What is the best way for my son to turn himself in without harsh punishments? 40 Answers as of July 09, 2013

My son wants to turn himself in on warrants from six years ago. We can't afford an attorney. What's the best way to do this? He left the state while on probation and had pending charges. He wants to get it all taken care of so he can continue to live, work and support his family.

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would not recommend he do this without an attorney as he could face substantial prison time.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/28/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
If your son was on probation on a case that could have involved jail time or involves a suspended sentence, then he was entitled to an attorney in that case. Unless the attorney has officially withdrawn from the case then he is probably still the attorney of record and can be contacted. That attorney should have the details of the case and perhaps know more about how the local judicial system would treat such a case.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/19/2011
Law Offices of Sean Logue
Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
You should speak to the public defender in your county and get their opinion.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 7/9/2013
D T Pham Associates, PLLC
D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
There is no way that your son can get all of his legal problems taken care so he can continue to live, work and support his family without spending some time in a state-owned facility.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/16/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
I cannot know how to answer your question without knowing what the warrants are for. If they are for felonies, there is a very good chance that if he turns himself in he is going to go to jail and be held until trial, disposition, or until he posts the bond, which could be high since he will probably be viewed as a "flight risk". I would need to know specifics to better answer your question.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/16/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Big problems. You need an attorney or your son is going to get hammered for the maximum sentence. Once you hire an attorney, they can counsel you on how to do a walk through with a bail bonds company to keep him out of jail. Spend the money on the best attorney you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    He should contact the District Attorney's office to arrange a turn in. First he needs to gather all information that he can use for a Serna/Martinez motion. This is a motion that argues that the government failed to prosecute with due diligence. The government has the burden of prosecuting cases with due diligence. (This is because their failure to prosecute can result in prejudice to the defendant.) The types of evidence or proof that you want to collect are speeding tickets that show he had government contact and they did not prosecute. Utility bills in his name showing they could have found him Drivers license showing his actual address
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    He could contact the local sheriff's or police department in charge of executing these warrants and arrange with them to come in to surrender, and then during the arraignment/bail determination process, he should request a court-appointed attorney to represent him.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Go into the court voluntarily early in the day to make sure he appears at the beginning of the docket
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry With an attorney, arrangements could be made to avoid too high a bond and perhaps make an agreement for personal bond prior to going to ever going to Court. Without an attorney, I can only guess. Turning yourself in prior to getting picked up is always better, but it is not predictable. My best advice is to save up the money to hire an attorney, as it may well be worth it, rather than spend a lot of time in jail waiting for the case to get resolved. The choice is yours.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    I would suggest that he call the prosecutor in jurisdiction that has the warrant.He should express his regret for the mistake he made of running off.See if he can set a court date to address the warrant, and ask for a court appointed attorney to address the charges.There may be consequences, but facing them is always better than running.Live a life with courage and faith and all will be well in the end.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Tell him to go to the nearest police station with his driver's license or other valid identification and say to the desk officer "I am surrendering on an arrest warrant."
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    He needs to get this taken care of as soon as possible. He may be eligible for a court appointed attorney if he cannot afford one, but he would have to turn himself in and be arraigned before one could be assigned to him. He should first contact his probation officer and plan a course of action for turning himself in to the jail so he can be arraigned by the judge. They should be able to set up a time for him to do that and then they will take it from there.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Without an attorney, he will have to surrender to the police authority which has the warrants, such as the municipal police or the county sheriff. There most likely will be a bond set so he should make arrangements to post the bond before he surrenders himself.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Have him go to the docket room of the county jail where the charges are pending and identify himself. Ther should be no incident in him being taken into custody. Have him plan to remain incarcerated for an extended period as there is likely no bond to be set. Have him to request the services of appointed counsel he should not try to resolve this matter without counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    There is no best way to turn yourself in. He can either present himself to the sheriff's department in the county where the charges are pending or wait until he is arrested on the outstanding warrants. Turning himself in may look better to the court if he is really trying to clear the matter up.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Six years on the run is already going to make it bad on him. Every day he is out on the run will make it worse when he finally surrenders. He needs to do something now. Try to find a lawyer in the area where he has the warrants and explain the situation. If the county or circuit has a public defender's office call them. At some point your son will have to turn himself in.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    If six years have passed, it really would be to your son's benefit to find a way to hire an attorney. An attorney may be able to deal with this in a way that your son doesn't have to return to the state, or jail, at all. The time that he may not spend in jail and continue working may end up paying for the attorney. I suggest your son at least consult and experienced Criminal Defense attorney to discuss his case in greater detail and learn all of his rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    If he had an attorney on the underlying cases before, he should try to contact that attorney first. For misdemeanor warrants the attorney can appear for him. If that's not an option, then he will have to be brave and show up at court himself. He will have the right to a Public Defender. Depending on his reasons for the warrants he may not have to go into custody. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    If you cannot afford an attorney, try and write the court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    He should go directly to the court and hope that he is lucky enough to go on a day that the Bar Advocate is good as he will need a good attorney. If he can't afford a private attorney this is his best bet. He would be obviously better of with a private attorney since by hiring an attorney that attorney can call the probation office and try to negotiate a proposed disposition before turning himself in, but if he cannot afford it, he will have to roll the dice and just show up.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Contact the local Clerk's Office to find out how to put himself on the calendar. Appear. Your son should take responsibility for his failure to appear, and try to explain to the Court how things got away from him. The cases will resolve, one way or another, though there is some risk that he will be jailed pending disposition of the cases or trial. He should request appointment of the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Call a bondsman to find out the amount of the bond and make arrangements to pay bond after arrest. Then contact the pubic defender for representation. The PD will not represent you prior to arrest and the DA will not negotiate prior to arrest. Your son should invoke right to an attorney as soon as arrested and not discuss any facts of any of the cases or probation violations or leaving the state etc until he discusses with an attorney. Neither should anyone else discuss with anyone but the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi | Rodney Nosratabadi
    The best way is to contact an attorney and make arrangements to surrender himself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    If he cannot afford an attorney, then he needs to gather proof that he has been "living right" and give it to a family member to share with his court appointed lawyer when he gets one. It is best he call his probation officer if that person is still around and inform them that he is turning himself in on X date, and then do so. He should go to the jail in the county where the warrant / case is from. There is no way to guarantee anything about punishment. He is an absconder.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    If the charges are more than just low-level misdemeanors, it is highly advisable he retain an attorney if he wouldn't qualify for a public defender. There isn't a lot of option as to what to do. He simply needs to go the county jail or warrant office and turn himself in, and he will appear in court within a day or two, and will likely receive some consideration for turning himself in.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    Just don't surrender on a friday. He'll sit in jail for the weekend even if he might make bail.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    He needs representation to assist him in getting these charges resolved.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    There's no easy way. See if legal aid or a public defender will help. Otherwise, you're going to have to find the money to hire an attorney or else roll the dice.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    If you cannot afford an attorney, I suggest contacting the county public defender's office and explain the situation. They may provide a lawyer to help with your surrender. You do not want to do it alone especially when you may be facing new felony charges of Bail Jumping (which can be charged even if the bail is zero dollars).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    How do you know you cannot afford an attorney? Have you called anyone? If you truly cannot hire an attorney, go to your county's Public Defender's Office to see if your son qualifies for their services.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    That is hard to answer without knowing the charges and the reason for the warrants and why your son has waited six years and what he has been doing and what he plans on doing in the future. I would at least scrape up enough money to hire a lawyer to help you get a game plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Your son should turn himself into the sheriff's office in the county where the warrants were issued. If possible, he should post bail, but if unable to post bail, he should ask for the public defender, or will be appointed one automatically when he appears before the judge. Let the attorney work out a deal with the prosecutor. Because of his penchant for blowing off court dates, he may end up serving some time in jail or prison, if the offenses were felonies. The fact that he turned himself in will serve him well, and is a major issue in mitigation, but will not act as a defense to the violations for which the warrants were issued in the first place. Good luck to him.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Well the best way is to walk into court with an attorney. The second best way is to walk into court without an attorney. Turning yourself into the court helps since it shows the judge that a person is ready to get the matter taken care of.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Call the court, find out the amount of the bond and then have him turn himself into the local jail at a convenient time, and stand by ready to post the bond once he is processed. Then apply for the public defender once the case is in the courts.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of James S. Lochead
    Law Office of James S. Lochead | James S. Lochead
    Go to the courthouse where the warrants and open case and warrants are and speak to a Public Defender Defense Attorney. Your son is facing serious repercussions for his actions and should have an attorney, whether private or public, representing him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The best way to do this is to go to the court that issued the warrants and have the court put his case on calendar. This is called a walk in. If he walks into a police station he will be in custody until the judge sees him. Depending on what he was on probation for going to the court and not the police may save him time in jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    He should contact the court or courts from which the warrants issued. Court staff can advise your son of the procedure for quashing a warrant. From there, he should follow the instructions exactly. However, he must ensure that he has no contraband on his person when he goes to court. There is some possibility that he could be arrested and that's no time to have drugs or weapons on one's person. The best thing he can do to earn leniency is to first, get his probation requirements satisfied. He should call his probation officer and arrange to get his probation requirements satisfied. If drugs or alcohol were a problem in the past, your son should have proof of treatment completion and or AA slips. Finally, he should have proof for everything he asserts. If he was ordered to undergo any form of treatment, class, or program he should have written proof of completion. If he has remained law-abiding, he should provide proof of that via a background check. Eventually if he plays the game and jumps through enough hoops, he may be eligible to have his criminal convictions vacated and dismissed. However there are some crimes that are forever. The most common one is DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your summary states that you "cannot find an attorney". There are thousands of attorneys in every city. There are only a few good criminal attorneys and they are not cheap, but with so much at stake it is always a good idea to retain the best attorney you can afford to try to get the best possible results under the circumstances. My fee would be about $2,000 to surrender him and resolve the matter.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
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