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Criminal procedure

arrest warrant

An arrest warrant is a written order from a judge or magistrate that commands the police or other authority to physically take a person accused of a criminal offense into custody. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires an arrest warrant to be supported by probable cause—which means there is a reasonable basis to believe the person to be arrested committed a crime.

Arrest warrants protect people from unlawful arrests by requiring the independent review of supporting facts by a person (judge or magistrate) who is not involved in the process of investigating the alleged crime. Arrest warrants also give the accused actual notice of the charge of a criminal offense committed by the accused. Arrest warrants are generally required to take an accused into physical custody unless there is an exception to the warrant requirement—such as when the crime is committed in the presence of the arresting officer.

In Texas, an arrest warrant is a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes law enforcement to take an individual into custody on suspicion of a crime. The issuance of an arrest warrant in Texas must be based on probable cause, consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This means there must be sufficient evidence to believe the individual has committed a criminal offense. The process of obtaining an arrest warrant involves law enforcement presenting an affidavit to a judge or magistrate detailing the evidence against the accused. If the judge or magistrate is convinced there is probable cause, they will issue the warrant. Texas law also recognizes exceptions to the warrant requirement; for example, if a crime is witnessed by a police officer, they may make an arrest without a warrant. This system ensures that individuals are protected from arbitrary arrests and that there is judicial oversight before someone is taken into custody.

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