What will happen due to my failure to appear? 7 Answers as of March 22, 2011

3 years ago I was arrested for a misdemeanor drug charge. I went to court on the date on the citation, but was not on the court listing. Since I had already planned/paid to move cross country the following day I hired a lawyer and continued with the move. My lawyer informed me later that I had a failure to appear warrant. What can I do about that?

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
You or a lawyer needs to make a walk in appearance in the court issuing the warrant.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Warrants are forever. For a defendant to handle this, they must turn themselves into the court, with or without an attorney, and try to negotiate a plea bargain on the warrant and on the outstanding charges. Doing so voluntarily will result in a better outcome than being brought in cuffs to court someday after arrest on the warrant. That will happen if the defendant comes into contact with law enforcement or customs anywhere in the US. Since 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. If your attorney can show you have been clean and an upright citizen for those three years, maybe this will result in no jail time. If this is in SoCal courts, and you're serious about getting legal help doing so, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
That should not have happened if you hired an attorney and it was just a misdemeanor. The attorney should have been able to appear for you. A mistake must have been made as to the date. Anyway, now the only way to clear an FTA warrant is to appear in person. However, you could hire an attorney to tell your story to the court and try to get the warrant recalled.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2011
Law Office of Andrew Roberts
Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
Get another attorney and deal with the FTA and pending misdemeanor . You are better off taking charge of this them waiting to get picked up.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2011
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
You should hire a new lawyer to first recall the warrant, then file what's called a "Serna" motion to dismiss the entire case. Since you appeared in court on the date of the citation, it isn't your fault that a later date was assigned (without your notice). A Serna motion basically says that after a year prejudice is presumed, and the prosecution has a burden of showing why they delayed prosecution and/or failed to use due diligence in notifying/locating you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2011
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