What is a Capias Warrant?


Most people are familiar with the term “a warrant for your arrest” and understand its implications. There are many different types of warrants that the legal system has set up to be used in a variety of situations. One of the most common types of warrants is the capias warrant. The word “capias” is Latin and translates in English to “for the taking of.” There are several situations where a capias warrant can be used by criminal or other types of courts.

What Is A Capias Warrant?

A capias warrant is issued when someone needs to be detained to ensure that they make a scheduled court appearance. It is important to note that a capias warrant is only used in an arrest situation. This type of warrant does not allow for the seizure of property, nor does it allow for searching a property to legally gather evidence for a case.

Most Common Use

The most common use for a capias writ is as an arrest warrant for defendants in criminal cases who do not show up for their scheduled court date. Before being able to issue a capias warrant, a judge must have compelling evidence against the defendant and be absolutely certain that the warrant is being properly applied.

Not Honoring A Bond

If a defendant has been released on bond, that defendant is expected to show up for their scheduled court date. If the defendant does not show up, then the bond is revoked and the courts will issue a capias warrant for the defendant’s arrest.

Capias Pro Fine

When someone loses a judgement in a court of law, they are ordered to pay restitution to the other party by a certain date. If that restitution is not paid, then a capias pro fine warrant is issued for the person who was supposed to make the payment. But a capias pro fine is not necessarily an immediate writ for arrest. In most cases, the court wants the defendant returned to face the judge and explain why payment was not made.

Other Jurisdictions

Capias warrants can also be used to bring in a person who missed a date in court for a traffic ticket. In various capacities, capias warrants can also be used in family and civil courts to bring in people who were supposed to make a scheduled court date.

If you miss a court date, you can expect a capias warrant to be issued in your name. This is a writ of arrest that compels law enforcement to bring you back to court and stand before the judge. The capias warrant can also appear in other types of courts for various purposes, but the end result of any capias warrant is to bring the person back to court to answer for missing a scheduled court date.