Do I need to surrender to the court which issued my bench warrant? 4 Answers as of March 28, 2011I missed a court date nearly seven years ago for DUI. I was given a date to reappear after entering a plea, but did not show up. I now live in NYC, but the court of infraction was in upstate NY. Do I have to go to the same court, or can this matter be handled/resolved locally?
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You should retain an attorney in the city that you were charged in because he will be more familiar with the judge and DA. He will also not have to travel to that city which would be very expensive. You must travel to that city and retain an experienced criminal attorney with 20 years or more experience. He will surrender you to the police who will bring you to court. He will have the bench warrant withdrawn and possibly have the charges dismissed. When people do not show up in court for seven or more years and there was no bail the lawyer can often have the case dismissed because the prosecutor did not use "due diligence" to bring you into court and the case can be dismissed on timeliness statutes. The witnesses may not be available or the police officer may have no memory of the events. You will always have a bench warrant on your record however and this may cause another judge in the future to set a high bail on any new arrests. Make sure that your attorney gives you the paperwork showing that the case is resolved and that you carry it with you for several years after the bench warrant is withdrawn since the police may not have an updated computer printout or it may not be removed right away and you will be able to show the police that the bench warrant is no longer in effect. Otherwise the police are required to arrest you and you could be in jail for several days before you appear in front of a judge in Manhattan. In Buffalo it takes about 12 hours, but in Manhattan it can take 48 hours to process you in order to have the proper paperwork for your court appearance. I have an office in Buffalo and Manhattan and handle cases in every city in New York so feel free to call for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: New York
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
You must report back to the court in which the Warrant was issued. Otherwise, it would allow anyone who warranted in a difficult court to go to the easiest court to answer it instead. That would lead to "Judge shopping" which is not allowed within the system. In other words, you must go back to the court in which the case was pending originally and answer the Warrant. I suggest you hire an attorney to accompany you or speak to someone ahead of time to make things a little easier and get an idea of what the bail could be so you are prepared. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York