Mittimus vs. Warrant — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 2, 2023
A mittimus is a court order directing law enforcement to send someone to prison, while a warrant is an official document authorizing police to make an arrest, search, or perform some other action.
Difference Between Mittimus and Warrant
Table of Contents
A mittimus is a judicial writ issued by a court that commands law enforcement to transport a convicted individual to prison. It's the final step in the sentencing process, the document that facilitates the transfer of a person from court to incarceration.
Warrants, on the other hand, are legal documents issued by a judge or magistrate that allow the police to take specific actions. An arrest warrant, for example, permits law enforcement to detain an individual, while a search warrant authorizes police to search a specific location for evidence of a crime.
The mittimus is not to be confused with the initial charges or pre-conviction process; it's used after conviction, symbolizing the court's judgment. In contrast, warrants are often part of the investigative or pre-trial proceedings, enabling law enforcement to gather evidence or take individuals into custody.
While the mittimus is specific to the action of imprisonment following a court order, warrants can be diverse, serving various functions in the criminal justice system, ranging from wiretapping to seizing property. Mittimus deals strictly with the aftermath of a trial's conclusion, while warrants are more about the process leading up to and possibly including a trial.
The execution of a mittimus signifies the end of court proceedings and the start of a sentence, whereas the execution of a warrant typically signals the beginning or continuation of law enforcement proceedings. Mittimus is specific in its purpose and is a clear directive, whereas warrants can be broad, covering an array of legal actions.
Directs incarceration post-conviction
Authorizes law enforcement action
Usage in Legal Process
Often pre-trial or during investigation
Multiple types (arrest, search, bench, etc.)
Judge or magistrate pre or during trial
To move a convict to prison
To arrest, search, seize, etc.
Compare with Definitions
A writ indicating the transfer to a penal institution.
With the mittimus in hand, the officer began the journey to the state prison.
An official authorization for police action.
The officers had a warrant for the suspect's arrest.
A court order for imprisonment.
Upon conviction, the judge issued a mittimus for the defendant.
A document permitting search and seizure.
They couldn’t enter the premises without a search warrant.
Legal paper transporting convicts to prison.
The clerk processed the mittimus for the inmates.
Judicial authorization for a particular task.
The judge signed a warrant for the wiretap.
A writ directing a sheriff to put someone in jail.
The mittimus arrived, so the sheriff prepared to transfer the prisoner.
A certificate of guarantee or authenticity.
The product came with a warranty warranting its quality.
A document committing someone to custody.
After the trial, a mittimus was signed for the guilty party.
A document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or another body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice
An extradition warrant
Magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest
A warrant issued for someone to be taken into custody.
Justification or authority for an action, belief, or feeling
There is no warrant for this assumption
A writ for moving records from one court to another.
An official certificate of appointment issued to an officer of lower rank than a commissioned officer.
A formal dismissal from a situation.
Justify or necessitate (a course of action)
The employees feel that industrial action is warranted
A precept or warrant granted by a justice for committing to prison a party charged with crime; a warrant of commitment to prison.
Officially affirm or guarantee
The vendor warrants the accuracy of the report
(Law) A judicial writ authorizing the search or seizure of property, arrest of a person, or the execution of a legal judgment.
A voucher authorizing payment or receipt of money.
An option to buy stock at a specified price from an issuing company.
Justification for an action or a belief; grounds
"The difficulty of predicting the future is no warrant to ignore it" (Brian Hayes).
Something that provides assurance or confirmation; a guarantee or proof
"The kind of uncertainties and ambiguities ... which may damage [his] essays ... are often a warrant of authenticity in [his] fiction" (John Edward Hardy).
Authorization or certification; sanction, as given by a superior.
A warrant officer.
A certificate of appointment given to a warrant officer.
To provide adequate grounds for; justify or require
What could he have done that would warrant such a punishment?.
To guarantee (a product).
To guarantee (a purchaser) indemnification against damage or loss.
(Law) To guarantee clear title to (real property).
Authorization or certification; a sanction, as given by a superior.
(countable) Something that provides assurance or confirmation; a guarantee or proof.
A warrant of authenticity; a warrant for success
(countable) An order that serves as authorization; especially a voucher authorizing payment or receipt of money.
An option, usually issued together with another security and with a term at issue greater than a year, to buy other securities of the issuer.
A judicial writ authorizing an officer to make a search, seizure, or arrest, or to execute a judgment.
An arrest warrant issued by the court
(countable) A certificate of appointment given to a warrant officer.
A document certifying that a motor vehicle meets certain standards of mechanical soundness and safety; a warrant of fitness.
A defender, a protector.
Underclay in a coal mine.
To protect, keep safe (from danger).
To give (someone) an assurance or guarantee (of something); also, with a double object: to guarantee (someone something).
(transitive) To guarantee (something) to be (of a specified quality, value, etc.).
(transitive) To guarantee as being true; (colloquially) to believe strongly.
That tree is going to fall, I’ll warrant.
(transitive) To authorize; to give (someone) sanction or warrant (to do something).
I am warranted to search these premises fully.
(transitive) To justify; to give grounds for.
Circumstances arose that warranted the use of lethal force.
That which warrants or authorizes; a commission giving authority, or justifying the doing of anything; an act, instrument, or obligation, by which one person authorizes another to do something which he has not otherwise a right to do; an act or instrument investing one with a right or authority, and thus securing him from loss or damage; commission; authority.
A writing which authorizes a person to receive money or other thing.
That which vouches or insures for anything; guaranty; security.
I give thee warrant of thy place.
His worth is warrant for his welcome hither.
A precept issued by a magistrate authorizing an officer to make an arrest, a seizure, or a search, or do other acts incident to the administration of justice.
That which attests or proves; a voucher.
An official certificate of appointment issued to an officer of lower rank than a commissioned officer. See Warrant officer, below.
Right; legality; allowance.
To make secure; to give assurance against harm; to guarantee safety to; to give authority or power to do, or forbear to do, anything by which the person authorized is secured, or saved harmless, from any loss or damage by his action.
That show I first my body to warrant.
I'll warrant him from drowning.
In a placeLess warranted than this, or less secure,I can not be.
To support by authority or proof; to justify; to maintain; to sanction; as, reason warrants it.
True fortitude is seen in great exploits,That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides.
How little while it is since he went forth out of his study, - chewing a Hebrew text of Scripture in his mouth, I warrant.
To give a warrant or warranty to; to assure as if by giving a warrant to.
[My neck is] as smooth as silk, I warrant ye.
To secure to, as a grantee, an estate granted; to assure.
A writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
A type of security issued by a corporation (usually together with a bond or preferred stock) that gives the holder the right to purchase a certain amount of common stock at a stated price;
As a sweetener they offered warrants along with the fixed-income securities
Formal and explicit approval;
A Democrat usually gets the union's endorsement
A written assurance that some product or service will be provided or will meet certain specifications
Show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for;
The emergency does not warrant all of us buying guns
The end justifies the means
Stand behind and guarantee the quality, accuracy, or condition of;
The dealer warrants all the cars he sells
I warrant this information
A legal paper authorizing a specific act.
The warrant allowed the collection of personal communications.
Who issues a mittimus?
A mittimus is issued by a judge or court.
What does a warrant do?
A warrant authorizes law enforcement to carry out a specific action, such as arrest or search.
Can anyone request a warrant?
Law enforcement officials request warrants based on evidence, and a judge issues them.
What is a mittimus?
A mittimus is a court order directing the confinement of a person in prison.
When is a mittimus used?
A mittimus is used after a defendant has been convicted and sentenced by a court.
What information is included in a mittimus?
It includes the convict's name, the offense, and instructions for incarceration.
Is a mittimus public record?
Typically, a mittimus is a public record, accessible through the court.
Can a warrant be issued without evidence?
No, warrants require probable cause and are based on evidence.
Can a warrant be issued after a trial?
Yes, warrants like bench warrants can be issued if a person fails to appear in court post-trial.
What types of warrants are there?
There are arrest warrants, search warrants, bench warrants, and more.
Does a mittimus require immediate action?
Yes, once issued, a mittimus requires immediate implementation.
Is a mittimus needed for a jail sentence?
Yes, a mittimus formally orders the jail sentence to be carried out.
How long is a warrant valid?
A warrant remains valid until it is executed or canceled by the court.
Are warrants specific to a location?
Some warrants, like search warrants, are specific to locations.
Can a mittimus be appealed?
The conviction leading to a mittimus can be appealed, not typically the mittimus itself.
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Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.