What is a Ramey Warrant?
Generally, there are there types of warrants: bench warrants, arrest warrants, and search warrants. These types of warrants must be issued by a judicial officer but are issued for different purposes. A bench warrant is issued when a defendant fails to appear in court whereas a search warrant is issued by a judge or magistrate authorizing law enforcement to conduct a search of a home, vehicle, person, or even a business. An arrest warrant is issued after criminal charges have been filed by the prosecuting agency and seek to make an immediate arrest of the defendant. The process of gaining an arrest warrant is usually after a prosecutor determines probable cause exists to file criminal charges and then forwards the charge complaint to a judge where the judge authorizes law enforcement to make an immediate arrest of the defendant.
A Ramey warrant is similar to an arrest warrant because it authorizes law enforcement to effectuate the detention of a criminal suspect without having charges being filed. Ramey warrants are common if law enforcement is seeking to gain additional evidence from a suspect. In other words, law enforcement wishes to speak with a suspect in effort they make incriminating statements while being subject to custodial interrogation. A Ramey warrant does not require criminal charges to be filed and the court does not require law enforcement to first contact the prosecuting agency. Instead, law enforcement goes directly to a judge and presents their current evidence. If a judge determines that sufficient cause exists to detain the criminal suspect, the judge will sign off on the warrant.
Gaining a Ramey warrant can be more beneficial for law enforcement because it’s quicker to gain. The prosecuting agency may be overwhelmed with cases and may not have the time to devote to review the evidence in which case will cause delay in the investigation. Thus, an arrest warrant cannot be issued. Instead, law enforcement will seek an immediate determining from a judge authorizing them to effectuate a detention of a criminal suspect. If the suspect does not wish to make a statement and no further evidence is provided to the investigators, they must release the suspect or hold them pending review for criminal charges, but the detention cannot exceed 48 hours measured in court days.
A Ramey warrant can be contested by a criminal defense attorney on a number of theories. For instance, the judge may have abandoned their judicial role, or the warrant was gained through false representations of the police officer or fabricated evidence. In that case, the warrant will be set aside and the detention of the suspect will a violation of their Fourth Amendment right under the United States Constitution perhaps leading to the suppression of the prosecutor’s evidence.
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