Why a Warrant is issued

According to Utah courts, a warrant is “a written order issued and signed by a judge or magistrate which allows the police to search a place and seize specified items found there […] or to arrest or detain a specified person […]. There are different types of warrants issued by a judge and not all will result in an individual being arrested.

Bench Warrant

Photo by: West Midlands Police

Photo by: West Midlands Police

A bench warrant a type of warrant that is issued by the judge so that the individual can be located, arrested, and appear before the judge and explain why they:

• Didn’t show up to court. When someone is facing charges, they are required to show up to court on a set date to discuss the charges in front of a judge. If they aren’t put in jail initially or if they are out on bail, they may take the temporary freedom too lightly and either forget or choose not to show up when that date comes. When this happens, a bench warrant will be issued for failure to appear in court.

• Violated a court order. If an individual violates an order issued by the court or violates their probation, then a bench warrant can be issued for their arrest.

• Failed to pay their fines. Any fine related to a charge or ticket must be paid by the required date. If a person fails to pay their fines on time, this is another reason why a bench warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Arrest warrant

Just like a bench warrant, an arrest warrant gives law enforcement the right to detain a person and take them to jail until they can be seen by a judge. This is usually the case for individuals who are suspects in a crime.

Search Warrant

A search warrant is very different from a bench or arrest warrant as it doesn’t always end in an individual being arrested. A search warrant merely gives law enforcement the right to search a certain location.

Defense counsel

If a warrant is issued for a person’s arrest, it is wise to immediately seek a criminal defense attorney to represent the individual in court. Likewise, if a search warrant turns up anything that would result in criminal charges, defensive counsel is recommended.

Providing False or Misleading Information to Law Enforcement

Those who are speaking to police regarding a crime may choose to withhold details or lie about facts; yet providing false or misleading information of any kind to law enforcement is against the law.

Wrong personal information

Photo by: Paul Joseph

Photo by: Paul Joseph

A person may lie about their own identity to police, which is often done to avoid warrants or probation violations. When a person lies about who they are to police officers, they are providing false or misleading information and could face anywhere from 90 days to a full year in jail.
Utah Code 76-8-507 states: “A person commits a class C misdemeanor if, with intent of misleading a peace officer as to the person’s identity, birth date, or place of residence, the person knowingly gives a false name, birth date, or address to a peace officer in the lawful discharge of the peace officer’s official duties. A person commits a class A misdemeanor if, with the intent of leading a peace officer to believe that the person is another actual person, he gives the name, birth date, or address of another person to a peace officer acting in the lawful discharge of the peace officer’s official duties.”

Being a bad witness

Photo by: Sean Riley

Photo by: Sean Riley

Those who witness a crime involving a friend or family member may intentionally become a bad witness who doesn’t convey information accurately to police officers. It is common for eye witnesses to not get every detail correct, especially when describing an assailant. However if officers believe that someone is lying to cover for another person, especially by putting the blame on another, they can face charges of providing false or misleading information. According to Utah Code 76-8-506, “A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if he: knowingly gives or causes to be given false information to any peace officer or any state or local government agency or personnel with a purpose of inducing the recipient of the information to believe that another has committed an offense.” While there is a small chance that the person may help protect their friend from charges by lying, they will likely end up with their own charges to deal with.

Making a false police report

Photo by: Tripp

Photo by: Tripp

Occasionally, it isn’t answering questions dishonestly that gets people into trouble for providing false or misleading information. It could also be due to lying while filing a police report. Providing law enforcement with a written police report that has known false information is also a class B misdemeanor. (76-8-504) There are numerous misguided reasons in which an individual would file a false police report.

• Being angry after an argument or when wanting revenge on another person may drive an individual to construct up a crime. A few scenarios when this could be the motive for providing false or misleading information to police are: disputes between ex-lovers, when business deals go bad, or even after neighborly disputes. Regardless the motive, making not-so-true accusations when emotions are running high will hurt both parties in the end.

• When trying to hide a truth about themselves, fashioning a story may seem an easy way around getting caught. A woman in Southern Utah made this mistake last year when she had an affair then claimed she was raped by a random man while out on the city trails. Her lie was eventually uncovered by police, and beyond marital problems she now has a criminal record.

• There are some people who simply want attention or validation and will do ANYTHING to get it. These individuals seek attention by becoming a victim. Unless they are unfortunate to actually be a victim in a crime, they may generate one instead. Earlier this year, a homosexual Delta Utah man claimed he was the target of a LGBT hate crime when in fact the only person involved was himself. While he will most likely face charges for providing false or misleading information to police, he was also encouraged to seek mental health counseling.

Keep it short, sweet, and honest

Photo by: alexisnyal

Photo by: alexisnyal

When speaking to law enforcement, it is best to keep your answers short, sweet, and completely honest. If you are concerned that you may be offering information to police that you shouldn’t do without counsel present, never succumb to providing false or misleading information. You have the right to remain silent until you can contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you how to best deal with police questioning.

Utah Man to Mental Hospital after Attempted Murder

A Utah man is on his way to the state mental hospital for a spell before serving time in prison for attempted murder of a fellow motorcyclist.

Traffic violation or attempted murder charge?

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

In August of 2013, 57 year old James Alan Reynolds of Enoch Utah refused to stop for a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The short chase ended with Reynolds crashing his motorcycle into a car, but not before he fired a series of random shots at another motorcyclist. 21 year old Austin Sharp of Santa Clara Utah, who had no known affiliations with Reynolds, was shot twice in the back.

Random and almost deadly

Reynolds was originally facing multiple charges including discharging a firearm from a vehicle and fleeing from police, but it was ultimately decided last week that he will serve time for the more serious of his offenses, attempted murder of the young fellow motorcyclist Austin Sharp.

First stop, mental hospital

Photo by: floodllama

Photo by: floodllama

Since Reynolds was determined not mentally ready to be added to the prison population, he will be spending an indefinite amount of time in the Utah State Mental Hospital. If ever it is decided that he is of sound mind, he will be transferred to the Utah State Prison to serve his time for attempted murder.

1st Degree Felony

Attempted murder by causing serious bodily injury during the felony discharge of a weapon is a 1st degree felony, and punishable by up to life in prison. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Reynolds was clearly not mentally healthy when he made the choice to shoot at a random person, and now two lives are changed forever. For more information on any criminal charges call an experienced defense attorney. For issues pertaining to mental health that could lead to criminal charges, contact the Utah Mental Health Services in your area.