What will happen if I have a warrant out for my arrest? 48 Answers as of July 12, 2013

I got a letter in the mail saying I have a warrant for my arrest. Now I have to go to court but I was in my recovery that was court ordered. I don't know what will happen. Will I just have to show them proof and a fine, or will I be arrested on the spot?

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Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
If "in recovery," means physically unable to attend, then you are not in "willful contempt." Just take written proof. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/8/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Get a lawyer, get bond prepared just in case, and show up with a lawyer and the proof.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/7/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
If you are directed to go to Court in your letter, then your charges are possibly a misdemeanor or felony. (traffic tickets can do the same, but a letter like you describe is not typical). A misdemeanor of felony means that in the worst case, there may be jail time associated with the offense. (Although in many minor cases, where jail is possible, there is a sentence of probation). When you go to Court in response to the letter, you will be likely be arraigned, where the charges read, the maximum penalty explained, and the magistrate/judge sets bond. Your case will be scheduled for a future date for Pre-Trial or Preliminary Examination. When a client of mine gets a letter as you describe, I then contact the Court for more information. As the attorney, I am able to get information about the charges and then contact the Detective/Officer in charge. I am able to then negotiate a favorable bond, in advance, so that it is predictable what will happen when the client is presented on the warrant. The above explanation is typical for a letter such as you describe as may be sent in Michigan. If you are in another jurisdiction, it may be different. My best advice is to hire an attorney to do the above. Otherwise, you will be going to Court without information and run the risk of a high bond being set, being arrested, and being taken to jail. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/7/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You should retain an attorney to surrender you on the bench warrant. Otherwise you will he held in jail on a high bail.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/6/2011
Nichols Law Firm
Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
You need to answer to the court. I do not know what the particular procedures are for the court that your case is through but typically you go on the record before the judge and explain the situation.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    If you have received an arrest warrant, you are subject to arrest. If this is a minor matter, some jurisdictions allow parties to calendar the matter themselves or hire an attorney to do so. You can also pay the bail on the warrant.In some jurisdictions the police department has a "walkover program" if this is for a very minor case and the warrant is $5000 or less. Again, depends on the jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If you voluntarily go to court it is unlikely you will be arrested.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    You need to hire a lawyer to consult with more specifically on your legal matter. Not hiring a lawyer is one of the biggest mistakes by people in your situation. I have specialized in this area of the law for over 30 years in your area and have seen how people regret the fact that they did not hire a successful attorney to help them in their time of need. One who represents himself has a fool for a client. Feel free to call me to answer any additional questions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Dearbonn Law Offices
    Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
    if you have a warrant out for your arrest, the cops have the power to arrest you anywhere, including your own home or where you reside absent exigent circumstances barring a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Firm of David Jolly
    The Law Firm of David Jolly | David Jolly
    If you have a bench warrant you must immediately contact your attorney. If you did not have an attorney, or chose not to work with the one you hired, you must contact the court immediately. Depending on your history (if you have prior bench warrants) and the court's policy, you may be able to appear in court and pay to have the warrant quashed. Alternatively you may be able to appear in court on an open calendar and request the court to quash the bench warrant (you have good cause - court ordered treatment). In a worst case scenario you may have to turn yourself into jail and appear on a jail calendar to quash the warrant. Definitely contact an attorney. If you have any questions regarding this issues or others, or wish to discuss how to avoid a DUI conviction please contact my office or check out my website.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Usually the warrant would be served and when the judge learns that you were in treatment when you missed your court date, he would allow you to be released on your own signature for a return to court at a later date. You should consult with an attorney for more specific instructions.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS | Mark A. Chmelewski
    You may be arrested at any time. Best to proceed to the Court voluntarily as opposed to brought to court in handcuffs.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    If you have a warrant issued for your arrest, you should really sit down and discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney to thoroughly evaluate your situation and determine a strategy for recalling the warrant and making sure you don't go to jail. I understand you were in court ordered treatment at the time the warrant was issued, which is great, but there may be some additional factors involved that aren't mentioned in your questions that could affect the answer. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Your options are to either run and hide, or get arrested and taken in cuffs to court on the warrant, or turn yourself into the court to handle it properly. No attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, reports, testimony, priors history, etc. If this is a paperwork mistake, it can be corrected if handled properly. If it is not, then effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it, depending upon all the facts. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    I was in court today on that exact same case and I can tell you if you bring along your Certificate of Completion from the Program, you'll likely have the warrant recalled and the case may be disposed of through a plea to a lesser charge and pay a fine - especially if the program was already court ordered. That sounds more like a clerk's mistake than a real warrant. Make sure to have the Court mark the Warrant as a clerical mistake or it could have a bad impact upon bail if you ever get arrested again. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You need to retain counsel to surrender forthwith.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    If you can provide proof that you were in a court-ordered treatment program, most judges are happy to recall the warrant. They understand that many treatment programs have blackout dates that prohibit you from leaving or having contact with the outside world. Just make sure you don't miss the upcoming court date!
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    If they've already set a court date for you to quash the warrant, you should bring some documentation of the fact that you were in recovery. Your attorney will try to use that information to convince the court to simply reset your other court dates without taking you into custody, and without more info, it's hard to say whether or not that argument will be successful. You should try to talk to your lawyer before the hearing so that he/she is ready to answer any of the court's questions - for example, if there was any period of time when you were out of recovery but not appearing for court, the judge will want an explanation for that. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    You should be able to quash the warrant without being taken into custody because you have good reason for missing court (your were attending court ordered treatment). You dont have much choice at this point: you have to go back to court and quash the warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You or an attorney you hire should go to court to vacate the warrant. If you missed a court appearance because you were in court ordered recovery, you should have no problem getting the warrant vacated.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If you were in an in-patient program when you were to appear in court, you should have no problem, just present proof from the facility where you were confined at the time. If in any other kind of program where you could have appeared in court, you could be held on a new bail. I would advise that you, in that case, retain counsel to accompany you into court. For certain, do NOT blow off this court date, but to be safe, have someone with you to post bail in case the judge does execute the warrant and take you into custody.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Berner Law Group, PLLC
    Berner Law Group, PLLC | Jack Berner
    We may be able to quash the warrant for you. If you reside in Western Washington, feel free to contact my office for a free, no obligation consultation-by phone or in person-about this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You should hire an attorney before appearing in court. It may be possible for the attorney to contact the court ahead of time and negotiate to have the warrant removed in return for your promise to appear on an agreed upon date. In any event, an attorney will be able to advise you as to the potential consequences of making an appearance.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If you were ordered to appear in Court and you failed to appear there is usually a warrant issued for your arrest.The failure to appear is a contempt of court and can be punishable by payment of a fine, incarceration for up to five days, or forfeiture of your bond.Normally, if you have a reasonable and a valid reason for not being in court when ordered the court will excuse your failure to be present and you may only be admonished.Keep in kind, failure to appear in court differs greatly depending on the judge that you are ordered to appear before.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    Of course you are subject to arrest at any time. They usually will look for you at your home, your work or when you get stopped for a traffic violation. You have four choices to resolve the problem: hire a bondsman to post bail pay the bond turn yourself in. do nothing and wait for the shoe to drop It is sometimes possible for a good attorney to get the case back on calender without doing any of those things.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    It sounds like you have a good argument to convince the court to quash the warrant with that being written the nature of the charge and your failure to appear history are other factors the court will consider in deciding whether to have you booked.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    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, then 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. You should consult with your attorney or retain an attorney to assist with this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You need to contact a lawyer and have them get a date to turn yourself in so you don't go to jail or get arrested and go to jail. Happy to help get this done for you.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Be prepared to show them that you are doing all of the requirements of the probation when you go to court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    The court should accept your explanation, especially if you can document it. Call the court or hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The fact that there is a warrant for your arrest would allow an officer to arrest you and place you in jail pending your appearance in court. The real question is why was a warrant authorized in the first place? If it was authorized for your failure to appear in court, then documentation as to why you did not appear may be helpful. At a court hearing, you will be provided with an opportunity to explain the situation to the Judge. Since I'm not familiar with which court this is in, i cannot comment on what might be a likely result.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would urge you to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, as you promptly turn yourself in. Your criminal lawyer can at least contact the prosecutor's office, or file a motion and explain the circumstances on your behalf. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Well, that depends on the nature of your charge, how long you were gone, your record, the prosecutor's recommendation, and other factors. Before you turn yourself in I strongly suggest that you consult with a criminal defense attorney who practices regularly in the court where your case is.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, you will be brought in on the warrant. If you were in court order recovery and it was in patient then i am not sure the the arrest warrant will be treated. Seems strange. I would have your attorney call the DAs office to sort it out.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If there is a warrant for your arrest, you can be stopped and incarcerated pending a hearing on the warrant. If you hire counsel, often the warrant can be stayed pending a court appearance. What occurs at the appearance and what the possible ramifications might be depends greatly on the circumstances that resulted in the warrant. You should consult with counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    What was the warrant for (what is the base charge?) And when you say "recovery that was court ordered," was it a drug program. There are some variables here and I would need to ask a few more questions to better answer you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    West law Office
    West law Office | Russell West
    It is possible you could be arrested when you show for court but most likely you will need to explain why you were not at the court appearance you missed and a new court date will be set. It is also possible to have an order signed by the judge that will quash the warrant and set a new court date which will alleviate the need to show for the warrant hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    If you were given a new court date, then you should not be warrant. Said another way, they don't give new court dates to people who are warrant. Call the court, ask to speak with the Judge's Clerk, explain the situation, and ask what they want you to do. Some clerks are very nice and will say come in on such-and-such a date and we'll recall the warrant. You can go to court and take proof with you that you were not able to come to court because you were in jail, or in a treatment program, or in the hospital etc. If you have proof of that, they should recall the warrant. Again, I would call first. If it turns out that you do have a warrant and they will not agree to recall it, you will need an attorney to get the warrant lifted.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    It's up to the judge. You should talk to counsel before turning yourself in. If you have not been lawfully ordered to appear, then the charges may be dismissed on speedy trial grounds in the future. And if you get a traffic ticket in the interim, you should expect to be arrested.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It could be either. That's why it is better to have a lawyer bring the proof to court for you, because if you're not there, the option of taking you in right then and there isn't available to the Judge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Only the biggest clown Judge around would arrest you. There are some, unfortunately. I would estimate that about twenty-five percent of Judges on the bench have no business in the world being there. Bring solid proof that you were living at a rehab facility, and that you could not leave, or did not get notice of the hearing. You need a free consultation with an experienced Criminal... I mean Criminal Law Attorney. Call one in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    I don't have enough facts from your question to give you a proper response. Do not ignore the warrant or notice. If you've been summoned to appear at a certain date and time, you need to do so. Call to set up an appointment with an attorney and take the notice with you. An attorney will be able to tell you upon seeing the notice if you will be arrested or just have a court hearing that day. If you go to court without consulting an attorney first, take the proof of having been in treatment with you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Is it a warrant for a new charge or is it a warrant because they are saying that you did not do what you were ordered to do at sentencing? If it is the second and you have done what is required then all you have to do is go to court with proof that you have complied.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    What is the warrant for? Is it for a crime or for failure to appear to a court date? You will have to turn yourself in sometime in order to get it taken care of one way or the other. An experienced criminal attorney can help you with the process or present any valid defenses you may have.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    An attorney can assist in having a bench warrant removed in some cases. It is best to hire an attorney before the warrant is executed.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    If there is a warrant out for your arrest you are subject to being arrested at anytime, so you will certainly want to have the warrant quashed sooner than later. The method of quashing a warrant varies from court to court. The underlying charge that resulted in the warrant will also play a role as well as your criminal history and any past failure to appears you may have. Quashing your warrant may be as simple as appearing on a motion calendar and explaining your absence to the judge, or you may have to post bail. You should consult an attorney that practices in your jurisdiction for more specific advice.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2011
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