If I was never arrested or charged, can they issue me a warrant for missing a court date? 9 Answers as of July 25, 2013

I was never arrested or charged with anything and on Father's Day, I was arrested for a warrant for "missing a court date". Well, they had apparently sent the paperwork to my previous address. I have had my drivers license with the correct address for the past 3 years, so they got the paperwork back (return to sender). If I was never arrested or charged with any crime, how can they give me a court date? And also, how can they issue a warrant if the paperwork was returned to sender? It's for 2 counts petty misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Someone probably used your name when they got arrested. That is how you never knew of anything. The incorrect address is what that person gave the cops. Get a lawyer and fight this.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/25/2013
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Yes. as long as you fail to appear in court on a citation.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/24/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
As you did not provide a forwarding address in the post office, apparently, you were obviously charged with a crime and also failed to appear in court for the pending case. You need to contact a lawyer to look into this problem and resolve it for you. It probably will require you to turn yourself into the sheriff on the warrant.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 7/22/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
The warrant should not have been issued because you received no notice of the court date. Nonetheless, you will need to defend yourself against the theft charges. Even if your arrest was improper, this does not mean that the theft charges will go away. You need to retain criminal defense counsel because the charges you face are serious
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/19/2013
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
They can. What likely happened is they sent a letter with a court date to you which you never got. You should hire a lawyer to go to court to recall the warrant. A lawyer can do this without you present, so it is less risky for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2013
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Since this already happened, the obvious answer is, yes they can. When the court has no proof of service that you were notified of the court date, they issue what is called a "bench warrant." As the name implies, it is a warrant issued "from the bench" by the judge to secure your appearance with the court. Once you are aware of the warrant, the best course of action is to contact your lawyer and have him/her accompany you to surrender yourself to the court. If you do not do this, the warrant will stay open and the next time you encounter the police and they run a wants and warrants, they will take you into custody and hold you for transport to the nearest court on the next business day. That means that if you were away from home and you were stopped by police and they saw your warrant, they would take you into custody in their jurisdiction and bring you to their court the next day court was in session. That court would likely hold you for transport to the court that issued the warrant. If this happened on a Friday you could spend the weekend in jail. If it happened out of town, you could be held for court the next day in that court, then brought to the closest House of Correction and held at least overnight before transport to the court that issued the warrant. To avoid all of this, you can simply surrender yourself to the court that issued the warrant, with your own lawyer, get another date, get the warrant recalled and then simply deal with the charge. Much better to do this on your terms than those of the court. We get calls all the time from people all over the country that didn't realize that they had an open warrant from MA until they went to renew their license and were denied due to the open warrant. Deal with it now. Do not wait until the court forces you to deal with it when they catch you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/19/2013
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    They can charge you by mail. They probably took the matter under investigation, prepared a report, and referred it to the prosecutor for a charging determination. The prosecutor decided to charge. A citation was then mailed to you to appear in court. When you didn't show a warrant was issued. However, because the citation/subpoena as mailed to a wrong address, the warrant will be recalled, but the charge is still there.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2013
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    It's not the court's responsibility to make sure the paperwork is delivered to you it's your responsibility to make sure the court has your correct address. The prosecutor filed charges against you, and you missed the court date, so now there is a warrant. You need to hire an attorney to lift the warrant and work out a plea-bargain deal to get the theft charges reduced or dismissed. Or if you want to represent yourself (which I don't recommend that you do), then pay the bond to get the warrant lifted and the court will give you a new court date.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/19/2013
    Catchick Law, PC
    Catchick Law, PC | Matt Catchick
    I would strongly recommend you as soon as possible retain a local Criminal Defense Attorney to have the improperly-issued warrant set aside, and to have the matter scheduled for a Pre-Trial Conference, so they can review the police report in detail to assess your available defenses. Even though you were not arrested nor formally charged at the actual scene of the alleged incident, the police can later submit their reports and findings to the local prosecutor, who can then decide whether to request a warrant based on the police reports and findings.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2013
Click to View More Answers: