ASK A COP: What To Do If You Have An Arrest Warrant in Minnesota?
After the fatal officer-involved shooting that took place in Brooklyn Center on Sunday that according to media reports involved an individual who was pulled over, and after being pulled over the driver was found to have "an outstanding warrant and attempted to take him into custody, but the man got back into the vehicle" according to KROC News. I asked our local law enforcement community, Chief Andy Bohlen of the Faribault Police Department, and Sheriff Troy Dunn, what should someone do in the event they find out they have an arrest warrant.
Here is what I asked about warrants, and what I got in return from our local law enforcement community. In no way are any of these comments from Chief Bohlen, or anyone else, a reflection or comment on what happened in Brooklyn Center. That investigation is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment on that matter.
In regards to having a warrant, Chief Bohlen wrote that "Warrants can be issued for a criminal offense or failing to appear for court when someone missed or intentionally avoided their assigned court date." According to Chief Bohlen, some good advice would be to "always appear on your assigned court date to avoid a court warrant for failing to appear. You can still show up in court and plead your case to a judge and sometimes the matter is resolved, rescheduled for another date, or even a trial."
What should you do, if you are notified that a warrant for your arrest has been issued? Chief Bohlen explains that "If a person has a warrant, they should turn themselves in to the local jurisdiction (preferably the jurisdiction where the warrant was issued)." Chief Bohlen noted that you might not be stuck in jail until you see a judge.
"In some cases, a person can simply pay a fine and reset a court date or update the court, and sometimes it requires a person to sit in a detention facility until they get a chance to see a judge."
In some cases, a person may feel that the warrant is a mistake, if that is the case Chief Bohlen stated that "If you feel the warrant was a mistake and you had complied with all court requirements, we [local law enforcement] would still suggest you contact law enforcement and appear at the courthouse and talk to a judge to get the matter resolved. Local jurisdictions can assist you with that arrangement and connect you with the prosecuting authority."
As far as what law enforcement should be doing in this situation, where an arrest warrant has been issued, Bohlen wrote, "Law Enforcement should always verify the warrant is still active with the issuing agency before taking any enforcement action."
Sheriff Troy Dunn adds that if you are pulled over for a traffic stop, "Know that a warrant is a legal court order from the courts for a person’s arrest. Like any other Law Enforcement encounter, we ask that people are cooperative with our staff and work with us to keep everyone safe." Dunn also noted that "A majority of these [traffic] stops are legal and go without any issues."
Finally, if you are pulled over, and it is determined that a warrant has been issued for your arrest in Faribault, Chief Bohlen simply stated to me that you should "follow all the officer's directions and you will be treated with respect and advised of the procedure."
That's not to say you wouldn't be treated with respect anywhere else, but Chief Bohlen and Sheriff Dunn were commenting strictly in the case of dealing with officers/deputies in Faribault/Rice County, in which they oversee.
My sole purpose of this is to get information out to people who may be in this situation and to know what to do.
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