Felony Arrest Warrant Police Procedures


A felony arrest warrant may be issued to detain a person in police custody until an arraignment is scheduled. A felony is a higher level of criminal offense committed--usually punishable by a year or more in prison--such as possession of drugs, murder, kidnapping, passing bad checks and embezzlement. When a felony arrest warrant is issued, there are procedures law enforcement officers must follow in order for the warrant to be valid, such as listing the name or description of the accused person, and the crime of which she is accused.

Felony Arrest Warrant

  • A felony arrest warrant is an order a judge has issued for law enforcement agencies to arrest and bring in a person accused of and charged with a crime to jail or police custody. Before a felony arrest warrant is issued, procedure calls for the district/state attorney, a police officer and/or the alleged victim to make a sworn statement that the accused person committed a crime.

Name and Description of Accused Person

  • When a felony arrest warrant is issued, the name of the accused individual must be listed on the felony arrest warrant. Sometimes names have misspellings, and if a person is served the felony arrest warrant, he can legally deny it is him because of the misspelling. Sometimes the arrest warrant lists the accused person as unknown, because the alleged felon has aliases he uses. That is why the proper procedure for the felony arrest warrant calls for a reasonably definite description of the accused.

Judge or Magistrate Signature

  • Before police may serve a felony arrest warrant, a judge or magistrate must authorize the warrant. For these purposes, a felony arrest warrant is not valid unless the authorized signature is somewhere on the arrest warrant. The magistrate or judge who signs the felony arrest warrant must also have her office information and location listed somewhere on the arrest warrant. If this part of the felony arrest warrant is not listed, the arrest warrant is invalid, and anything discovered during the time the invalid arrest warrant is served will not stand up as evidence in a court of law.

Accused Crime and State Laws

  • Felony arrest warrants are issued in response to a crime. The alleged crime must be listed on the felony arrest warrant. The arrest warrant also must state that the person is being accused of this offense. In addition to the alleged crime, the felony arrest warrant must also list the laws state, showing why the named offense is illegal. These procedures may seem minor, but if the information is missing, the warrant is not valid.

Entering Home or Residence

  • A felony arrest warrant gives police the right to enter the home of the accused person, or a place in which the accused person is suspected to live. Procedure mandates that before an officer or law enforcement agent enters a residence and executes an arrest warrant, he must have a reasonable belief that the suspect is within the residence or place at that time.


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