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A Guide to Open Warrants in Massachusetts: What to Know

For most Boston residents, the concept of an open warrant is often heard on the news, talked about in the newspapers, or discussed in conversations and online forums.

At one point or another, you may have heard about an open warrant being served to a suspected criminal or a former jailbird on the run from a pile of cases and complaints. Although you may like to assume that you don’t need to know about open warrants beyond what is heard from the news, it also pays to know this legal concept in depth, especially in situations where awareness comes handy. 

All you need to know about open warrants in Massachusetts

If you want to learn more about how open warrants work after realizing their importance, then there’s no need to worry because the Fernandez Firm has you covered with this guide: 

A baseline definition

Open warrants essentially provide police officers with the authority to arrest a specific individual whose name is listed in the document. 

Issued for various reasons, having this document on your head means that officers are more obliged to search for you, pull over vehicles in your name, or visit your place of residence. Once the police find you, you can be immediately arrested if it is determined that there are any open warrants against you – hence the “open” aspect of the term. 

The two types of open warrants

When it comes to specificity, open warrants can function differently depending on the type of document that is served to you.

Depending on the current situation, the events that can occur after a warrant is served, and someone is arrested can pan out according to the document’s specifics. Let’s go over both types of open warrants in further detail: 

Default warrants

Generally, default warrants pertain to the documents that are served after your failure to appear in court on an assigned day, which results in authorities drafting a “bench” document. Apart from failing to appear on the assigned day, however, a default document may also be served if a defendant fails to comply with a stated court order that they are bonded to.

In most cases, default warrants come with various issues because of how susceptible they are to interferences. For instance, default warrants may stem from situations involving a document being mailed to a former address, meaning that a receiving party is understandably unaware of their hearing date. 

Straight warrants

Typically, this is the type of open warrant commonly seen on TV or heard about on the news.

Technically defined as an open warrant for a criminal charge, straight warrants are served when no officer was present at the time of a relevant criminal offense to arrest a perpetrator.

In terms of when it’s served or what it’s served for, it’s critical to note that these can be served for anything from drunken driving, sexual assault, grand larceny, arson, homicide, or murder. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a straight warrant, then it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of The Fernandez Firm’s legal experts for apt help!


The concept of an open warrant is something that any Massachusetts native must be familiar with because of how critical it is to comply so that any unwanted complications are avoided. Through this guide’s help, you can be well-aware of what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you are served a straight or default warrant for your arrest!

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