What can I do if I didn't turn myself in after a warrant was issued? 48 Answers as of July 12, 2013

I had a warrant issued 3 years ago and I haven't turned myself in yet. What should I do? Are there any programs that will let me clear my warrant if I turn myself in? What could the judge's sentence be? I have a warrant for failure to appear in court and I'm on probation also.

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
It depends. You will have to turn yourself in to get the matter cleared up or else it will always be hanging over your head. It looks much better if you do it on your own as opposed to getting picked up. Hire a lawyer so he can arrange with the judge and probation officer for you to come in and be arraigned. Your probation could be extended, or you could get your probation revoked and face the jail or prison sentence of your conviction on top of additional jail for the violation. This can have serious consequences and you should not be represented without a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
If you are on probation, I am surprised that your PO hasn't locked you up on the warrant. If you hire an attorney, the attorney can probably get the warrant recalled, provided it was your first "failure to appear." Even if that is not the case, the attorney can get a bond worked out of you ahead of time so that you can turn yourself in and immediately post the bond.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/15/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
The only way to approach an outstanding warrant is to surrender to the warrant. I would advise you consult with an attorney before you surrender as he may be able to get the bond adjusted to keep you out of jail while the case proceeds.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 6/10/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
You should consult with an attorney to discuss the details of your cases. In each case, it may be different when you turn yourself in. It will depend on the charge, the Judge, and the reason why you avoided addressing the warrant. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/10/2011
LynchLaw
LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
You should consult with an attorney. Depending on why the arrest warrant was issued, the statue of limitations might have run. You do not have any duty to prosecute yourself. You say you "haven't turned myself in yet." Unless you have made a promise to appear, you are not required to "turn yourself in." The DA, on the other hand, has a duty to provide you with a speedy trial. In three years evidence is lost, witnesses can't be located or can't remember facts. All of these facts can work against you at trial. If the DA did not prosecute you in a reasonable amount of time the whole case can be dismissed. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/9/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    You should contact an attorney promptly. Depending on what the underlying charge is there is a chance the court will take you into custody until you can be arraigned. This may mean you are spending the night for several days until the arraignment, but you may have bond set at a level you cannot pay at the arraignment. An attorney can advise you whether or not you will likely spend time in jail. The sentence can be anywhere within the range of the underlying offense.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You can hire an attorney to contact the courts and determine what exactly the charges pending against you are. It may be possible for an attorney to negotiate with the court to allow them to lift the warrant or attachment in return for your promise to appear in court or pay fines. Either way, you should certainly consult with an attorney before turning yourself in or contacting the police. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You haven't given me sufficient information to answer your question. If the warrant is a felony warrant there is little you can do other than to turn yourself in to the docket room in the county where the warrant exists. If the warrant is a misdemeanor warrant, particularly in a municipal court, you may, have the warrant withdrawn and have the case set for a trial or disposition. In limited cases, with misdemeanor warrants, an attorney may be able to assist you with a plea in abstentia meaning that no court appearance would be required.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    You need a lawyer. If you turn yourself in, you may be able to resolve it or you may wind up in jail. Contact a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Assume Oregon law applies: Generally a warrant can only be cleared by turning yourself in to the court. I would set aside some money for someone to post as bail, it the court will set bail. Without more background there is no way I can predict a sentence .
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    You should contact the Court that issued the warrants and ask about their procedure for quashing. If you can afford it, you should hire an experienced local lawyer to help you get everything quashed and minimize the punishment you'll face for your failures to appear. Let me know if you have any questions!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    If I were you, I would contact an attorney and arrange to quash the warrant. Your attorney should be able to find out whether you will be taken into custody when you quash the warrant, but you need to take care of the warrant before anything else can happen in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Failure to appear in what court? If the FTA is in municipal court (traffic ticket court) then any lawyer can file an attorney bond and clear the warrant. This is not cheap, but it is relatively painless. The attorney can appear and file the bond, assume representation on the ticket - negotiate the fine for you and clear it all without your ever being arrested. If the warrant is out of County Court, County Court at Law, or District Court, that is an entirely different animal, the arresting agency is the Sheriff of the County in question. You will need a bondsman lined up (if you want this to go fast - or as fast as possible). You will turn yourself in at the appointed time (a time you and your bondsman have negotiated) your bondsman will post and you can get released. You then will need to get a lawyer for the underlying case, the FTA will be rolled in during the court proceedings. Either way, turning yourself in will clear the warrant, the question is how long you will be in jail before you bond or sit out the warrant. FTA in Collin County and most for that fact is a $350 fine or three days in jail to sit it out, so plan accordingly if you plan to sit it out. If your FTA was not a Class C (ticket event) then you need a bondsman or plan to sit in jail until the case is called - it can take a couple weeks.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    You need to schedule a hearing to quash the warrant. It is likely that you will face bail jumping charges for your failure to appear (FTA). You should confer with your attorney in the case you FTA'd on.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    I would recommend retaining legal council to assist you with this matter. The best way to deal with a warrant is to voluntarily turn yourself in at the court to be arraigned. If you do not turn yourself in, the police may ultimately just arrest you, put you into custody, and you may need to wait a significant period of time prior to being arraigned. If this warrant was a result of conduct during a pending case or post-closing and you had an attorney, contact your attorney. The possible consequences depend on why the warrant was issued, the particular policies of the judge, the type of charges, etc. Speaking generally, a probation officer is the person responsible for filing allegations that a probationer violated the terms and conditions of their probation. People charged with violating their probation are generally provided written notice of the allegations and they are also usually provided with notice of the date and time for an arraignment at the applicable court. States have different policies regarding probationers. However, probationers generally still have some basic rights. Probation officers need at least some credible proof before they can charge someone with a violation. If you need specific advice for your particular circumstances, you should retain an attorney or request the court appoint you an attorney. Policies vary, so consulting with a local defense attorney is best policy. You should consult with your attorney or retain an attorney to assist with this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    If you're already on Probation (you didn't mention for what type of conviction or for how long, so I cannot comment on it) and you have a Warrant outstanding, it's unlikely that it's really outstanding because your Probation Officer would normally pick you up the next time you went into Probation to report. Instead of waiting for such a thing to happen, why not surrender directly in Court at the Clerk's office, appear before the Judge and ask an attorney to represent you in Court. By surrendering yourself, you'll usually have a much better ability to get bail set or be released on your own recognizance. After that, your attorney will represent you and resolve the case before long, however, you'll still have to deal with the fact that this new case apparently happened while you were already on Probation. If that is so, then any conviction will likely result in a Violation of Probation, which could result in a tougher sentence. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    The best thing you can do is to call an attorney who practices criminal law and see if he or she can set a hearing for you to turn yourself in (and keep you out of jail) or negotiate a deal with the DA for you to stay out of jail. Some states or counties have amnesty programs where people with old warrants can turn themselves in with no questions asked and stay out of jail as long as the offense isn't too serious (sometimes they make you agree to do some community service too). Whether you stay out of custody and what the sentence may be will depend on how serious the crime was and your past criminal history.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Contact a local defense lawyer and make arrangements to turn yourself in. Bail should be set and a trial date set to resolve case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Generally, the only way to clear a warrant is to appear in person. If the offense is only a misdemeanor then an attorney may be able to appear for you. The penalty depends on what phase the case was in when you failed to appear. The case resumes from wherever you left off. Feel free to call my office if you want to discuss the details of your particular case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Locally we have an "add on" docket for municipal court, where the first 50 people can sign up starting at around 7 am for morning court to handle those issues. You just bring 450 for contempt of failure to appear and handle your case or get a reset date. If you have nothing like that where you are, hire a lawyer to help you. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You should hire an attorney to vacate the warrant and defend the charges.You could also be charged with a violation of probation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You can appear and have the warrant recalled. You are likely to be arrested if you appear. Best to get an attorney to help you avoid jail or get an agreed bond to that you only show up and get released.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Your best bet is to have an attorney try to calender it before the court before you are arrested. It will maximize the chance that you can remain out of custody during the pendency of the proceedings.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    The consequences for not turning yourself in on a warrant could be significant or minor, depending on what the warrant is for and the specific circumstances of your case. You may have grounds to have the case dismissed based on the fact that the government has not located you in the last three years, but that will depend on the specific facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If there has been a warrant outstanding for that long, it may be difficult to have the matter set on for hearing without reporting to jail on the warrant. Your best option is to hire experienced legal counsel to seek to have the warrant stayed pending a hearing on the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    No one can ever predict what a court will do; however, it is important that you address this situation and turn yourself in. You should also promptly retain a criminal lawyer to help advise you as to your rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    You need to hire an attorney and then turn yourself in. If you get picked up on the warrant, things will go much worse for you. An attorney might even be able to have the failure to appear warrant recalled and have a new bond sent. If not, the lawyer can get the process moving so you're not just languishing in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Sharifi & Baron
    Sharifi & Baron | S. Yossof Sharifi
    Depending on what court and what judge, you could be facing some serious time behind bars. There's one justice court judge in Utah that I know would try and keep you locked up as long as the law would allow him. Hire a good criminal defense lawyer right away and let him try and take care of the warrant. You need to act fast though; the last thing you want are the police showing up at your door or place of employment.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    I cannot answer this question without more information. You can call an attorney in the state where your warrant is to provide detailed information for an accurate response.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You have not stated enough information with respect to what the underlying offense is or what you are on probation for. You have violated the terms of your probation matter as well. To rectify this situation, and try to limit the penalties, it is best if you retain an attorney to deal with these situations. Please contact me to discuss. It is better if you turn yourself in rather than get picked up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    My question is what are you on probation for?Also what have you been doing the last three years. Turning yourself in, especially with an attorney, helps with soothing the judge. It is much better than if you are brought in because you were picked up.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Have an attorney appear in court without you to try and recall the warrant. Otherwise you risk being taken in immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    If you have a warrant it would be best for you to hire an attorney to appear for you and resolve the warrant. It sounds like you still have an open case that needs to be resolved as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain an attorney to surrender you to the police on the bench warrant and appear in court get you out on a bail or on your own recognizance.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    In all probability, the warrant is entered into LEIN and if you are stopped by the police for any reason, you will be arrested. Contact the court where the warrant was issued and make arrangements to turn yourself in and answer the warrant. It is impossible to determine what a judge will do in this situation, but remember, the warrant is for failing to appear. You may want to seek the assistance of an attorney in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    You need to consult an attorney that practices in the court that issued your warrant. Different courts have different procedures for quashing a warrant. Since your warrant is 3 years old you will want the advise of a local attorney because it is likely that the Judge will impose bail (make you pay money to stay out of jail). How the judge responds partly depends on what the underlying charge was, how many times you have failed to appear in the past, and how old the warrant is. Once the warrant is quashed the court will give you another court date regarding the original offense. Feel free to call for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    For you to handle a warrant, 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, and negotiate any outstanding charges that caused the warrant, and any probation violation charges this caused. Doing so voluntarily will result in a better outcome than being brought in cuffs to court after arrest on the warrant. 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 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 serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    It depends on what the warrant is for and what is your jurisdiction whether warrant is bench warrant or arrest warrant, for felony or misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC | Brandon Moffitt
    You can probably turn yourself in and bond out. You should consult local lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Lowenstein Law Office
    Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
    You can and should turn yourself in, with the help of an attorney. Often you can look very good in front of a Judge for having done so, and can negotiate great bail and/or a reduced sentence. Please email or call me if I can answer more elaborately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    You should talk to a lawyer. If you can't afford a lawyer, you'll have to turn yourself in before the court will appoint a lawyer. Having a warrant out is not, itself, a crime, although it might be a violation of your probation. Failing to attend court when you're properly ordered to do so is a crime. I have no idea what the sentence will be, because I don't know what the underlying charges are. Some judges will set a hearing without requiring you to turn yourself in, but that's hard to arrange.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    You probably should seek to quash the warrant. If this is a misdemeanor warrant, some courts have regular calendars to address warrants. If this is a felony warrant, then you probably need to set a motion before the court that issues the warrant. As far as repercussions, without more information it is not really possible to identify the consequences for a 3 year old warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    I think you need a lawyer to act as a liaison between yourself and the authorities. Bring an attorney up-to-speed on the specifics of your situation- and the offenses still pending- and he or she may be able to advise getting something accomplished or completed prior to contacting the police, or working out the best circumstances under which you do notify the authorities... they might not be pleasant- as rotten as it would be for them to play rough with someone turning themselves in, it wouldn't be the first time. Protect yourself- talk with an attorney first.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    On a failure to appear warrant, a bond is automatically attached. The amount varies but must be posted before you are released. There are no programs to clear the warrant but there are many programs that will allow you to have the charges dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    There are too many facts missing from your question... What's the underlying charge? What stage was the case when the warrant was issued? Warrants never expire, so you're going to have to deal with it. There can be a motion to dismiss a misdemeanor filed by your attorney in the right circumstances, but it depends on the timing of when the warrant was issued. The other problem is that you were on probation, so if they filed an allegation that you violated your probation by picking up a new case, they could have stopped the clock on the probation, meaning the probation case still exists and will have to be dealt with. It's time for a local criminal defense attorney. Set up a meeting with a few to get more detailed advice and to clear this up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
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