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Different Types Of Warrants California - 5 That Are Common


When it comes to law enforcement and the judicial system, warrants play a crucial role in ensuring the proper execution of justice. In the state of California, and other states, there are common “Warrants” in Criminal Law, and each one means something different. Various types of warrants are issued to empower law enforcement agencies to conduct searches, make arrests, and gather evidence for criminal investigations. Understanding the differences among these warrants California is essential both for citizens to know their rights and for law enforcement officers to adhere to legal procedures.

Types of Warrants California

There are five common types of warrants used in the criminal justice system. These are:

  • Search warrant
  • Arrest warrant
  • Bench warrant
  • Extradition warrant (sometimes referred to as a governor’s warrant)
  • Alias warrant
  • Ramey Warrant

What is Search Warrant California?

In the United States, including California, individuals are generally protected from police conducting searches and seizures in their homes without legal justification. A search warrant is an official order granted by a judge that authorizes police officers to search a specific location or seek out particular items. To be valid, a search warrant must explicitly describe the exact places or items to be searched or seized. In other words, a search warrant cannot simply request general permission to search a home; it must provide specific details. The validity of a search warrant is often determined by the level of specificity in the facts presented. The warrant must also include probable cause, which means there must be a reasonable belief that a crime is taking place at the location being searched and that evidence of the crime can be found there.

When it comes to obtaining a search warrant, the police are responsible for drafting the warrant. However, a neutral and detached magistrate, typically a judge, must review and approve the warrant before the search can be conducted. A neutral and detached magistrate refers to a judge who has no personal connection to the place or person being seized. For example, a judge cannot have any relationship with the person involved, such as a friendship or previous involvement in a crime committed against the judge’s clerk. The scope of the search warrant is limited to the specific places and items mentioned in the warrant. If certain areas or items, such as a person’s backyard or a shed, are not explicitly included in the warrant, they cannot be lawfully searched. It is important to note that there are exceptions to the requirement of obtaining a search warrant, but for the purpose of this discussion, we are focusing on understanding that a search warrant pertains to searching a specific location and is distinct from an arrest warrant.


What is Arrest Warrant?

A warrant is a legal document that authorizes the police to take certain actions. There are two main types of warrants – arrest warrants and search warrants. Both are different. An arrest warrant is used when the police need to arrest a specific person or people. It must be signed by a Judge after the police provide an affidavit containing enough factual information to establish probable cause that a crime was committed and that the named person committed it. The warrant will also state the charges and the bail amount. Police can come to a person’s residence to make an arrest if they have an arrest warrant, but they do not need a warrant to make an arrest if they have probable cause.

An arrest warrant is not necessary for the police to make an arrest, but it is usually obtained after an investigation has taken place and evidence has been gathered. The warrant gives police the ability to make an arrest at any time between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM, unless there is a valid reason to do so outside of those hours. Although there may be some incorrect facts in the warrant, it is generally valid as long as there is enough probable cause. Overall, an arrest warrant is an important legal document that allows the police to take action in a specific situation.

What Are Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is issued when an individual fails to comply with the terms of their probation after being convicted of a previous offense. These terms can include completing community service, classes, or paying fines. Rather than requesting a warrant, the police, in this case, the judge is the one who issues a bench warrant after reviewing the case. In some instances, a bail amount may be set for the arrest. However, for felony cases, a judge can issue a no-bail hold, meaning the individual would be arrested and remain in custody until their case is resolved, without the opportunity to post bail.


It’s important to note that a bench warrant does not involve the police requesting the warrant, but it still has the same effect as an arrest or Ramey warrant. This means that individuals can be arrested based on a bench warrant. A bench warrant can also be issued if a person fails to appear for a court hearing or case, regardless of whether they posted bail or received a letter to appear. It’s important to understand that a bench warrant is not a new violation of the law, but rather a warrant for arrest due to the failure to fulfill probation terms or to attend a scheduled court date.

What are Extradition Warrants

Extradition warrants are requested when an individual is in one state but wanted in another for criminal charges. They are used to facilitate the legal process of transferring the suspect from one jurisdiction to another. Extradition warrants are typically issued by the governor of the state where the charges are pending, based on a request made by the authorities in the requesting state.

What is Alias Warrant?

An alias warrant is typically issued by a judge when you fail to do one of the following:

  • Show up in court for a scheduled court date before entering a plea.
  • Respond to a citation either in person or by mail.

Alias warrants are typically issued when you breach your agreement to appear in court.

It is important to note that when you receive a summons or an order to appear in court, typically for misdemeanor charges, you are required to sign an agreement to appear at the specified time. For instance, if you sign a traffic citation, this serves as your agreement to appear in court.

If you fail to honor this promise and do not appear, a judge will issue an alias warrant.

What is Ramey Warrant California?

A Ramey warrant in California is similar to an arrest warrant in that it authorizes the police to make an arrest based on probable cause. However, it differs in that it allows the police to bypass the District Attorney’s office and effectuate the warrant themselves, without the formal filing of charges. This type of warrant is typically used in situations where the police believe there is a need for immediate action, such as over weekends when the District Attorney’s office may be closed.


By obtaining a Ramey warrant, the police can arrest you without waiting for the District Attorney’s office to review and file charges. This may be done to prevent potential further crimes or to mitigate the risk of you fleeing before you can be arrested. In a Ramey warrant situation, you may be held in jail for up to 48 hours (business days) until the District Attorney reviews the case, determines if there is sufficient evidence to file charges, and decides on the appropriate charges.

One potential benefit of using a Ramey warrant is that it may catch a person off guard, increasing the chances of obtaining a confession or additional evidence. However, it’s important to note that the use of Ramey warrants can vary depending on the jurisdiction and its specific laws and procedures.

How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

Warrants can be complex and overwhelming, leaving individuals confused and isolated when facing potential jail time. Whether it’s a search warrant, arrest warrant, bench warrant, fugitive warrant, or extradition warrant, each serves a distinct purpose in ensuring a fair and just judicial system. By being aware of these warrant types, both citizens and law enforcement can navigate the legal landscape more effectively while upholding the principles of justice. Having an attorney who can guide you through the process of how a warrant works and inform you about what to expect can be crucial in preparing your defense for your case.

As an experienced criminal defense attorney Cyrus Tabibnia at Tabibnia Law Firm can provide valuable assistance if you are subject to a warrant. He can help you by:

  • Advising on the reasons why a warrant has been issued against you.
  • Providing guidance on the next steps in dealing with your warrant.
  • Exploring options to recall or lift the warrant.
  • Challenging the validity of the warrant if there are legal grounds to do so.
  • Working to minimize the potential negative consequences resulting from the warrant.

Under the privileged attorney-client relationship, Cyrus Tabibnia ensures that your confidences are respected and will not disclose any information without your consent. You can feel secure in discussing your case openly and honestly with Cyrus Tabibnia, defense attorney. Call: 866-713-2159

Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information and should not be used as legal advice. If you require specific legal guidance related to warrants in California, it is advisable to consult a qualified attorney.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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