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  • Alan J. Schwartz

What to Do When There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest: A Guide Under New York State Law

Facing the prospect of an arrest warrant can be overwhelming and stressful. Whether you’ve just found out about it or suspect its existence, understanding your rights and the appropriate steps to take is crucial. Here’s a concise guide based on New York State Criminal Procedure Law, Section 120, to help you navigate this challenging situation:


1. Stay Calm and Gather Information


Upon learning about the warrant, it's natural to feel anxious; however, staying calm is essential. Try to gather as much information as possible about the warrant. This includes knowing the nature of the charges, the issuing/proper court, and any specific conditions or terms associated with the warrant.


2. Contact a Lawyer Immediately


One of the most important steps you can take is to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. A lawyer experienced in handling warrants can provide invaluable guidance tailored to your specific situation. They can explain the charges against you, advise you on your legal rights, and help strategize your next steps.


3. Verify the Warrant


It is very crucial to verify the existence and details of the warrant. This can typically be done by contacting the local police department, sheriff’s office, or directly through the court that issued the warrant. Knowing the specifics will enable you and your attorney to plan a more informed response.


4. Plan Your Surrender


Under New York law, surrendering to authorities through your attorney can often be arranged in a manner that minimizes inconvenience and preserves your dignity. Your attorney can negotiate the terms of your surrender, which may include arranging a time to turn yourself in and seeking favorable bail conditions.


5. Prepare for the Process


Once you decide to surrender, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the process. Follow your attorney’s advice closely regarding what to bring, how to dress, and what to expect during booking and processing.

6. Attend Court Hearings


After surrendering, attend all scheduled court hearings. Your attorney will represent you during these proceedings and work to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.


7. Follow Legal Advice


Throughout this entire process, it is crucial to follow the legal advice provided by your attorney. They will help you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.




Dealing with a warrant for your arrest is a serious matter, but you do not have to face it alone. By contacting a knowledgeable attorney and following the steps outlined under New York State law, you can assert your rights and work towards resolving the situation with as little disruption as possible. Remember, timely action and informed decisions are key to handling warrants effectively.

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