When a person is ordered to appear in court, a failure to do so may result in a warrant being issued. This could be for a court case related to just about anything from child support hearings to serious traffic violations. A warrant may also be issued if a person is a suspect in a criminal case. Many people have warrants without even realizing one has been issued which is how they become outstanding. In most instances, warrants are not communicated by being served in person unless the charges are serious, or the investigation is ongoing.
A majority of warrants are a result of a failure to appear in court, which may stem from a person simply not being aware they had to appear. In fact, most people are not made aware of an outstanding warrant until they are pulled over by police in traffic stops and the officer runs your name through the system.
Consequences of an Outstanding Warrant
If it is common to have an outstanding warrant and not know about it, you may be tempted to think warrants do not matter. However, an outstanding warrant may have several negative impacts on your current life and the future. If the police pull you over for a traffic stop and you have an outstanding warrant, they will be required to arrest you on the spot. You will spend time in jail and need to post bail in most cases.
If you are considered a flight risk, the bail may be high enough to cause significant financial strain or prolonged time in jail. An outstanding warrant may also carry additional criminal changes separate from the original failure to appear or crime related to the warrant. There will also be fines and court costs to consider as a result of an outstanding warrant.
Do Outstanding Warrants Expire?
Outstanding warrants do not have an expiration date. They stay active until the person is apprehended and brought to justice. You will be considered a fugitive from the law until you are eventually arrested and forced to face the consequences of the outstanding warrant. This is why it is so important to take care of this matter sooner rather than later so you can avoid any surprises and live within the law. This is not a problem you want to ignore because it will eventually find you.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have an Outstanding Warrant?
If you suspect there is an outstanding warrant out for your arrest, the first step is to turn yourself in and seek legal counsel. While a lawyer will not be able to stop the arrest related to the warrant, they will be able to plead your case to the court regarding the reason why the warrant was first issued, especially in a failure to appear warrant. It may be possible for the attorney to ask for a new court date for the initial failure to appear which would allow you to start on as clean a slate as possible. Contact our law firm today at (310) 271-7675 for more information on how we can help.