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Probable Cause Arrest -vs- Warrant Arrest in Oklahoma

Everyone charged with a felony in Oklahoma is arrested. Some are arrested on "Probable Cause" and some are arrested on an "Arrest Warrant". The difference is that someone who is arrested on "Probable Cause" is arrested because law enforcement believed there was sufficient evidence to believe that a felony was committed and when someone is arrested on an arrest warrant, they are arrested after a judge has reviewed an affidavit and determined that sufficient evidence existed that a crime was committed.

Probable Cause Arrest

When someone is arrested on "probable cause" by law enforcement, that person is booked into jail, the police reports are forwarded to the district attorney's office and the district attorney makes the decision of which charges will be formally filed by the state. The district attorney does this by filing an information. Just because someone is arrested on "probable cause" does not necessarily mean that the district attorney's office will file formal charges against them or that the charges filed will be the same as the charges they were arrested for. Sometimes a defendant can save themselves substantial amounts of money by waiting until formal charges are filed before bonding out of jail.

After someone is arrested on probable cause they will have an initial appearance hearing, at the hearing they will be informed of the charges they were arrested for and typically they will be "recognized back" for another hearing to see if the district attorney has filed formal charges against them. If the person stays in jail they will typically be placed on the next avaiable initial appearance/arraignment docket. In some counties around Oklahoma, if the person bonds out of jail, their initial appearance date will not occure for a week to ten (10) days. (This is the practice in Tulsa County.)

In most counties around Oklahoma when someone is booked into jail their bond will be automaticaly set according to that county's "bond schedule". In other counties people arrested on probable cause must see a judge before having a bond set. Even counties that use a bond schedule may require a defendant to see a judge before bond is set on certain types of charges.

Sometimes there are delays in filing formal charges by the district attorney and the judge handling the case will give a defendant a choice of setting another initial appearance hearing or dismissing the case. If the defendant is out of custody after posting a bond it is typically a good idea to continue the initial appearance hearing. The reason it is a good idea is that if the judge dismisses the case the bond will be exonerated and if the district attorney files formal charges later the defendant would be required to post bond again. This happens frequently in cases in which the district attorney is waiting on lab reports before filing a case. If a defendant has remained in jail, there is rarely a downside to having the case dismissed even if the district attorney files the case at a later date. You should concult a lawyer about what may be best in your case.

Most of the time if a person is arrested on probable cause they will have formal criminal charges filed against them by the district attorney. However, this is not always the case. If you believe for some reason that formal charges will not be filed against you despite being arrested on probable cause, than you can hold off on hiring a lawyer until formal charges are filed. If no formal chrges are filed against you than you will save yourself some money.

Warrant Arrest

On this page "warrant arrest" refers to someone being arrested on a warrant after formal charges have been filed against them. When someone is the subject of a "warrant arrest", law enforcement has forwarded police reports and an affidavit summarizing the evidence to the district attorney's office and a district attorney or assistant district attorney has reviewed the police reports and charging affidavits and determined that formal charges should be filed. Sometimes the defendant will be aware that law enforcement was investigating them and ssometimes they will not be aware that they were being investigated. Anyone that learns they are the subject of an investigation should contact an experienced criminal lawyer immeadiately and exercise their 5th Amendment to remain silent.

Most of the time when a person is arrested on a warraant a bond will already be set. If a bond is already set that person can bond out of jail immeadiately. If a person learns they have been charged with a crime and formal charges are filed against them, the easiest way to haandle the situation is to contact a bail bondsman, turn themselves in and bond out of jail. When this occures the person is booked into jail and then immeadiately booked out of jail, they are not required to change into jaail clothes and they are not required to spend the night in jail. Read this before you hire a bondsman.

After being arrested on a warrant an initial appearance/arraignment will be scheduled and at that hearing the defendant will be told of the charges they are facing and will be required to have a lawyer. Unlike those who were arrested on "probable cause" there will be no need to pass the case to see if the district attorney will file formal charges.

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I try to respond to all inquires as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance you can call my office (918) 582-1313 or my cell phone (918) 230-9513. If you are in need of emergency assistance feel free to call my cell phone anytime either day or night.