What happens if I have a warrant?

Orders for Arrest OFA and Warrants for Arrest in North Carolina – Charlotte Criminal Defense

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Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • What is an OFA in North Carolina?
  • Does it matter if it’s Felony vs. Misdemeanor?
  • Can I strike a Warrant for Arrest?
  • Missed Court Appearances
  • Forfeiture of Bond
  • Governor’s Warrants in Criminal Defense cases

Question 1:  What is an OFA?  What happens with Arrest Warrants in North Carolina?

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.

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Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte sometimes refer to that as an OFA / OOF (Order for Arrest / Order of Forfeiture).  By the way, 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.

That is not to say misdemeanor criminal charges are not serious.  Under NC criminal laws, there are times where you can be locked up for misdemeanor allegations.  And like felony criminal charges, you may have to post bond to be released from jail.

A lot depends on the type of the 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.

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Question 3:  Can you help answer my legal questions for NC criminal cases?  

Hi there. I’m Bill Powers I’m an attorney in North Carolina and I am answering, once again, questions that we see online.

These are public postings. These aren’t from clients but they are questions that I go through them and then a better one some of the more common ones I answer hopefully to give you some background information about how the legal system works here in North Carolina.

This case is good because our question is good because it asks a series of inner related issues mostly involving an outstanding order for arrest. So the question is and I’m going to paraphrase it what should I do about an outstanding warrant.

And there’s a difference in a warning or an order for arrest that was issued two years ago and I live on the West Coast.

I was traveling out of country I got stopped at the airport detained in another state North Carolina did not come back or break bring the person back to North Carolina.

LEARN MORE: What are Fugitive and Out of State Warrants?


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OFA Order for Arrest – STOP – Take Action



And this is worrisome to me. I didn’t know about the charges.

What are the next steps? And is there any chance of resolving this without returning North Carolina who.

Well the reason I picked these questions is there are common questions and these are the type of questions that are complicated and in fact as much as I enjoy answering these questions I regularly have to tell people it’s just not a matter of typing something on line get an easy answer or making a phone call dismissing the case as much as at times I think people wish that were the case and I understand it’s distressing to have a worn out on in here you’re on vacation and you come back in the country and they say you’re under arrest when you go get off the plane.


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But there’s reason lawyers go to law school there’s a reason why we have law licenses and that’s because it’s messy at times it’s complicated at times in her and we’re dealing with frankly in this instance three different states and their respective laws.

Now when we’re talking about a warrant for arrest as opposed to an order for arrest and there are technical differences and I don’t want to get too much of a fine point on this but normally a warrant for arrest is where someone has brought a charge against you and you know the police didn’t pick you up right there on the scene they maybe went to see a magistrate and obtained a warrant and they’re waiting to serve you with that warrant in order for arrest traditionally would be relayed to someone who’s either already been served by a warrant or already arrested and failed to appear to court and therefore to issue an order of arrest or in some instances an order of forfeiture where your bond or whatever the terms conditions of your lease were you had to post a bond or if you didn’t show to court you were responsible for that money.

But that order of forfeiture means they forfeit those funds being the state gets to keep them.


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So a warrant Sometimes we see these things stay out there for a substantial period of time and then we deal with this problem where just that someone comes back into the airport and then they’re held by the local state when on the West Coast of the country and then there’s this process of what we call governors warrants were and the governors don’t actually call one another up. Governor Cooper who’s a governor right now to not call up a guest.

I think Jerry Brown if I remember correctly where we are right now they don’t actually pick up a phone. Hey Jerry can you send our guy back here.

There’s a process by which the governors of the state as the chief law enforcement officer of secular state work out sending law enforcement officers to the jurisdiction and bringing him back sometimes involves getting the car of a van or whatever and bringing him back to the home state the home state being where the charges took place.

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Now that’s a long way on the West Coast and unfortunately you can sit in jail for a while before you’re released until that state the co-operates they realize is that North Carolina’s not going to come get you.

Can you handle this or have it handled in such a way that you don’t have to come back to North Carolina.

Maybe that’s where a lawyer would help to pull the documentation to see what the same warrant is.

See if there’s any see any police reports or victim statements or anything like that make contact with the district attorney’s office and see you know are witnesses still available.

If you have an outstanding Order for Arrest and need legal representation, our criminal defense law firm is here to help – Bill Powers 

Is the company or you know if you had stolen something from a company are they still in business.


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Do they store employees to be able to prove the case? Is it a misdemeanor and a felony?

And that’s where it is a discourse between the professionals to see what’s going on and determine whether something can be handled relatively quickly. Now some jurisdictions say no.

Tell you what have your person come back. Process served on them have them turn themselves in and get out of jail whatever the conditions are.

Once we do that I’ll activate the file once the file is activated we will give you the discovery as may be required.

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If it’s a felony in North Carolina and we’ll talk in other jurisdictions if they’re wanted to clear very very old things off their records or just cleared the inventory.

There are instances where we could pick up the phone and say you know Blockbuster Video or this is a good example we had this in North Carolina probably about a year ago now where there was an outstanding warrant for somebody who did not return a Blockbuster Video.

You know the fact that even talking about the video was kind of funny now and their company went out of business.

So there is this outstanding warrant someone actually got arrested taken to jail had to post a bond just up the road from us in Concord North Carolina.

And they got arrested and there was no business to prosecute.

So there are times there are circumstances that’s if that’s an extreme one that’s an unusual one but there are times where we’re able to talk to a DA and say this kind of silly. Give us a call we’re here to help. We offer free consultations.

It’s confidential we don’t talk about it we don’t post your personal information online or get a you know Skyrider or anything like that.

If we think we can help you we’ll let you know if we think it’s something that requires your returning to North Carolina and we’ll let you know that as well.

Telephone Number 704-342-HELP,  704 342 4357.

My name is Bill Powers. I’m here to help you. Good question thanks for asking it.


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Attorney Bill Powers – NBTA / NBLSC Criminal Law Specialist



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