What happens if a person with a warrant over 10 years ago got caught? 54 Answers as of July 03, 2013

Is there a time frame for the validity of a warrant?

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
Warrants can be renewed every year without issuing a new one, until they are executed.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/6/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Warrants generally may go on for a long time. Occasionally, older warrants are dismissed by prosecutors to clear up old files in the court's docket. Occasionally, courts loose track of very old warrants or they may close the file on their own. However, the warrant itself will usually stay in effect for a long period of time. Now, if the warrant is related to a pending case, it may be more difficult for the prosecutor to continue with a criminal charge if there has been a lengthy delay. However, in most situations, the warrant itself is generally valid and it usually tolls any potential statute of limitations issues.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/30/2011
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
A warrant, here in Illinois, never expires until it is served, or if the subject turns himself into the authorities.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/30/2011
Epstein & Conroy
Epstein & Conroy | David B. Epstein
No a warrant never expires assuming it is a :bench warrant", i.e. issued by a judge. What happens if caught depends on the seriousness of the offense and the ability of the prosecutor to still go forward despite the age of the case. Bottom line is, it's always better to surrender yourelf on a warrant versus being involuntarily picked up. In the latter instance you may find yourself locked up while the authorities attempt to answer the questions outlined above.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/30/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
The warrant may be valid indefinitely. If picked up on the warrant, they would be held until a bail hearing could occur. They would then stand trial on the charges unless the case is resolved by plea.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 11/29/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Normally they will be prosecuted and if they were out of state that tolls (that is stops) the running of any statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Yes, there could be a statute of limitations on an old nonexecuted warrant. You should consult with an attorney with specifics to see if the warrant could be quashed.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Warrants toll the Statute of Limitations (SOL). If the charges are unresolved, the court can charge you at any time until you appear. If you are dealing with a probation violation, the warrant also tolls the jurisdiction of the court; so you're still under the jurisdiction of the court. Your best bet would be to contact the court and find out why there is a warrant and make arrangements to go to court and deal with the warrant. That will require your personal appearance in court. So make absolutely sure you are not holding drugs, evidence or weapons when you go to court. The reason for this admonition is simple-you may be arrested. If you space out and keep your dope on you or other contraband, and you get arrested, that's a major no no. So pat yourself down before entering a court. Since you have an active warrant, I would say the safest thing to do is avoid drugs and weapons all together. You never know when the police will go out looking for people with active arrest warrants. If they do and they find you. You will be in deep crap.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    No. That is the purpose of a warrant. It stays any statute of limitations. With so much time passing, it may be difficult to prosecute the case for evidentiary reasons, but the case could still proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need furhter information, but generally if a person missed a court date and there is a warrant for arrest they can fin d you and arrest pursuant to the warrant because generally the time period is tolled ( suspended) while the person is a fugitive.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    There is a statute of limitations on almost every crime. However, the statute may be tolled if a warrant is issued and unserved. You cannot avoid the statute of limitations by fleeing or remaining at large.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle | Adam J. Teller
    There is no automatic expiration date on an arrest warrant in Connecticut. There may be a defense based on the statute of limitations if the defendant did not leave the state before the warrant was issued, and if the police did not act diligently to try to serve the warrant. In some instances if a defendant was incarcerated on other charges, and tried to get the police to serve the warrant, there may be a violation of his rights to speedy trial or under the Instate Agreement on Detainers. These are complex and fact-dependent issues about which the defendant should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Some warrants have an expiration and some do not. If the warrant is pre-plea, pre-trial, then the prosecution may have trouble proving the case now that so much time has passed; there may even be a due process problem preventing the defense from presenting a full defense. If this warrant is post plea or trial, and really only deals with the sentence, then person is probably just getting sentenced - it is possible that staying out of trouble and good works gets some consideration. Best thing is to get a good attorney to help person figure out their best options.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Richard W. Barton
    Richard W. Barton | Richard W. Barton, Esq.
    Warrants in New York State stay active forever. The only exceptions are failures to appear which were ordered after failure to pay a small fine on a violation. Sometimes a civil judgment is entered there. It all depends on what the charges are, but generally, the older the case, the harder it is to prove. If you come to court on your own, generally, the warrant can be vacated and your lawyer can speak to the judge and DA about dismissing the case due to its age. This may be a relatively simple matter that can be taken care of with one court appearance. If its something more complicated, then its even more important to take care of it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Yes, they can still prosecute him. Depends what that person was doing for ten years to see if the police used due diligence. Hire an experienced trial lawyer and fight this.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    There is no time frame for the validity of a warrant as the law does not reward you for not appearing in court when you should have. There is however a statute of limitations on the time someone can be charged with Bail Jumping in New York.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    The person will likely go to jail. No, there is no time frame.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    Generally speaking, there is no time limit for a warrant. It is valid until the court recalls the warrant. I have had warrants remain valid for more than 15 years. Since the subject matter warrant was valid, it is now time to consider hiring an experience criminal defense attorney to preserve and prepare the best defense as to the alleged crime(s).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Warrants never expire. If you have a ten year old warrant, then the next time you have contact with the police and they check for warrants you will be arrested. If you are arrested on a warrant you will not be released O.R. and you will not be allowed bail. If you have an outstanding warrant you need to consult with an attorney now.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    No. A warrant will last until it is withdrawn. If the person was never arrested on the warrant, it will probably stay in effect indefinitely until that person is brought to justice. The court that issued the warrant can withdraw it. If you think that this may be a possibility, contact the court. If the warrant was for murder, I'd say no, it won't be withdrawn. If, on the other hand, it was a very minor offense and it is 10 years old, it may happen.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Once caught, you will be arrested and prosecuted, so it is better to just turn yourself in.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    Generally, warrants do not expire. There are people wanted on felony charges for decades. Occasionally, we read in the newspaper about a person who has been in hiding for 20 years and is arrested.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    There is no time limitation on the execution of a warrant. If a warrant exists, it means that the state brought a charge and that the defendant either could not be found or failed to appear in court. A statute of limitations refers to the time period between the commission of an act and the charging of a crime based upon that act.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Once a warrant is signed it remains active until it is executed or otherwise withdrawn, forever.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    The warrant is still valid but the underlying charge may be subject to attack.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    There is no statute of limitations for a warrant. The person will have to answer for the underlying charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of J. Edward Jones | J. Edward Jones
    There may or may not be a statute of limitations, or a time limit on a warrant. The answer depends on the nature of the warrant, whether the subject of the warrant made efforts to avoid detention, like leaving the state or jurisdiction of the warrant, whether the warrant was statewide, or nation wide, and if law enforcement made any efforts to serve the warrant during those ten years. If a local warrant was issued, and the subject of the warrant was available, had registered to vote, had a valid drivers license, and had a current address in the system, but was not served with the warrant based on a lack of due diligence of the police department, then that person could argue that his or her speedy trial rights were violated, and have the warrant and accompanying case dismissed. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    The warrant is technically still good. There may be other defenses available. I suggest you get an attorney ASAP to deal with this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    To the local slammer he will likely be rudely remanded. And, no, there is no particular timeframe for the validity of warrants as they can remain valid as long as they remain in the law enforcement database. (Statutes of limitation do not apply to arrest warrants.)
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    There is no time limit on a warrant once it is issued although once you go to court the evidence may no longer be available for prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. The warrant sticks forever. You should straighten it out.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    There may be issues as to whether there was due diligence in attempting to execute the warrant but generally there is no time limit.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    The warrant remains open forever until you resolve the underlying issue.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    There are two types of warrants. The first is an arrest or extradition warrant. That is when you are accused of a crime and the police are looking for you to arrest you. The second type of warrant is a bench warrant is a bench warrant. That is issued by a judge when you fail to appear in court. If you were on bail you could be charged with bail jumping. If you have an arrest warrant there is a 5 year statute of limitations, but there is no statute on a bench warrant. When you are arrested on a new charge or the police find the warrant you will be held in jail and arraigned within 48 hours before a local judge.If you failed to appear 10 years ago the judge may set a bail to ensure your appearance. Retain an attorney to handle the matter so that you do not have to spend time in jail on the warrant.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, there is no time frame. The warrant is valid until the day you die. Consider hiring an attorney to go and recall the warrant. It's much better than showing up by yourself, or being pulled over for speeding and being taken straight to jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    It depends on why there was a warrant and what the warrant is for.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Ascheman & Smith | Landon Ascheman
    The warrant will still be active and valid. There is no statute of limitations on a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Not really. A warrant is just a judge's permission to do something, like search or arrest. And the legality of the arrest would rarely be important anyway. A more important question is: can they still try and convict you for the underlying charges? That depends on why the warrant was issued in the first place and where you have been in the interim, but you might have 1) a strong motion to dismissed for denial of a speedy trial, or 2) a dismissal or win at trial because witnesses have forgotten, retired, or moved, or evidence or files are lost.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law | Matt Cameron
    Warrants do not expire. What will happen once someone with an open warrant is caught depends entirely on the strength of the evidence against the defendant at that point.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    A warrant is valid and enforcable forever once it is issued, but there may be other issues involved when a case is that old (evidence has been lost, witnesses are unavailable, investigators have retired, etc).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    May not be a time frame for the warrant, but there may be an issue re speedy trial depending on the balance of the facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq.
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq. | Stephanie Lee Ehrbright
    Usually a warrant is still valid, but a lot of times the agency won't want to prosecute anymore. It depends on how serious the offense was. If it was murder then they are likely still going to be prosecuted, if it was shoplifting then maybe not.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Office of David Baum
    Law Office of David Baum | David M. Baum
    No time limits on a warrant. A warrant will stay valid indefinitely. The person will have to deal with the charges, and now also the fact that the person failed to appear for ten years.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    There is no time limit. Warrants are in effect until a person is arrested.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker | Steven Decker
    Once the warrant has been filed with the court clerk it remains valid until the defendant is caught. The statute of limitations does not expire.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Warrants don't have time limits or statute of limitations. This is because the person has either not appeared in Court or has skipped out on Court.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Warrants do not expire. However if the state could have easily found the person and made no effort to do so a person could seek to have the charges dismissed for failure to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    Warrants based on a failure to appear in court (also known as a bench warrant) do not have a time frame. But arrest warrants do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Warrants do not expire and reflect an alleged crime. Assuming the warrant was filed with the court within a reasonable time after the offense, there is no problem arresting someone on it many years later. However, whether the evidence and witnesses still exist to prosecute a case may be another question.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan | Jaime Cowan
    No, warrants can be active for a lifetime, usually felony warrants remain active.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/23/2011
    Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
    No time frame on warrant they do not expire until executed.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    No.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/2/2013
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