What happens if I have a warrant?

Orders for Arrest OFA and Mecklenburg County Warrants:  What Happens if I have a Warrant for Arrest?

If you have questions about an “OFA” or an outstanding warrant in NC, our team of Charlotte criminal defense lawyers is here to help.

It’s important to immediately address any outstanding legal process, whether it be a Criminal Summons in North Carolina, an Order for Arrest (OFA) or Warrant for Arrest or “Arrest Warrant” – Bill Powers 


There are subtle, but important differences between each of them and how different jurisdictions in North Carolina handle each of them.

We encourage people to face allegations of criminal charges head on, whether they be for misdemeanor or felony charges.  Sometimes outstanding warrants in NC are due to not knowing about the charges.  Running from legal process and failing to properly address a case, in a timely fashion, can make a bad situation worse.  It can result in higher bonds and longer stretches of jail time – Bill Powers 

The defense lawyers at our law firm want to provide answers to your questions involving:

  • What is an OFA in North Carolina?
  • Does it matter if it’s Felony vs. Misdemeanor?
  • Can I strike NC Warrants for Arrest?
  • What are Warrants in NC?
  • Are Mecklenburg County Warrants different?
  • What happens if I missed court?
  • Is there a warrant for my arrest?
  • Forfeiture of Bond
  • Governor’s Warrants in Criminal Defense cases

Question 1:  What is an OFA?  Is an OFA different from NC Warrants? What happens with Arrest Warrants in NC? Am I required to go to jail?  

OFA in a North Carolina criminal defense case is an acronym:

  • FOR

If you missed your court date for criminal charges in NC, the Judge may in certain circumstances issue an Order for Arrest.

If there was a bond posted at the time of your initial release from jail, the Judge may also, when legally appropriate, issue an Order of Forfeiture for failing to appear, thus forfeiting the bond.

An Order for Arrest or “OFA” is technically different than other types of warrants in NC.

Warrants for Arrest may start the legal process and can be related to felony charges and an indictment.

They are often the original charging document and may be in addition to a citation, ticket, or “Uniform Citation” issued as part of “drunk driving” charges, other traffic violations, and/or less serious misdemeanor charges that are not always subject to an arrest.

Each case is different and clearly the process of initiating criminal charges can be a bit complicated, if not confusing.

If you have questions about your legal matter, we strongly recommend you immediately seek legal advice.  

As defense lawyers, we work hard to make sure you understand how laws may or may not apply to your unique circumstances.  We want you to understand your case and how things proceed in court – Bill Powers

Warrants are both similar to and different than a criminal summons in North Carolina.

Both warrants and summonses set forth the name of the accused and general allegations of criminal charges.

Warrants instruct law enforcement officials to arrest the person facing the misdemeanor or felony charges.

A criminal summons is served on the Defendant, but there is no arrest authorized under the law.

Mecklenburg County Warrants for ArrestCharlotte lawyers sometimes refer to an Order for Arrest in Mecklenburg County as an OFA / OOF (Order for Arrest / Order of Forfeiture).

“FTA” in criminal matters stands for “Failure to Appear.”

Orders for Arrest are technically different from Arrest Warrants or Warrants for Arrest in North Carolina.

As a practical matter, if you’re facing criminal charges in NC, it doesn’t much matter.

In the end, police officers and law enforcement officials will be looking serve the outstanding process, take you into custody, arrest you, and take you to jail.

Question 2:  Does it matter if the criminal charges are Felony vs. Misdemeanor? 

Not really.  Clearly, felony charges are more serious criminal allegations with the associated consequences.  Depending on the type of criminal case in North Carolina, and the local bond policy, the terms for release can be substantial for NC felony charges.  Mecklenburg County warrants and the process of charging someone with a criminal offense have changed greatly since December 1, 2017.

What are Fugitive and Out of State Warrants?

That is not to say misdemeanor criminal charges are not serious.  Under Chapter 14: Criminal Laws in North Carolina, there are times where you can be locked up for misdemeanor allegations.  And like felony criminal charges, you may have to post a bond to be released from jail.

A lot depends on the type of criminal charges, whether they are felony or misdemeanor allegations, your prior criminal record or criminal history, and whether you are determined to be a flight risk.

Question 3:  How are Warrants served? What is a Criminal Summons?  

There have been substantial changes to the official court policies in Mecklenburg County regarding N.C.G.S. 15A-304(b), N.C.G.S. 15A-502, et al.

It would be a mistake to assume other judicial districts in North Carolina have applied the amended statutes in such a broad, far-reaching fashion.  In Mecklenburg County, there is now a “preference” for a criminal summons over a warrant.

The current reading of the Criminal Summons law essentially precludes Warrants for Arrest in North Carolina for a large number, if not a majority, of criminal of matters in Charlotte.

The North Carolina Criminal Laws read, in relevant part:

“UNLESS A SUBSTANTIAL LIKELIHOOD EXISTS THAT THE DEFENDANT WILL NOT RESPOND TO A SUMMONS” (no emphasis added) NC Warrants are not proper.  That’s true for Mecklenburg County warrants too.

FREE Case Evaluation for Mecklenburg County Warrants – CALL NOW:  704-342-4357  

The defense lawyers at our law firm help people with:

If you have a pending warrant in Charlotte, we recommend you take immediate action.

Do not ignore an “arrest warrant.”  Seek legal counsel without delay.

Call Bill Powers 704-342-4357


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