I Have an Open Warrant in Indiana, But I Live Out of State. How Did This Happen and What Can I Do?

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Indiana is home to several events that draw large crowds.  Whether it be a concert, festival, work conference or sporting event, Indiana has no shortage of activities that bring in out of state visitors. There are several cities and neighborhoods in Indiana that contain amazing restaurants and exciting nightlife.  Sometimes, this can lend itself to trouble.

The following situation has played out countless times:

An individual is in downtown Indianapolis for an event and has a few too many beverages throughout the course of the day/night.  An incident occurs and the individual is arrested and taken to jail.  The individual either bonds out or is released on their own recognizance.  And, then……nothing.  The individual goes on about his/her life, until a month or two (or sometimes more) go by and the person, through a background check or by looking online, sees that there is a warrant for their arrest in Indiana.

How Can This happen?

When arrests are made, the police generate a written report. This report goes to the prosecutor’s office where it is analyzed by a screening prosecutor.  The screening prosecutor reads the police report and decides what, if any, charges should be filed.  If there is a big event occurring in that county, such as the Indianapolis 500 or a music festival, there could be hundreds of police reports flooding the screening prosecutor’s desk.  The screening prosecutor has a narrow window in which to file charges on someone in that is in custody at the jail, so those cases are generally reviewed first.  If someone has been released on their own recognizance or has posted a bond, those cases are generally moved to the bottom of the stack.  Because of this process, along with all the regular duties that the screening prosecutor may have, it can be quite some time before the screening prosecutor gets to any given report for someone that has been released from custody.

What Can I Do About the Warrant?

It is essential to have an experienced attorney that has practiced all across the state to navigate these waters.  The answer, as far as what can be done to address the warrant, will depend greatly upon which county and which judge has issued the warrant.  There are 92 different counties in Indiana, each with their own local rules.  There is not a standard way in which any of these counties address outstanding warrants.  Usually, however, courts tend to follow one of these methods when notified of an individual with an open warrant that wants to address the criminal charges they are facing.

A judge could decide to simply recall the warrant and order the individual to appear in court at a future date.  This is the most simple, least intrusive manner in which courts treat individuals that have an open warrant.  It is also the most uncommon method, and this will typically only occur for those charged with low level, non-violent offenses.

A judge could also keep the warrant open and order the subject to appear in court on a future date.  If the individual appears at the court hearing, the judge may decide to recall the warrant without the individual getting processed at the local jail.

Some counties, however, follow a procedure in which an individual with an open warrant must turn themselves in at the local jail.  There, the individual will be processed and interviewed by a probation officer before a judge will make a determination as to bond or whether to release the individual on their own recognizance.   Typically, the judge will not make this determination until the initial hearing.  In these cases, it is essential to have an attorney that will know the most effective way to minimize the individual’s time at the jail and how to get on the court’s calendar as soon as possible.

It is crucial to have an experienced attorney that has practiced all over the state and that is aware of the local rules in each county, and the attorneys at Banks & Brower are here to help.  Call us anytime at (317) 870-0019 or email us at info@banksbrower.com.