What is a Capias Warrant? - Definition & Types

Instructor: Jessica Mercado

I completed my BA in Criminal Justice in 2015. Currently working on my MS in Homeland Security Management.

This lesson will cover the definition and the meaning behind the Capias Warrant. The different types of Capias Warrant will also be covered. Additional examples of what a Capias Warrant would look like in an actual setting will be provided.


You witness police officers going up to your neighbor's door. They show him a document, but you can't see it from your vantage point. After a few minutes of heated argument, your neighbor allows the police to handcuff him and take him away. You wonder why he was arrested and what the document was that the officers had when arresting your neighbor. You decide to do some digging to find out.


As you begin your digging, you find out that your neighbor had been arrested prior to this arrest, for stealing from a local bike store. He had entered his guilty plea and had been out on bond until his court hearing. Unfortunately, your neighbor decided to skip out on his court hearing. This act led to the police officers coming to his door with a Capias Warrant that allowed the officers to arrest him, in order to make sure he showed up to his next scheduled court hearing.

A Capias Warrant is an official court document, issued by the judge in court, that authorizes police enforcement to arrest people for: not showing up to a court hearing, not paying fines on time, or not following civil court rulings, such as child support. With this warrant, the defendant has to serve jail time along with paying additional fines and fees. They are NOT allowed to post bond.

Types of Capias Warrants

Your digging is almost complete, but you find out that there are different types of Capias Warrants that are issued, depending on the situation. You wonder which one was issued to your neighbor...

Capias Pro Fine Warrant/Criminal Capias Warrant- This warrant occurs when a defendant has already filed a plea and does not comply to a court order related to the judgement on their case. They were expected to pay fines or fees, along with attending their court hearing, per the agreement of the court order. Non-compliance results in the defendant either paying the fees/fines in full or serving out their sentencing in jail.

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