Can I avoid jail time if I have a bench warrant? 11 Answers as of July 12, 2013

I missed my court date 3 years ago and havea bench warrant. Can I avoid jail time?

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Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Possible? Yes, but that depends upon the charges, facts, etc. The final decision will be the judges. For you to handle this, you must turn yourself into the court, with or without an attorney, and try to negotiate a plea bargain on the warrant and new Failure to Appear charges, plus negotiate any outstanding charges. Doing so voluntarily will result in a better outcome than you being brought in cuffs to court after arrest on the warrant.

That will happen if you come in contact with law enforcement or customs anywhere in the US. Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail/prison, or at least dramatically reduce it, and may enable you to get your probation and programs reinstated. If this is a felony, the defendant must be personally present at every court hearing and appearance. If this is a misdemeanor, the attorney can appear in court without the defendant being present, and any plea bargain deal could be handled by notarized paperwork. Any fines could be paid by mail. Jail time, if any, would create an obvious problem requiring the defendants presence.

You certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. Unless you're competent to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor trying to put you in jail, most people hire an attorney who can. If this is in SoCal courts, and you're serious about getting legal help doing so, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
LynchLaw
LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
You can, but it depends on the facts of the case. If you need to clear a warrant you can either ask for the case to be place onto the calendar, or you can hire an attorney to have it placed for you. While the court can take you into custody under the arrest warrant, typically it will take your placing of the matter on the calendar as an act of good faith and reward that good faith with another promise to appear. This is especially true if you hire an attorney. The Courts and Bail bondsmen both recognize defendants who hire private counsel typically make all court appearances. Bail bondsmen will even give you a discount on your bail if you have hired an attorney. Just another advantage of having private counsel.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
Possibly. It depends on many factors including the underlying offense (misdemeanor or felony), the reason for your absence, and whether you have a good attorney. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
The answers to the questions are based upon the facts given. Wrong or incomplete facts may affect the vitality of the answer. This will depend on lots of fact not given. Most important is what the underlying charge is. If it is minor and you go in on your own walk in it will be better. Failure to appear is a misdemeanor and you could go to jail if you dont have the right reason.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
Mandarano, Cavaletto & Associates
Mandarano, Cavaletto & Associates | Christopher Mandarano
It depends on what your explanation is for the failures to appear is and whether the underlying offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. After 3 FTA's, I would suggest hiring a lawyer because the court generally is not impressed with your excuses for the no-shows and you'll need a strong advocate to fight for you to stay out and on your own recognizance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/25/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you have an incredibly great excuse. Go in with a lawyer or Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Bench warrant for what type of offense?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    In general, you always run the risk of jail whenever a bench warrant has been issued. However, in your case, much more detail is needed to properly assess your situation and the circumstances surrounding the warrant. At this point, the best way to get an answer is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to thoroughly evaluate your case. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    A bench warrant doesn't require jail time, but the reason for the warrant and the underlying offense may.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    To minimize the chances that you will be taken in custody, you should have an attorney go to court (without you) to recall the warrant. You not being there means you won't be taken into custody, at least not right then and there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf | Lawrence Wolf
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/11/2013
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