Vermont Warrant Searches

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In the state of Vermont , ”the arrest of a person may be lawfully made by an officer or a private citizen without a warrant upon reasonable information that the accused stands charged in the courts of another state with a crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year”. § 4954. Arrest without a warrant

Even though certain circumstances allow officers to make an arrest without a warrant, in the event that there is a warrant law enforcement can arrest the individual without question or justification.

Circumstances that could justify a warrantless arrest are:

  • Law enforcement see the defendant committing a crime
  • An eyewitness states that the individual in question committed a crime
  • The individual flees from the police

In the event that police do have a warrant they can:

  • Arrest the defendant on sight
  • Make a sweep of the defendant’s property
  • Break doors or windows to gain entry if necessary

In most cases, if authorities have an arrest warrant, the defendant named within will not have the option to be cited or given a summons. Law enforcement will take that person directly to jail.

If you believe that you or somebody that you know has a warrant, we recommend that you do a Vermont warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.

Active Warrants in the State of Vermont

In Vermont, having an active warrant means that any warrant that has been issued upon an individual has yet to be executed by law enforcement. As long as a warrant is active, or outstanding, the person named in it is wanted by the law and can be arrested at any point in time.

Law enforcement uses a database connected to a secure network that stores information. When they conduct a routine traffic stop they will first identify the person, then use their information to check and see if they have any outstanding warrants.

Depending on the type of warrant and the severity of the situation the police that find an active warrant can:

  • Arrest the person
  • Give the person a citation
  • Issue a summons to appear in court

A warrant is a court-ordered document that demands action to be taken against the person named in it. As long as it has not been executed, or carried out, it will remain in effect until the defendant handles it through court.

Types of Warrants in Vermont

In the state of Vermont, and the rest of the United States, there are basically three types of warrants in the criminal justice system that are commonly used:

  • Search warrants
  • Bench warrants
  • Arrest warrants

Each one of these types of warrants carries a lot of weight. The orders that are written within provide law enforcement officers permission to execute an action in a manner that goes beyond typical procedures.

For example, a search warrant will allow peace officers to legally search the property and the person of the individual named within the warrant. Under regular circumstances, without a warrant, police can only search if they have permission or have probable cause to believe that the person is committing a crime.

Since a warrant is an official court document that demands action, a person that has one issued against them does not have many choices when it comes to getting it cleared. They can, depending on the circumstances:

  • Get searched
  • Go to court
  • Get arrested

Search Warrants in Vermont

There are laws in place that were created in hopes to protect citizens from search and seizure tactics that are illegal and unreasonable. The Fourth Amendment makes it very clear that law enforcement officials do not have the right to search citizens without a proper reason.

However, it is up to the officers and the judge to determine what is reasonable and what is not. In the event of public safety threats, the police will always side with safety before rights to privacy.

In any event, a search warrant allows law enforcement the right to search and seize property, as long as the search is carried out in a manner that reflects the stipulations contained in the warrant.

A law enforcement officer or the district attorney can approach a judge and request a warrant to search an individual’s property if they have probable cause to believe that there is a crime being committed or that there is evidence available that will implicate criminal activity.

A search warrant will allow officers to:

  • Search the premises described in the warrant
  • Break through doors or windows to gain access to the area to be searched
  • Confiscate and seize property that could be evidence

If the police officers conduct the search in a manner that is different than described in the warrant, the whole operation can be deemed illegal and any evidence found will be considered inadmissible in the court of law.

Bench Warrants in Vermont

In the old days, the seat that the judge sat on during court proceedings was referred to as a bench. When a judge issued a warrant from this seat it was considered a bench warrant. A bench warrant is issued by a judge as a result of a defendant failing to adhere to a court order.

The most common offense that brings on a bench warrant is when a person fails to appear to a court date.

Since the judge is the sole administrator of the warrant there are no police or district attorneys involved with the process.

Other reasons why a judge will issue a bench warrant could be:

  • The person fails to pay a fine on time
  • The person does not report to a sentence
  • The person fails to show up for jury duty

When a person has an active bench warrant issued against them they are subject to arrest and detention at any time they come into contact with law enforcement.

Arrest Warrants in Vermont

When there is probable cause to indicate that a person is committing, or has committed, a crime a judge will issue an arrest warrant upon request of the district attorney, or law enforcement agency interested in the case.

Most of the time when an arrest warrant is issued it is after the district attorney has already found substantial evidence and officially charged the person with a crime. Once charges are filed, the DA will approach the judge and ask for a warrant to bring the defendant into the custody of police to face the court system.

Situations that will justify an arrest warrant could be:

  • An investigation produced evidence that indicates the defendant committed a crime
  • Police identified the defendant before they fled a crime scene
  • The defendant was caught on camera committing an offense

Once an arrest warrant is issued it will not fade away or expire with time. The only way to clear a warrant for the arrest of an individual is if the individual gets arrested and brought in front of the court. Other than the successful execution of the warrant, the death of the individual is the only other way.

Keeping a Step Ahead

One of the best ways for an individual to defend themselves against the possibility of an unexpected arrest is to conduct regular warrant searches. As long as a person knows and understands that they have a warrant they can handle the matter in a way that works for them before an embarrassing arrest.

***Regardless of which state you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.