An arrest warrant, which calls for the immediate apprehension and arrest of a person, is issued by a Judge as a result of a suspected commission of a crime and/or failure to follow an order of the Court, such as a failure to appear at a hearing, or a violation of the terms of probation or pre-trial supervision.
The Sheriff’s Office does not issue warrants; the Sheriff’s Office is responsible by state statute for processing and maintaining warrant data. Warrants processed by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office are issued by Ramsey County District Court (Second Judicial District). A Judge must sign and approve each warrant.
Arrest warrants are issued for serious crimes, such as murder, criminal sexual conduct, and assault; and/or when an individual presents a flight risk; cannot be located; or, resides out of state. Arrest warrants are also issued for less serious crime where an individual has failed to follow an order of the Court.
Types of Criminal Warrants
There are generally three types of criminal arrest warrants:
- Bench Warrants. Bench warrants are issued for individuals who fail to appear in Court for a hearing; violate their pre-trial release supervision conditions (Project Remand); or do not follow a directive of the Court.
- Complaint Warrants. Complaint warrants are issued as part of a criminal complaint when the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office or one of the City Attorney’s offices charge a case. Charging by warrant occurs for more serious crimes; and/or when the defendant presents a flight risk; and/or the defendant cannot be located; and/or when the defendant resides out of state.
- Probation/Parole Violation Warrants. Probation/parole violation warrants are issued for an offender who is already under supervision with Ramsey County Community Corrections and who has violated their supervision conditions.
Most criminal warrants have an offense level. These offense levels are defined by Minnesota State Statute 609.02 (Subdivisions 2, 3, 4, and 4a):
- Felony. "Felony" means a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed.
- Gross Misdemeanor. "Gross misdemeanor" means any crime which is not a felony or misdemeanor. The maximum fine which may be imposed for a gross misdemeanor is $3,000. A sentence of not more than one year may be imposed.
- Misdemeanor. "Misdemeanor" means a crime for which a sentence of not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, may be imposed.
- Petty misdemeanor. "Petty misdemeanor" means a petty offense which is prohibited by statute, which does not constitute a crime and for which a sentence of a fine of not more than $300 may be imposed.
Civil warrants are issued for non-criminal reasons. These reasons include contempt of court as well as for housing or family court reasons. Business or collection reasons may also result in a civil warrant being issued.
Law Enforcement Response
Once an arrest warrant is issued, deputies and officers attempt to locate and arrest the person, bringing him or her to justice. By statute, the Sheriff is required to "pursue and apprehend all felons" (Minnesota State Statute 387.03). As a result, law enforcement agencies collaborate to seek out the most dangerous fugitives and to bring them to justice.
Arrest warrants are an effective tool to keep communities safe, hold offenders accountable, and ensure justice. If you have an arrest warrant, consider Resolving Your Arrest Warrant today. If you have information about someone with an arrest warrant, please Report a Tip.