Articles Posted in Warrants

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The U.S. Court of Appeals is currently deciding whether the police need a warrant to put a GPS tracking device in a person’s car.

The case under review stems from a series of pharmacy robberies investigated by Philadelphia police in 2010. After pulling over electrician Harry Katzin, the police found tools, gloves and a ski mask in his van. After Katzin said they were his work tools, he was let go.

rearview.jpgHowever, the police and the FBI then put a GPS tracking device under the bumper of Katzin’s van. After another robbery, the police tracked down the van. They found Katzin and his brothers, Mark and Michael, inside with a large stash of cash, pills and other store property.

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In January of 2012 the U.S Supreme court held that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constituted a search under the 4th Amendment. This decision meant that law enforcement was required to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS device on a vehicle.

The California Legislature responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by passing Assembly Bill 2055 which changed California law to explicitly allow law enforcement to apply to a judge for a search warrant to install a GPS device.

This response by the legislature was intended to conform California law to the Supreme Court’s ruling however the problem is that AB 2055 only “allows” law enforcement to apply for a search warrant but does not “require” them to. So, this new change in California law really has no practical effect. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that law enforcement is required to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS device on a vehicle and that is the law of the land regardless of California’s response to it.

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bench warrant is essentially a warrant for your immediate arrest. Any law enforcement officer who discovers that you have a warrant out for your arrest can take you into custody and bring you before the court.

A common way in which people with bench warrants are discovered and taken into custody is when they are stopped for traffic violations. The officer will run the person’s driver’s license in his or her computer and see that there is a bench warrant issued against them.

Why are Bench Warrants Issued?


The most common reasons that people have a bench warrant issued for their arrest are:

  • Failure to appear in court for a traffic violation
  • Failure to pay court ordered fees
  • Failure to obey any court order (e.g., order to attend classes)
  • A violation of the terms of your probation

The reason they are called “bench warrants” is because they are issued by the judge from the bench. For example, if the judge calls your case in court, but you are not present, the judge will likely issue a bench warrant.

If you believe that you have a bench warrant out for your arrest, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you resolve the matter. For warrants that involve a misdemeanor, you can hire an attorney to appear in court on your behalf without you being present in court. Your attorney may be able to have the warrant recalled and allow you to move on with your life.

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Rap mogul Suge Knight built his reputation on being a thug who happened to work in the rap industry. His label, Death Row Records, signed artists like 2Pac and Snoop Doggie Dog. So when news spread that Knight was facing possible jail time, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The fact that he is facing jail time for unpaid traffic tickets is.

Knight’s criminal defense attorney appeared in a Las Vegas court today to push back a traffic hearing to later this month. Knight did not appear. That apparently, was the original problem as well. Knight received a traffic ticket in 2008, failed to appear in court on that matter and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Knight was arrested in Las Vegas last month on that warrant.

As any criminal defense attorney will tell you, in addition to late penalties and fees for unpaid traffic tickets, ignoring them all together will result in a warrant for your arrest. At that point, the costs and consequences far outweigh temporary procrastination.

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WarrantsAn arrest warrant is usually a printed form filled in by a judge or magistrate directing any peace officer to arrest a particular individual and bring him or her before the judge. Once a person is arrested, he or she must be taken before the judge without unnecessary delay within 48 hours after the arrest. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the time prescribed by the law to bring a person to a court does not include Sundays and holidays. Saturday is a court holiday in California, so it is practically possible for a person who is arrested on Thursday night to be brought to court only on the following Monday afternoon for his or her arraignment.

A bench warrant, on the other hand, is a document issued by a judge directing any peace officer to bring to court a person or a witness who fails to appear when previously instructed to do so by the court. This type of a warrant is sometimes called “body attachment.” Bench warrants for nonappearing subpoenaed witnesses may only be issued when the subpoena was personally served on such a witness. The court will not issue a bench warrant for a witness who was only served with a subpoena in mail. At the same time, when an individual, who is charged with a misdemeanor and is represented by counsel, fails to appear in court when directed to do so by the trial judge, his or her attorney may be permitted to schedule a new date for a next court appearance.

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The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) implemented a policy seeking to prevent people from using government benefits if they are fleeing from arrest. However, rather than trying to seek out individuals who were actually fleeing from prosecution, SSA used a computer matching system that matched names in warrant databases to those at SSA. Unfortunately, many of these suspensions involved false or unproven allegations, minor infractions or long-dormant arrest warrants. Despite the fact that regulations provide for an appeal process, individuals were inaccurately informed that they could not appeal.

Under the new law, the Social Security Administration has stopped suspending or denying benefits due to the mere existence of a warrant. Now, it can suspend or deny benefits based on outstanding felony arrest warrants only for the crimes of (1) flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, (2) escape from custody, or (3) flight-escape.

However, the law does not apply to persons whose benefits were denied or stopped because of an arrest warrant due to a parole or probation violation.

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A recent California Court of Appeals decision in People v. Hirata held that a search warrant is invalid after the passing of a substantial period of time. In this case, the period of time was 84 days.

The defendant (Hirata) was charged with possessing drugs and being part of a drug conspiracy ring. Investigators had built substantial evidence against Hirata and a number of other co-conspirators. Armed with this information, the authorities put together an affidavit and were able to secure a search warrant for a number of the residences believed to be a part of the conspiracy. The search warrant was signed and put into effect on June 14; however, it was not executed (when the search actually took place) until September 4.

Hirata argued that the information that had provided the basis for the search warrant was “stale” and could not be used to support the search that took place on September 4 because 84 days had passed in the interim. Hirata also argued, among other things, that the search warrant did not show that “anything would still be located at [his] residence. . . on September 4.” The Appellate court agreed with this argument and affirmed an order to suppress the evidence that was seized as a result of the invalid warrant. The Appellate court also ruled that the evidence seized from the old “stale” warrant would not fall within the good faith exception to the warrant requirement (that the police acted in good faith not knowing that the warrant was invalid) because a warrant more than 2 months old is clearly invalid to support a search.

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In general, police must have a warrant before entering a residence. Of course, certain exceptions apply to the general rule which requires a warrant before entry. One such exception is known as the, “emergency exception.” The emergency exception is often used by police and prosecutors to justify a warrantless entry. Hiring a Riverside criminal defense attorney who can identify all constitutional violations by the police may mean the difference between jail and freedom in your case.

The emergency exception contains three elements, as follows:

  1. Police must have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an emergency at hand and an immediate need for their assistance for the protection of life or property
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Several recent Court rulings have addressed the issue of consent entry into one’s residence. The issue of lawful consent becomes more complex when dealing with a residence shared by two occupants. In Georgia v. Randolph (2006) 164 L Ed.2d 208, the court held that if two occupants are at the door and one says officers may enter and the other refuses consent to enter, then officers cannot enter unless there is some other basis for doing so.

Whenever dealing with law enforcement entry into the home, it is necessary to consult an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your constitutional rights. Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations are very common and highly relevant to the outcome your case. Identifying any and all constitutional violations may mean the difference between jail and freedom.

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case. We can help you.

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Two leading domestic violence cases, People v. Frye (1998) 18 Cal.App.4th 894 and People v. Wilkins (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 761, have held that law enforcement entries into a suspect’s home were lawful as consent entries. The court in People v. Frye stated as follows; it may be inferred from the fact the victim and defendant resided together in the apartment that the victim possessed authority to consent to the officer’s entry.

Consent to enter may be express or implied. For example, officers were standing outside the open door asking the victim who had hurt her. The victim motioned to the defendant lying on the couch inside the home. The officers stepped into the apartment to see who the victim was pointing at. Such actions provide sufficient indication of victim’s consent to the entry.

A knowledgable criminal defense attorney can advise you as to the relevant domestic violence case law and the current state of the law. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case. We can help you.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.