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Ramey Warrant California - Arrest Warrant Vs Ramey Warrant


The concept of search warrants is a familiar one, but have you ever heard of a Ramey warrant? In the state of California, Ramey warrants play a unique role in law enforcement practices. In this article, we will delve into the world of Ramey warrants: what they are, how they are obtained, and the controversies surrounding them.

What is Ramey Warrant?

Ramey warrants, named after the landmark California Supreme Court case People v. Ramey, refers to a particular type of warrant that authorizes the arrest of a suspect outside their own dwelling. A Ramey warrant is a type of arrest warrant that is issued by a judge or magistrate before formal charges have been filed by the prosecutor. Unlike regular search warrants, Ramey warrants provide law enforcement with the authority to apprehend a suspect in a public place or another person’s property. This distinction is crucial for ensuring the swift and efficient execution of warrants.

History and Legal Background

Ramey warrants have a rich history in California law enforcement. The origins of Ramey warrants can be traced back to the 1976 case of People v. Ramey, which outlined the legal framework for their use. Since then, several court cases have helped shape the interpretation and application of Ramey warrants, influencing the way law enforcement agencies utilize this tool to apprehend suspects.

Criteria for Obtaining a Ramey Warrant

Before a Ramey warrant can be issued, law enforcement must meet specific criteria. The primary requirement for obtaining a Ramey warrant California is establishing “probable cause” based on reasonable evidence that a crime has been committed and the suspect is involved. If the magistrate finds that there is sufficient probable cause to arrest the alleged suspect, they will issue the warrant, granting law enforcement the authority to locate and apprehend them.

The term “probable cause” refers to having enough evidence to make a reasonable person believe that the suspect has committed a crime. It’s important to note that while the magistrate must determine probable cause to arrest in order to issue a Ramey warrant, this process cannot be utilized to establish probable cause for filing formal criminal charges.


Additionally, there must be exigent circumstances present, such as the risk of the suspect escaping or causing harm, justifying the need for an immediate arrest.

Ramey Warrant Process

The process of obtaining and executing a Ramey warrant involves several crucial steps. Law enforcement officers must present their case and evidence to a judge, who will evaluate whether the criteria for probable cause and exigent circumstances are met. If the judge approves the warrant, law enforcement can proceed with the arrest and apprehension of the suspect within the parameters outlined in the warrant.

How Does A Ramey Warrant Differ From A Regular Arrest Warrant?

The primary difference from a traditional arrest warrant is the timing of the warrant. In a typical arrest scenario, law enforcement gathers evidence and presents it to the district attorney, who then decides whether to file formal charges1. If the prosecution decides to file charges, a standard arrest warrant California is subsequently issued for the following situations:

  • To arrest someone inside a house, with some exceptions.
  • To arrest someone for a misdemeanor crime outside of law enforcement’s presence.
  • To arrest someone for most offenses outside their jurisdiction.

Under California law, a judge can issue an arrest warrant when a criminal complaint is filed or if a defendant fails to appear for arraignment.

On the other hand, a Ramey Warrant allows law enforcement to directly approach a judge with their evidence, bypassing the involvement of the district attorney. This streamlined process makes the arrest procedure significantly faster. The judge can issue the Ramey Warrant before the formal filing of criminal charges if the police provide a declaration of probable cause.

Ramey Warrant Example

EXAMPLE 1: The Cyber Crime Unit of a law enforcement agency has been investigating a notorious hacker, Sophia, for a series of large-scale cyber attacks targeting financial institutions. Through their investigations, they have gathered substantial evidence linking Sophia to the cybercrimes. However, they suspect that Sophia is aware of the ongoing investigation and may attempt to destroy evidence or flee the area if they approach the district attorney for a standard arrest warrant. In this case, law enforcement may seek a Ramey Warrant to swiftly arrest Sophia and secure the evidence before potential tampering or escape occurs.

EXAMPLE 2: A Special Investigations Team is conducting an operation to dismantle a human trafficking network operating in a specific region. During their surveillance operations, they identify a key suspect, Miguel, who is believed to be involved in organizing and facilitating the trafficking activities. The team has gathered sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for Miguel’s arrest. However, they are aware that Miguel is a flight risk and has strong connections within the criminal underworld. To prevent Miguel from evading arrest or further engaging in human trafficking operations, law enforcement may seek a Ramey Warrant to quickly apprehend him and disrupt the network’s activities.

Common Reasons For Seeking A Ramey Warrant California

A Ramey warrant in California is a type of arrest warrant that is issued by a judge based on a police officer’s declaration of probable cause. There are several common reasons why law enforcement officers may seek a Ramey warrant:

  • Ramey warrants are often sought in situations where there is a need for immediate action, such as apprehending a suspect who may flee or destroy evidence.
  • Requests for Ramey warrants and their processing frequently occur on weekends or beyond regular business hours, when the district attorney’s office may not be available to issue a warrant. In these cases, law enforcement may seek a Ramey warrant to avoid delays in filing a criminal case.
  • Ramey warrants may be sought when there are specific circumstances that require an immediate arrest, such as cases involving ongoing threats to public safety or situations where a suspect is considered dangerous.
  • Law enforcement cannot arrest an individual without a warrant, unless there is probable cause, such as an arrest in a public place or during a traffic stop. In situations where there is not enough evidence for an immediate arrest, officers may seek a Ramey warrant to establish probable cause and then make an arrest.

Please note that these reasons are general and individual cases may vary. If you need specific legal advice or information, it is recommended to consult with a qualified legal professional.

How will A Ramey Warrant be Issued?

To obtain a Ramey warrant in California, law enforcement must demonstrate probable cause that the defendant has committed or is committing a crime. They will present a declaration of probable cause to a judge, outlining their arguments and providing any supporting evidence. If the judge is satisfied with the presented facts and believes that a crime has been committed and the accused person is responsible, a Ramey warrant will be issued.

In situations where a suspect refuses to answer the door, California Penal Code 844 PC establishes the “Knock and Announce Rule,” which permits a police officer with an arrest warrant to forcibly enter after demanding admittance and explaining the reason for their entry. However, if there is evidence that knocking on the door would be dangerous or futile, result in evidence destruction, or compromise a criminal investigation, law enforcement may seek no-knock authorization from a magistrate.

If the suspect is believed to be in someone else’s home, a motel room, a rented room at a house, or inside a non-public business, law enforcement will need to obtain a separate search warrant in addition to the arrest warrant.

It is important to note that in certain extreme circumstances, law enforcement may not need an arrest warrant. These circumstances include emergencies requiring immediate action, preventing imminent danger to life or property, preventing the imminent escape of a suspect, or preventing the destruction of evidence.



Ramey warrants are a distinctive aspect of California law enforcement, enabling officers to swiftly and effectively apprehend suspects outside their dwelling. Understanding the process, requirements, and controversies surrounding Ramey warrants is crucial for citizens, law enforcement professionals, and legal scholars alike. As ongoing debates continue, the future of Ramey warrants in California’s criminal justice system will undoubtedly be shaped by evolving legal interpretations and societal considerations.

For further information and expert guidance on different types of warrant California like Ramey warrants and other legal matters in California, consider consulting with Cyrus Tabibnia from Tabibnia Law Firm. With his knowledge and experience in criminal law, he can provide valuable insights and assistance. Call 866-713-2159 to schedule a consultation and navigate the complexities of the California criminal justice system.


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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