A warrant in Texas is defined as a written order issued by a judge that gives law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual or to perform an act of justice in upholding the law. The 4th Amendment to the United States constitution protects us from “unreasonable search and seizure” by the government or a warrant from being issued without probable cause. There are various types of warrants which allow law enforcement to take different types of action. The most common are the ability to arrest a person for a crime or search a premises for evidence of a crime.

Arrest Warrants 

An arrest warrant empowers law enforcement to arrest an individual suspected of a crime. The arrest warrant is a legal document, signed by a judge who has determined that probable cause has been established. Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty. The warrant is issued based on sworn affidavits, which state that the accused most likely committed the crime in question. The arrest warrant must identify the person to be arrested, including name, or other unique characteristics, and describe the crime the person is suspected of committing.

Search Warrants

A search warrant is a judicial court order making it legal for police or law enforcement to search a person’s residence, place of work, vehicle, or personal belongings to obtain evidence in relation to a crime. Evidence obtained through a search warrant can be used in a criminal prosecution. A search warrant must clearly state the place to be searched and/or the persons or items to be seized. The types of property for which a search warrant may be issued, are weapons, contraband, drug paraphernalia, and other instrumentalities used to carry out a crime.

Since a search warrant violates a person’s right to privacy there must be probable cause to allow a search to be made. A search warrant can only be obtained by police officers submitting an affidavit along with evidence to a judge in the efforts to establish probable cause and that a search will yield evidence related to a crime. If satisfied that the evidence is valid and probable cause is established, the judge or magistrate will issue the search warrant.

Bench Warrants 

A bench warrant is issued by the court system if a person is in contempt of court. This means a person didn’t appear in court for their scheduled hearing, disobeyed a court subpoena to appear in court, or failed to comply with a court order. If a judge issues a bench warrant in your name it calls for your immediate arrest. Law enforcement has the authority to take you into custody and bring you before a judge to try and resolve the warrant and answer for the crime.

Other instances where a bench warrant may be issued is when an indictment is handed down by a judge. An indictment is a written accusation of a person’s guilt for a criminal act and is punishable by law. A bench warrant may also be referred to as a capias warrant or an alias warrant.

Blue Warrants 

In Texas, all individuals that complete a minimum prison sentence shall remain under court supervision and placed on parole after release. In order to get parole status, a prisoner must agree to and obey certain conditions set up by the court. These conditions may include gaining employment, community service and meetings with a parole officer. If a parolee in Texas has violated parole, law enforcement issues a blue warrant. The reason it’s called a blue warrant is because traditionally, the warrant which calls for the immediate arrest of the violator, is enclosed in a blue jacket.

Essentially, blue warrants are issued when a parolee violates the terms of their parole agreement. A blue warrant may also be issued if a parolee commits another criminal offense, carries a firearm, or doesn’t attend scheduled meetings with their parole officer.

If you appear in court to answer for a blue warrant the decision could be to reinstate parole, mandatory residence in a halfway house, intermediate changes to the conditions of parole terms, or parole revocation. The option of parole revocation means the parolee returns to prison to serve out the maximum sentence. There are many reasons parole may be revoked. Individuals who are flight risks, parolees who threatened witnesses and/or court officials, parolees who committed another crime while on parole, or who those are deemed a danger to society because of unsafe behavior while on parole are only a few.