Haunted By An Old Arrest Warrant? Here's How To Clean It Up

Posted on: 19 January 2015

Are you a responsible adult who, at some point in your life, was issued an arrest warrant? Have you long since moved away from the issuing jurisdiction and sometimes wonder if the warrant is still pending, or if you'll be arrested should you ever return to that place? Stop worrying about the past by taking care of your old arrest warrant once and for all. Read on to find out how.

Make Sure Your Warrant Is Still Pending

It's not common for an arrest warrant to disappear, but it's not unheard of, either. Normally, once an arrest warrant is issued, it is renewed every year until you are arrested. Warrants do not expire, nor do they have statutes of limitations. 

In rare situations, though, very old warrants for small criminal offenses may be released by prosecutors in order to make room for more pertinent cases in the court dockets. 

To find out if your arrest warrant is still active, contact the police or sheriff's department in the city that the warrant was issued in. The person you talk to will be able to look your name up on a database and quickly determine whether or not there is an existing warrant for your arrest.

Contact A Lawyer

Once you've established that your warrant is still active, it's time to visit your lawyer. Your lawyer can contact the issuing court, plead your case, and ask that an arraignment be scheduled for your case. This arraignment is an agreement to meet in court without you having to actually be arrested. In many situations, where the warrant is old and you are not considered a risk to anybody's safety, the court will be willing to oblige because it simply isn't worth their time to have you extradited or to waste their resources on booking you. 

If the issuing court is unresponsive to this request, you'll unfortunately need to walk into the issuing courthouse and turn yourself in.

Call A Bail Bondsman

Before you turn yourself in, though, call a bail bondsman at a place like All Star Bail Bonds. Upon informing the court that you have an outstanding warrant, you will likely be placed under arrest. Do not let this embarrass you or discourage you from taking action -- you're doing the right thing by settling old matters and the court is simply following standard procedures.

In order to spend as little time as possible in jail, though, you'll need to make arrangements with a bail bondsman before turning yourself in to the authorities. Make sure the bondsman has your personal information, and ask them what sort of collateral they accept so you can bring the appropriate paperwork with you when you travel to the city who initially issued your warrant.

If upon turning yourself in you are held on bail, you'll be able to get out of jail by providing the bail bondsman with a fraction of the total cost of your bail. Your bondsman can usually get you freed within a matter of hours, and many bail bond agencies offer their services 24 hours a day.

Make Your Court Date

There are a few stipulations your bail bondsman will explain to you. You will not receive your bail deposit back (it's their service fee), and you must return to court on your scheduled appearance date. Once you agree to this arrangement, you will be set free until your court hearing.

At your court hearing, the judge will go over the circumstances of your case and issue a verdict. The verdict is highly contingent on the type of crime your warrant was attached to. If your crime was violent or you had a history of arrests at the time the warrant you're tending to was issued, there's a possibility that you'll face jail time.

If your crime was an isolated, non-violent incident from long ago, though, it's more likely that you'll face fines, probation, or simply a discharge of your case.

Be Done With It

Once all of this done, you can serve whatever sentence the court bestows upon you (if any at all) and then finally forget about your long-lost arrest warrant. You'll finally have the opportunity to know that you have put the misdeeds of your past to rest and can move forward with your life knowing that you're free to travel wherever you want without running the risk of a surprise arrest for your haunting, old arrest warrant.

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