Private Warrant Domestic Cases


My spouse took out a warrant on me and wants to drop the case, what happens now?

One of the more confusing situations in court is what happens when someone takes out a private warrant against you, then tells you they don’t want to proceed with the case. This article will detail the domestic private warrant process from start to finish to explain the intricacies of such instances.

First, what is a private warrant?

When you hear the word warrant, you probably assume that someone is getting arrested, however, that isn’t always the case. In fact, in many private warrant situations, the magistrate will simply issue a criminal summons or a citation that gives your next court date and tells you what you are being charged with. The difference between a private warrant and a normal criminal summons is who initiates the process. Typically, a police officer either witnesses what they believe to be a criminal act, or they investigate a reported criminal action which leads to the criminal process being issued. However, in private warrant situations, the criminal process is started by a private citizen who can now tell a magistrate their side of the story and have the magistrate issue the process against you.

My Spouse took out a private warrant against me, what happens now?

First, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney about your matter. Private warrant matters, especially those marked as domestic violence matters, are serious and can have long term repercussions. Second, you will have a pending court date which you will need to attend. Your first appearance is generally where you are advised by the Court as to your right to an attorney. This is where the judge will ask what you want to do about an attorney for this case. If you have already hired your attorney, they will make an appearance in your case and begin the process of defending you.

Now the person who took the warrant out against me is saying they want to drop the charges; am I ok to disregard the warrant?

NO. It is important to know that even if the person who took the charges out against you says they don’t want to pursue the charges you are still required to go to court and should speak to an attorney about the matter. In North Carolina, once the charges are filed against you it is not up to the person who took these charges out to decide to drop the case; only the District Attorney’s office can decide to dismiss the case.

What if I get convicted?

A conviction from a private domestic violence warrant is treated exactly the same as a conviction stemming from an officer’s investigation. If you are convicted, the judge will sentence you just as if an officer had charged you and you will still face the other effects of a domestic violence conviction.

My lawyer got my charges dropped, what now?

If your charges are dismissed, an important next step is to get the case expunged. Once you are charged, either by private warrant or by an officer, the charge stays on your record. This means that if you go to get a new job, or move to a new apartment and they run a background check on you, they will be able to see that you were charged. The expungement process erases the dismissed charge from your record. It is important to know that even if your case is dismissed it is possible that you may not qualify for an expungement. A skilled attorney can tell you whether or not this stipulation applies to you and can assist you through the process.

If you have a private warrant case against you, or you would like to speak with an attorney about this kind of case, please contact one of our knowledgeable Criminal Defense attorneys today.