What are the Different Types of Warrants?

Despite the way they are sometimes portrayed on television or in the movies, arrests require police to follow a set of legal procedures under the supervision of a court. In most instances, arrests must be accompanied by a court-issued warrant. A warrant is a declaration that a judge has done a preliminary review of initial evidence and determined there is probable cause for you to be taken into custody.

There are exceptions, of course. If a police officer witnesses a crime, he or she may make an arrest without a warrant. But generally, a legally issued warrant backs up every arrest. The criminal defense team at De Castroverde Law has put together a primer on the different types of warrants in Nevada, and what to do if one has your name on it.

What Are the Different Types of Warrants?


In Nevada, the law specifies two distinct types of arrest warrants and explains the procedures law enforcement must follow in executing those warrants.

Bench warrants are issued by a court in instances where a judge believes you have failed to abide by the terms of a legal obligation. One of the more common sources for a bench warrant is in the case of someone who fails to pay child support. Bench warrants also follow if you fail to appear for a court date on some other criminal matter.

Arrest warrants indicate that you are suspected of committing a criminal offense. The arrest warrant means the judge has done a  preliminary review of the facts and decided there is probable cause to justify your arrest.

In Nevada, less serious matters may prompt a summons to appear. A summons is in effect the same as an arrest warrant, but with one main difference: You are ordered to appear in court on a specific date, rather than subject to immediate arrest. However, if you fail to appear, the court can convert the summons to an arrest warrant.

One final warrant you may encounter is the search warrant, which gives law enforcement the authority to search your home, your car, or other location on the suspicion that it may contain evidence of a crime.

Warrants can cause substantial difficulties in terms of your ability to obtain work or find proper housing. If you suspect you have an outstanding warrant or have been arrested on one, it’s time for you to contact the criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law. Warrants indicate that you have a serious matter you must address, and it’s much better to resolve the issues sooner rather than later.

Are You Notified When a Warrant Is Issued?

The court system does not independently let you know when it has issued a warrant against you. Official notice of the warrant is issued to law enforcement, which has the legal responsibility for carrying out the court’s wishes.

In the case of an arrest warrant, police generally want to maintain the element of surprise. Letting the subject of a warrant know ahead of time may prompt them to flee, as the thinking goes.

Police aren’t required under the law to search for the subject of a bench warrant. However, if you encounter police for other reasons, such as a traffic stop, you must be arrested.

If you have reason to suspect you have an outstanding warrant, it’s better to address the matter proactively so you do not have to live under a cloud of concern. The criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law have decades of experience in addressing bench and arrest warrants and can advise you on the best way to clear them and move on to building a defense against the underlying charges.

How To See If You Have a Warrant

Arrest and bench warrants are matters of public information, so you do not have to wait until an arrest to learn if your name is listed on one. In the Las Vegas area, you may be able to get information about the warrant over the phone.

According to Clark County, your best bet is to contact the jurisdiction that you think has issued the warrant directly. Here are the websites and phone numbers for court systems in and around the Las Vegas area:

If you believe a warrant was issued within the city limits of Las Vegas, you may be able to find that information online. The office of the Las Vegas Marshal maintains a warrant search site where you can search by name and Social Security number. Make sure you read the disclaimer on that site carefully.

For matters that may have been filed outside Las Vegas, by the federal government or other states, you may be able to use free public records databases such as freebackgroundcheck.org.

Served With a Warrant? Get Proper Legal Representation

If you learn that a bench or arrest warrant has indeed been issued in your name, contact De Castroverde Law Group right away. We will evaluate the situation based on the facts, evidence, and the law and provide you with our recommendations on the best next steps. Our experienced team, which includes former prosecutors, may be able to clear the warrant so we can address the underlying issues free from distraction.

De Castroverde Law, serving Last Vegas and other parts of southern Nevada, provides representation on criminal offenses of all kinds, including driving under the influence, drug crimes, domestic violence charges, casino arrests, casino markers, kidnapping, nightclub misconduct, and much more. Our team includes experienced immigration lawyers equipped to help you address charges tied to your immigration status and other immigration court proceedings.

Don’t try to wish away criminal charges. Let De Castroverde stand with you to make sure you receive a proper defense. Contact us online or call us today for a consultation.