What is a Felony Warrant?

Mike Howells

A felony warrant is a type of arrest warrant, issued by a court, that authorizes the apprehension and arrest of an individual suspected of committing a felony crime. A warrant is a legal document, issued in most cases by a judge after his consideration of evidence that has been provided by law enforcement officials. In particular, a felony warrant must include a signed affidavit of the crime committed, and the name of the accused.

Lying under oath is typically considered a felony.
Lying under oath is typically considered a felony.

Of the two broad classifications of crimes, misdemeanors and felonies, felonies are typically more severe. In many cases, however, when a felony is suspected to have been committed — and very often in cases where a law enforcement officer witnesses a crime — a felony warrant is not needed, as an officer can arrest a suspect based on what is known as probable cause. Nevertheless these warrants are routinely issued by courts, especially in cases that involve a suspect actively evading capture.

A felony conviction will typically result in a prison sentence.
A felony conviction will typically result in a prison sentence.

Other common situations that may call for the use of a felony warrant include when a witness or victim reports a crime after it has occurred. A felony warrant becomes vital, in such cases, to alerting other law enforcement agencies that a suspect is wanted. Warrants do not always result in forcible arrests, however. Individuals who learn there is a warrant made out in their name can contact law enforcement and arrange their own surrender, in an organized and peaceful fashion.

A felony warrant authorizes the arrest of an individuals suspected of committing a crime.
A felony warrant authorizes the arrest of an individuals suspected of committing a crime.

A felony warrant generally does not have a set expiration date, and, rather, remains in effect until an arrest is made or until a countermanding order is issued by the court. Some jurisdictions may consider recalling a warrant if they are contacted by the suspect, and a deal is arranged for a surrender or for a court appearance.

Many white collar crimes are felonies.
Many white collar crimes are felonies.

Though what constitutes a felony crime can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, these are generally accepted to include violent crimes, such as rape and murder, as well as serious, non-violent crimes, like auto theft and robbery. Many so-called white collar crimes, which typically involve lying under oath and obstruction of justice, are also considered felonies. Typically a felony is a crime for which the punishment, or sentence, is a year or longer in prison. Examples of crimes that may vary between felony and misdemeanor — depending on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed — include illegal drug use, prostitution, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Prostitution is considered a misdemeanor in some places and a felony in others.
Prostitution is considered a misdemeanor in some places and a felony in others.

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Discussion Comments


I'm a witness to a crime that happened recently. I was stabbed in my back by the accuser and we both live in different counties. I live in Palm beach County, Florida and the accuser lives in Broward County, Florida. The accuser left the scene when the police were called. They took statements from me and also different witnesses. So tell me how long will it take to get a warrant for the accuser's arrest? Any information will help.


@anon335898: Yes, it is a felony to run. That automatically makes you a fugitive and will tack years on to your sentence.


I have charges filed against me for a misdemeanor in the second degree. I face two years in jail. I'm not really sure why my punishment is so harsh. Maybe because I live in Pennsylvania, which is a commonwealth state. All I did was make some prank calls out of a joke. They took it as harassment. I was wondering if it is a felony to run. The county hates me really bad and wants nothing more than to see me in jail.


If I have a felony warrant in Colorado, will it show in Florida?


I just found out I had a warrant for my arrest for a felony charge because I got searched and they found an illegal controlled substance in my bag. It wasn't a whole lot, just a small amount. I don't want to turn myself in because I'm trying to find a job and I'm taking classes to get my GED so I can start up on my college.

This is my first charge, and I don't want to go to jail. How does this usually work? My bond is $25,000, and I have no idea how I'll get that.


First of all you can check for warrants at your local courthouse or in the county where the warrant was issued. Most court websites have a searchable data base of public records.

You can also find warrants by calling the county clerks office if they don’t have a searchable database. They should be able to direct you from there if you can provide them with enough information.

Now regarding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony DUI really all depends on what the charges are for. It can become a felony if passengers were involved. If any collision damage was reported or if there were prior DUI charges and death, all constitutes for felony charges.


A bench warrant was placed on my cousin for not appearing in court on a DUI arrest. How do I find out if there is an outstanding warrant for him?

Also what is the difference between and a misdemeanor and a felony DUI?

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