lawyer right away. Even if you believe the police are mistaken, don't ignore the situation.
When police are looking for you, it's probably due to a bench warrant, an arrest warrant, or an i-card.
If there's an i-card or a warrant with your name on it, you should voluntarily surrender, for at least two good reasons:
A bench warrant is an order issued by a judge, authorizing police to immediately arrest you.
A judge will issue a bench warrant when you fail to meet a court obligation. For example:
Ignoring a bench warrant is a very bad idea. There can be numerous consequences, such as:
If the court has issued a bench warrant, contact me. We'll figure out why, and determine the best way to deal with the warrant.
If you missed court for medical reasons, or due to a death in the family, promptly providing documents to the Court is the best way to establish your excuse.
Vacating a bench warrant by returning to court soon after the missed date is usually the best thing to do.
Bench warrants sometimes can be avoided by sending your lawyer to court on the scheduled court date, with documentation proving your excuse for not being there.
An arrest warrant is also an order issued by a judge, directing police to arrest the person named in the warrant.
Typically, a court will issue an arrest warrant with your name on it when a grand jury indicts you. The arrest warrant authorizes police to arrest you, and bring you to court to answer the charges in the indictment.
If you learn that an arrest warrant exists, contact a warrant lawyer immediately, to arrange your surrender and represent you at your arraignment.
Hiring a lawyer in advance can reduce the time you spend in custody between arrest and arraignment. It will also give you an opportunity to make arrangements to post bail if the Court sets bail at your arraignment.
Don't ignore the warrant. Don't hide out or flee. Your voluntary surrender is a strong fact in favor of the Court releasing from custody while the criminal case is pending.
An i-card is not issued by a judge. It's not a warrant, even though police might refer to it as one.
An i-card is an NYPD notification identifying you as a suspect or "a person of interest".
Police will search for you in connection with an i-card. If they know where you live, they'll stop by your home. If they know where you work, they'll stop by your office. If you're wanted in connection with a non-violent crime or if you're difficult to locate, police might call you and ask you to meet them at the police station.
You might first learn about an i-card when police stop you for an unrelated reason, such as a traffic infraction. When police run your name through NYPD databases, as they routinely do, the i-card will appear. You'll then be arrested and arraigned.
Here are some important do's and don'ts when you learn you have an i-card:
For a free consultation about an i-card, a bench warrant, or an arrest warrant in New York City, call warrant lawyer Bruce Yerman at 212-390-0036, or complete this short form: