What You Need to Know About Capias Warrants & Failure to Appear

gavel and handcuffs

What is a Capias Charge? 

Like an arrest warrant, a capias is a court-issued document ordering the arrest of the person named on the document. A capias may be issued when a person fails to appear in court or answer to a charge without just cause or the defendant has failed to pay their fine or failed to appear for their criminal hearing. It is also sometimes referred to as a bench warrant. Under West Virginia law, a capias could be a felony or misdemeanor offense, resulting in additional jail or prison time and/or fines as high as $5,000.00.

How Can a Capias Warrant Result in Jail Time?

Criminal arrest warrants are used to detain suspects for possible prosecution, while capias warrants are generally used to detain a person who has failed to appear in criminal court. Courts can issue a capias warrant if you have been subpoenaed or ordered to occur at a hearing but fail to appear. Police can immediately take you into custody and deliver you to jail while you wait for the court to set your case for hearing. Often, there is no bail set for a capias—other times, the bond may be set very high to deter the individual from missing a future hearing.

Any police officer can serve capias warrants.  A capias can turn a minor offense into an extended stay at the regional jail pending a hearing. If the individual named in the capias is arrested out of state, he or she may remain incarcerated while awaiting extradition to the jurisdiction that issued the capias.   Bounty hunters or bondsmen can also execute a capias warrant on someone who skips a bail bond.

Speak to a Berkeley County Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Do you have more questions about capias or other types of warrants? Then call our law firm to get the answers you are looking for. At Sutton & Janelle, PLLC, we are committed to serving clients throughout Berkeley County and West Virginia.  We have the skills and resources that you need to secure a fair and fast case result. Let us get to work for you today.

Call (304) 867-0049 to schedule your consultation with our criminal defense lawyers in Berkeley County.