Can a Texas DWI Warrant be Served Out of State?

Leaving Texas Doesn't Leave a DWI Arrest Warrant Behind

You can run from a Texas DWI arrest warrant, but you can't quite hide. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 15.01, an arrest warrant is a magistrate's order to police to go get the defendant. Traveling out of state or even moving out of state will inconvenience authorities attempting to serve the DWI arrest warrant. Texas authorities do not serve Texas DWI warrants out of state. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 15.06, Texas police may serve a Texas warrant only within the borders of the state. But Texas authorities enter DWI warrants in a national database that police in other states will search on your traffic stop or other arrest. Leaving Texas may therefore slow the DWI proceeding that began with the Texas court issuing the arrest warrant. But leaving Texas won't leave a DWI case entirely behind. And Texas authorities can serve a DWI warrant anywhere within Texas at any time. The DWI warrant remains pending unless the court dismisses or prosecution abandons the underlying charge. While Texas police will only arrest you in Texas on a Texas warrant, police in other states may arrest and hold you in their state on a Texas warrant. A pending DWI warrant in Texas can also complicate or frustrate driving privileges and other rights and interests in other states.

Get Expert Attorney Help to Face a DWI Arrest Warrant

For these and other reasons, those who face a Texas DWI arrest warrant while out of state generally find it far better to retain an expert Texas DWI Specialist attorney and to comply with the warrant than to remain out of state and on the run. A life with an arrest warrant over your head is generally not a good life. You will find yourself avoiding and worrying about things that wouldn't ordinarily trouble you in the least. Both for the law and for peace of mind, you need to comply with valid arrest warrants. Best of all, retain premier Texas DWI Specialist attorney Doug Murphy to aggressively and effectively defend the DWI charge while advising you on how best to promptly and properly comply with an outstanding DWI arrest warrant. Don't run from the law. Put the law to work for you by retaining an expert Texas DWI Specialist attorney.

Obtaining and Executing a DWI Arrest Warrant

Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 15.01, a DWI arrest warrant is the magistrate's order authorizing police to take you into custody wherever and whenever they find you. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 15.16, police are to execute an arrest warrant without unnecessary delay, which generally means at a most inconvenient and highly disruptive time, for booking on the DWI charge. An arrest warrant is, in effect, the court's order to the police to get the defendant at home, work, school, or any other place, by surprise, when the defendant least expects it and is least likely to resist, run, or hide. To obtain an arrest warrant, police make observations at the scene and gather other evidence of a DWI crime, such as hospital reports and lab test results. Police and prosecutors present that information to a magistrate or judge, who then issues the arrest warrant on the DWI charge. The police then take the warrant to the defendant's home, job, or other present location for arrest and transport to the police station for booking. If the police do not know the defendant's location, the arrest warrant remains in the police database so that they can arrest the defendant the next time they can locate the defendant, such as on another traffic stop, unless the defendant left Texas before the DWI arrest warrant's service.

Why Executing an Arrest Warrant Is Important

Executing a DWI arrest warrant is important to the police, prosecution, and court because the DWI case will not proceed without service. Service in civil cases typically involves handing the defendant the civil complaint. But service in criminal cases typically involves an arrest, whether at the time of the crime or later on an arrest warrant. Arresting the DWI defendant on a warrant satisfies the constitutional requirement of ensuring due process. Arrest on a warrant ensures that the defendant had notice of the charge and an opportunity for a hearing. The arrest also enables police to book the DWI defendant, ensuring a reliable administrative, legal, and evidentiary case file. That's why your DWI case will remain pending until police serve you with the arrest warrant.

Not All DWIs Involve an Arrest Warrant

Your DWI charge may not have required an arrest warrant. Arrest warrants are unnecessary in most DWI cases. A DWI arrest warrant typically involves some circumstance that kept the police from arresting you at the scene. The routine DWI traffic stop in which the defendant submits to a field sobriety test or consents to a blood test results in immediate arrest. Many DWI arrests occur at the scene of a traffic accident or traffic stop. DWI charges often do not involve an arrest warrant at all because the officer already has the defendant in custody for transport to the police station for booking on the DWI charge. You will generally only face a DWI arrest warrant if the police lacked DWI crime evidence at the time of your traffic stop or for other reasons delayed arresting you before seeking the prosecutor's charge for your alleged DWI crime. You may face a DWI arrest warrant later because you submitted to a blood test, or you refused a blood test, and police got a blood-search warrant, and the prosecution waited for blood test results.

An Arrest Warrant Is Not a Blood Search Warrant

A DWI arrest warrant differs from a blood-search warrant. An arrest warrant may issue days or weeks after the DWI traffic stop whenever the police and prosecutors have built the DWI case. In contrast, blood-search warrants are to draw blood as soon after the officer stops the DWI as possible. If the driver gives the officer probable cause to believe the driver is intoxicated but refuses a breathalyzer test at the scene, the officer will take the driver to the police station or another secure location while contacting the on-duty magistrate judge for the blood-search warrant. The blood-search warrant gives a nurse or phlebotomist the authority to draw the driver's blood sample without consent. With blood-search warrants, time is of the essence because of the alcohol’s absorption from the blood. With an arrest warrant, time is no special concern.

What Complying with an Arrest Warrant Means

Complying with an arrest warrant does not mean you are guilty or convicted. You don't have to plead guilty simply because you allowed Texas authorities to serve an arrest warrant. You can still plead not guilty, preserving all of your legal rights. Allowing authorities to serve an arrest warrant does not mean that you will suffer conviction on your DWI charge. Your DWI case may not even go to trial, and if it does, the jury may not find you guilty, especially if you have retained an expert DWI Specialist attorney to defend you. Allowing authorities to serve a DWI arrest warrant simply means that police will book you on the DWI charge. Indeed, your most convenient way to comply with a warrant is to go to the police station to submit yourself to arrest. That way, you get to choose the day and time rather than suffer the embarrassment and disruption of the unexpected arrest. Police will likely release you on bail the same day or within a couple of days of your booking, especially if you do not present a danger or flight risk. Bail may be around $1,000. From the moment of your release, you've put the arrest warrant behind you, leaving you and your expert DWI Specialist attorney to defend the DWI charge.

Out of State Arrest on a Texas DWI Warrant

Texas police will arrest you on a Texas DWI warrant only in Texas. The authority of Texas police is in Texas and ends at the state line. But Texas authorities will ensure that Texas arrest warrants are in a searchable FBI national database. Police in Texas and other states routinely search that national database when stopping a person for a suspected crime. If you have a Texas DWI arrest warrant outstanding, and police stop you in another state, they will likely see the Texas DWI arrest warrant. They may then take you into custody on that Texas DWI warrant. States, though, have different rules for enforcing the arrest warrants of other states. While a state would surely hold suspects who have outstanding warrants for violent crimes, they may or may not hold a defendant facing a DWI warrant. You might remain in jail in another state on your Texas DWI arrest warrant, or you might not.

Extradition to Texas on a Texas DWI

Your arrest in another state on a Texas DWI arrest warrant is only the first step of moving forward with the Texas DWI case. The authorities must also decide whether and how to get you back to Texas for the DWI proceeding. The law calls that process extradition. The Constitution's extradition clause requires states to respect the interest of another state in compelling a defendant to return to that state to face criminal charges. The law, rules, and practices for extradition depend on the states involved, their distance apart, the crime charged, and the defendant's criminal history, among other factors. A state would almost surely hold and extradite a defendant charged with murder in another state, no matter how far away the other state was located. But extradition on a DWI charge would be a much more uncertain call, especially if the defendant's arrest was in a state far from Texas, where transport costs would be high.

Extradition Hearing

If extradition is uncertain, or the defendant contests extradition, then the state holding the defendant who faces another state's DWI charge may hold an extradition hearing. The hearing will confirm whether the person held is the person facing the other state's arrest warrant. A hearing can also resolve constitutional questions such as the lawfulness of the arrest. Extradition hearings, though, take time. The defendant who resists extradition that both states are willing to complete may spend weeks in jail. The defendant can also waive an extradition hearing and submit to extradition.

What to Do About a Texas Warrant Out of State

If you find out that you have a Texas DWI arrest warrant outstanding against you, but you are out of state, then you need the expert advice of a Texas DWI Specialist attorney. Attorneys must not assist others in avoiding arrest or counsel others on how to avoid arrest. Ethics rules prohibit it. And the best thing to do when aware of a valid outstanding arrest warrant is generally to promptly submit to arrest. But an expert Texas DWI Specialist can help you understand how and why you should submit to arrest and how to prepare for and comply with arrest so that things work out for the best. Your expert DWI defense attorney can also appear as your lawyer representative in the DWI case to advocate for your best defense. In short, if you believe you face a Texas DWI arrest warrant, then promptly contact and retain an expert Texas DWI Specialist. A skilled and aggressive DWI Specialist has ways to defend your Texas DWI charge.

Expert Texas DWI Defense Attorney Available

If the best way to address an outstanding Texas DWI arrest warrant is to retain a Texas DWI Specialist attorney to help you confirm the warrant and comply, then you need to choose that DWI Specialist. To minimize a DWI arrest warrant's disruption of your life, you need to beat the DWI charge. And the biggest step in beating a DWI charge is to get the best available DWI Specialist attorney. Premier Texas DWI Specialist attorney Doug Murphy is available to aggressively and effectively represent you in your Texas DWI case. Experienced lawyers know that attorney Murphy can help you defend and defeat your DWI charge because attorney Murphy lectures nationwide to experienced lawyers on DWI defense and defending other criminal charges. Other lawyers also voted attorney Murphy Best Lawyers in America's 2021 Lawyer of the Year. Attorney Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both Criminal Law Certification and DWI Board Certification. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 today for the defense of your Texas DWI charge.

Contact Us Today

If you are facing DWI or other criminal charges in Texas, contact our office today to discuss your case, so we can begin working on your defense. Please provide only your personal email and cell phone number so that we can immediately and confidentially communicate with you.

Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C.
902 Heights Blvd.
Houston, TX 77008
713-583-0205 (fax)