Although some new criminal cases make their way to a judge for issuance of a warrant, the vast majority of arrests on warrants are for bond forfeitures or probation revocations. However, on occasion, law enforcement agencies will get a case where a warrantless arrest is not possible. In many instances, such as sexual assault, embezzlement, assaults where the Defendant has left the scene before the police arrive, or drug distribution cases, the investigating agency must marshall enough evidence to convince a judge that an offense has occurred. Under these circumstances, the agency will generate an affidavit for a warrant of arrest and detention, present the paperwork to a judge, and secure issuance of a warrant for the Defendant.
First degree felonies carry a sentence of five years to 99 years, or life in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine. First degree offenses include Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, Murder, Possession of more than 200 grams of certain Controlled Substance, and Aggravated Kidnapping. The maximum term of probation on first, second and third degree felonies is 10 years. In addition, in certain categories of offenses, such as Aggravated Robberies, and Aggravated Assaults, only a jury - and not a judge - can grant probation for the Defendant. In some sexual offenses involving children, even a jury cannot give probation.
A conviction for certain aggravated offenses also means that the Defendant will not be eligible for release on parole until he has served one-half of his prison sentence. In other cases, the Defendant can become eligible for release on parole when the time served, plus credits, equals one-quarter of the original sentence.
Second degree felonies, such as Burglary of a Habitation, Sexual Assault of a Child, Intoxication Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, etc., carry a possible term of two years to 20 years in the penitentiary, and a fine up to $10,000.
Third degree felonies, such as Burglary of a Building, Indecency with a Child by Exposure, Assault causing Serious Bodily Injury, Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, and third or subsequent DWI’s carry a term of two to 10 years, and a maximum fine of $5,000.