How can a warrant be issued against you for a crime if you were never arrested or even caught ordoing it?

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How can a warrant be issued against you for a crime if you were never arrested or even caught ordoing it?

My boyfriend is being charged with delivery, possession, and manfacturing a level 1 narcotic, but he was never arrested. About 2 weeks ago we got a newspaper and to our surprise my boyfriend’s picture was there. It said that he was wanted but yet he was never caught doing any of this. So I called the prosecutor’s office and all they said is that my boyfriend excepted marked money. If that was the case why wasn’t he arrested at the time of the alleged crime? Where did the meth and money go to? They have nothing. Should he speak with a criminal law attorney? In Minidoka County, ID. 

Asked on March 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, your boyfriend should DEFINITELY contact a criminal defense attorney--IMMEDIATELY. And he should not say anything to the authorities until he consults with his lawyer. (That is, he should exercise his right to remain silent, which is the right against self-incrimination.)

A warrant issues *for* an arrest; it is put out when the police want to arrest someone. So putting out a warrant on your boyfriend is what the police would do if the authorities have determined to arrest him.

The authorities need probable cause to arrest, which means they believe they have evidence--which could be forensic evidence, such as trace evidence found at the scene of the crime, or could simply be testimony from some witness (including somone who is themselves charged with a crime or even already convicted). You do not need as much evidence to arrest as you do to convict (for a conviction, the evidence must be beyond a reasonable doubt). Obviously, the authorities believe they at least have enough for an arrest and probably think that they will get more later. Remember that testimony of a witness can be enough, so even if there is no physical evidence, the authorities can prosecute.

Whenever there is an arrest warrant out for someone, or any expression of interest by the authorities, that person should retain a defense attorney. No matter what you or your boyfriend think of the case, you have to take it seriously.


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