What Is a Capias Warrant?

A capias warrant is a document that authorizes authorities to arrest someone, often for failure to show up in court. The capias document has to include an affidavit that asserts the crimes of the defendant targeted by the warrant.

The term is Latin for “that you take.” It specifies that a specific party be taken into custody for a specific reason that’s stated on the warrant. The warrant generally needs to have four pieces of information on it. First it has to have the name of the accused on it, or if their name isn’t known it must have a description of the individual. Second, it has to show that there is good reason to believe the accused has committed an offense. The third piece of information it must have is a time and date that the person making the affidavit believes is when the accused committed the crime. Lastly, a capias warrant has to have the signature of the person making the affidavit.

Different types of capias warrants might be issued in different circumstances. For example a “capias ad audiendum judicium” writ states that a defendant be brought back before the court. Other types of warrants might say that the defendant is to be put into custody until they pay off a debt.