Dealing With DUI Arrest and Bench Warrants From Missed Court Dates, Probation Violations

One of the most common forms of arrest or bench warrants in California Criminal Courts today are warrants from DUI or driving under the influence cases (Veh. Code sec. 23152). These DUI warrants are common problems that we see often at

Here is basic, general information anyone with a misdemeanor DUI warrant problem in California needs to know.

There are basically 2 ways to end up with a warrant after an arrest for Driving Under the Influence: 1) a failure to appear in court; or 2) a violation of probation (which would include failure to pay fine, failure to complete substance abuse classes).

Missing the “Arriagnment” – the first court date in most misdemeanor DUI cases, is a common source of warrants.

Failure to pay a misdemeanor DUI fine is another common source of misdemeanor warrants.

The path to solving the problem is different for each cause. Step #1 is figuring out which type of problem caused the arrest or bench warrant.

Failure to Appear Problems.

Most DUI warrants result from missed court dates.  Usually, it is the first court date that gets missed (called the Arraignment).

Arrested at the side of the road on a Saturday?

Arrested at the side of the road on a Saturday?

When this happens in California, the Court will normally issue a bench warrant under authority of Penal Code sec. 853.7 or Vehicle Code sec. 40508a.

If the Defendant posted bail to get released from jail prior to the Arraignment, the Court will usually also revoke the bail bond, and issue an order setting a new bail at a higher amount.

In practice, to get the bench warrant recalled after a missed court date, either the defendant or an authorized Defense Attorney representing the defendant must appear in court in person.

Frequently, an appearance in court is all that is needed to resolve a misdemeanor warrant problem. The hardest part is getting an appearance on the court’s schedule. Sometimes, with the right facts, an experienced Defense Attorney can get a failure to appear warrant in a misdemeanor DUI case “recalled” without the client having to appear in court or go to jail within days by appearing in court for the defendant. 

In some cases, the defendant must go to court with the Defense Attorney and be present in the courtroom before a judge will consider a request to recall an arrest or bench warrant.

Some defendants with warrants do get taken into custody right away, but those who take voluntary action to appear in court avoid the worst consequences of a warrant problem.

Once in court, the Attorney or Defendant must ask the Judge to recall the warrant.  If bail has been revoked, the Defendant must ask the judge to reinstate the bail bond.  If the Defendant used a Bail Bond company to borrow the money for bail, Defendant must get written permission from the Bail Bond company to allow reinstatement of bail, and that permission must be delivered to the judge during a warrant recall hearing.

The Old Jail in Alpine County, California.

The Old Jail in Alpine County, California.

Usually, this is a two step process: 

1) getting the court clerk to set the case back on the court Arraignment calendar; and 2) appearing in Court to ask \ the Judge to recall the warrant.

If everyone agrees, it is easy to get the warrant recalled and the case back on track.  But there is a real possibility of jail for some defendants – especially if there are prior offenses or a history of skipping bail in the court’s file.

This work takes skill and experience to do correctly and fast. I’ve had cases where I successfully done this work on less than 10 minutes.  But then, .. .. .. sometimes things go bad. };  A defendant can actually do it alone, but it is without question better, easier and faster with experienced professional help.

Once a request to recall a failure to appear warrant is made, a Judge has a few options:  1) approve the request and reinstate bail (if any); 2) increase the bail the defendant must pay to stay out of jail; or 3) take the defendant into custody immediately.

The court technically has the power to keep a defendant in jail until trial if they miss a court date.  But it is rare.

Once the warrant is recalled, the case progresses normally, and the defendant must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and have a trial.  There may be an added charge of misdemeanor failure to appear (Vehicle Code section 40508a) for the defendant to deal with.

If there is a separate failure to appear charge added, it has a maximum penalty of 6 months to one year in jail once the case ends and the judge imposes a sentence. But often, in my cases, the failure to appear charge is dismissed in the interests of justice in the end. Not always, but it happens. If done right, it is possible to escape a failure to appear warrant on a DUI charge with no extra penalties. Not guaranteed, but possible.

Probation Violation Problems:

Most first time DUI defendants in CA are found guilty in the end (by pleading guilty). Most first offenders are given a probation sentence that includes specific terms that are orders of the court the defendant must follow.

Typical DUI Court probation varies, but usually includes requirements (terms) such as:

1) pay a fine;

2) do not drive without license and insurance;

3) complete a substance abuse program (AB548 program or similar); and

4) complete jail or sheriffs work program time by a certain date.

More and more common is a new term of 5) install an alcohol detection device on any car you own or operate.

If a Probationer (which is what you are called after pleading guilty) fails to satisfy any of these terms, or gets arrested for a new crime, the Court will typically revoke probation completely, and issue an arrest warrant.

This most frequently happens when the Probationer gets caught driving (vehicle code section 14601.2), or if they fail to complete the Sheriff’s Work Program or court ordered community service on time.  A missed fine payment can also result in a warrant and probation violation, as can a new criminal case in a different court.

Once probation is revoked in a misdemeanor or Driving Under the Influence case, the court has the power to re-sentence the defendant on the conviction.  Basically, the Judge can erase probation and start over. And he/she can re-start with a jail term. (See our Lindsay Lohan Stories)

There is a second problem. The Defendant can be charged with a separate Probation Violation, which is a crime that can bring separate jail time.  And if convicted of a probation violation (PV) it can prevent a Defendant from getting the conviction expunged after probation ends.  Thus the probation violation part of the problem is very important – should not be neglected.

To clear a probation violation warrant, a Defense Attorney or Defendant going alone must:

1) get the case back on the Court’s calendar;

2) appear in court and ask the Judge to recall the warrant; and

3) ask the Judge to reinstate probation on the original terms and conditions.

The judge has the power to say yes or no.  So from an Attorney’s point of view, making these requests is a lot like selling the cars and trucks I used to sell at good ‘ol Love Chevrolet in Folsom. Yes, it used to be in Folsom. Before people there started getting arrested and . . . .

To get a case on the courts calendar, an Attorney would go to the Criminal Division Court Clerk’s Office and request a calendar setting for the case.  Sometimes, a form is required.  In some counties, such as Santa Clara, the Attorney must go into the courtroom and get the Judge to sign the setting form.  Then the form must be filed with the clerk. In some courts, the really efficient courts, an Attorney can do this by fax or telephone call only. (Thank you Ventura County Court Clerks!)

In the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the process is slightly different.  The court clerk can set a date without a Judge’s signature.

In some, but not all courts, an Attorney can get a misdemeanor DUI probation violation warrant recalled without the client in court.  Some courts will require the defendant to appear in court.

Some judges will take all people in this situation into custody and sentence them to jail for 30 days or more.  Some judges will give defendants a second chance if they take care of it correctly. Some Judges will recall a DUI warrant based upon an Attorney’s appearance. Some will require the Defendant personally appear and post bail.

Probationers do have a right to a hearing to determine if they actually did violate probation.  But in most cases, a probation violation hearing is a waste of time, because the violation is obvious (i.e., missed fine payment, or caught driving). And to make it worse, the burden of proof on a probation violation is very low – it is easy to get a conviction for the Prosecutor.

There are very few defenses to a probation violation charge – other than it did not happen.  Explaining a missed fine date by stating you could not afford it will not work, and explaining why you were driving will not work.  Once the event happens, there is a violation. The burden of proof on a probation violation is very low.

In general, a Defense Attorney’s goals on a DUI warrant problem are to:

1) get the warrant recalled without jail or new bail if possible; and

2) talk the Judge into a reinstatement of probation under the same terms and conditions as existed originally;

3) and 3 avoid admitting a Probation violation if possible.

In all bench warrant or arrest warrant cases, it is very important to get into court as soon as possible to solve the problem.  Everyday counts. People who wait end up with the worst results.  Everyday that goes by with a warrant outstanding makes it harder to get a no jail result.

Answers to Some Frequently Asked DUI Warrant Questions:

Q. What Happens If A Defendant Cannot Pay a Fine on Time?

A. Generally, the courts treat a failure to pay a DUI fine as probation violation. A warrant can be issued,  and probation can be revoked. Once probation is revoked, a defendant cannot pay the fine until the court reinstates probation, because the fine and amount of the fine are terms of probation.

If a defendant cannot pay a fine on time, they should appear at the court clerks office in person (phone calls will not work) and request a court appearance.  Once in court, a defendant can ask the judge for more time.  This must be done before the fine payment is due.

Q. If I Have A Warrant in CA, but Live Out of State, How Can I Take Care of It?

A. In just about all DUI warrant cases, a court appearance is mandatory. However, an out of state defendant in a misdemeanor case can hire a Defense Attorney to make the appearances for them. Although most courts will require the personal appearance by the Defendant before recalling a warrant, in some cases an attorney can ask the court for an exception where the Defendant cannot go to court without interstate travel. Most courts will grant the request (but not all).

Q. How Can An Attorney Help on a DUI Warrant?

In most common Driving Under the Influence cases without a warrant, an attorney can appear in court for the Defendant and handle the entire case alone if the Defendant wants to plead guilty. (under authority of CA Penal Code section 977).

If a warrant has been issued for a probation violation, or failure to appear, an attorney can appear in court for the defendant and request that the warrant be recalled. In most cases, an Attorney can get a routine bench warrant recalled without the client having to appear in court, if the problem is recent.

However, it varies from courtroom to courtroom, and in some courts, judges policy dictates the defendant must be present to get a DUI or probation violation warrant recalled. Some judges will take defendants into custody, even if they try to get the warrant recalled correctly.


Not all county superior courts deal with DUI warrant cases the same. In some courtrooms, a defendant with a DUI warrant is likely to be arrested as soon as they show up in court. In other counties, such as San Diego, the judges will recall a DUI warrant, even years old, if the defendant appears in court voluntarily and takes care of the outstanding issues. An attorney can at times help a defendant get his case into the right court to minimize the chances of the client being taken into custody during a warrant hearing. An experienced Defense Attorney may be able to give the client a good idea of what to expect.

Q. What Happens if a Defendant Fails to Complete DUI “Classes” On Time?

A. In most first offense DUI cases, the penalties are routine – the court will impose a jail sentence that is suspended pending the completion of probation. Usually, completing DUI classes such as an AB548 program are included as terms of probation. If a person fails to complete the terms of probation on time, the court can issue a warrant, revoke probation, reinstate the suspended jail sentence, and charge the defendant with a separate probation violation. Because of this, a defendant who has failed to complete DUI classes on time generally must return to court for a request to reinstate probation and a new referral to the classes.

Q. Can Probation Be Reinstated If it Was Revoked?

A. In misdemeanor cases,  the court will frequently sentence a defendant to court probation in place of a jail sentence, which is “suspended” or paused. If the terms of probation are completed without trouble, the jail sentence is never imposed. However, if a defendant violates a term of probation, or misses a court date or deadline, the first action the court takes is to revoke probation.

Once probation is revoked, the court can re sentence the defendant to the “suspended sentence” and can charge the defendant with a separate probation violation that can lead to jail time on its own.

If probation has been revoked, a defendant can request that it be reinstated on the same terms and conditions as before. Whether or not the request is granted is up to the court, but if the court grants the request, yes, probation can be reinstated. It is common for a court to reinstate misdemeanor probation terms after they have been revoked, if the violation was minor, or recent.

Questions? Leave a Reply below. Or request a Free Attorney Case Review.

About Attorney Christopher Dort

Public Interest Attorney. CA State Bar #196832. Licensed to practice law in California 1998, and then the US Federal District Court in 2000. Civil Litigation Trial Attorney (Insurance Defense Firms) 2000-2003. Private practice 2003 - present. First Solo Criminal Jury Trial 1998 (Santa Cruz County). First Civil Jury Trial 2002 (Orange County). Santa Cruz County Public Defenders Office 1996-1999 (law clerk). BA in Politics from UC Santa Cruz, 1995. JD, University of California, Hastings, 1998.
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151 Responses to Dealing With DUI Arrest and Bench Warrants From Missed Court Dates, Probation Violations

  1. Dennis says:

    Hi Chris,

    So I was originally arrested for a DUI in Santa Barbara County in about April 2012 at the age of 18. I completed my required 3-month first offenders program and paid all of my fines, and eventually got my license reinstated the following year. This past weekend I was arrested for Disorderly Conduct: Alcohol, which according to the “Obey all Laws” condition of my 3 year probation seems to be a violation. My court date is next month and I am wondering how concerned I should be, if I need to get a lawyer, and what overall actions I should take. Thank you!

  2. Eric says:

    I got a DUI back in 2003 in Kings County, CA. I completed the DUI program, community service, and began paying on fines. I didn’t actually pay the fines myself; I had my wife write checks to the county and send them. I thought that I had paid the fines off. I just found out (in May 2014) that I still have $1,400 in fines outstanding, and there was a bench warrant issued for me in that county at $3,000 bail. I have been cited for speeding twice and had at least three Livescan fingerprints taken for employment background checks since the warrant was issued, and I never was notified of it. The address the court has for me is a very old address that I have not lived at since 2005.
    Now that I know about the bench warrant and the outstanding fines, I am desperate to clear it. My questions are: (1) How likely is it that I will be jailed if I appear in court to pay what I owe? (2) What can I do to keep from being put in jail? Thank you.

    • Eric,

      Sounds like your probation has been revoked. That means the court is free to resentence you. The fine was part of your probation. Probation is gone. Fine is gone. The “suspended jail sentence” the judge told you about is now waiting to see if you take action or not.

      This is a super common problem. If the court had an old address for you while you were on probation – that is your fault. You should forget about that part of the story.

      Not finding out there is a warrant for your arrest is not a defense.

      The best option? Hire me to go to court for your tomorrow. Ideally, you would give me permission to say:

      Your honor, the defendant realizes this is a serious problem. He is ready and willing to do whatever is needed to solve this problem correctly, today. I request that based upon the appearance of counsel for the defendant, who the defendant hired and sent to court voluntarily, the court recall the warrant and release the defendant on his own recognizance. Following the recall of the warrant, I ask the court to reinstate the defendant’s probation on the same terms and conditions as existed before, and allow the defendant to pay the fine balance in full today to end the problem forever. I an informed and believe that the Defendant has complied with all other terms and requirements of his probation, and this fine balance, which he can pay today, is the only lose end we need to tie in order to close this file forever. ”

      Sometimes at that point the judge grants the request, and it’s all good again within 1 or 2 days.

      Sometimes, the judge will require the defendant to admit a probation violation first, which is possible with your attorney present while you stay at home.

      Other times, the judge will say:

      I never recall bench warrants without the defendant present.

      Then, I would ask the court to set the case for a warrant recall hearing the next day, and I would tell the judge we will be there at that time, together. Once there together, I would make the same request again, adding:

      “I brought the defendant here in person exactly as you requested. He is ready and willing, and here, to do whatever is needed to solve this fine problem correctly. Today. ”

      What happens then? Either the judge grants the request, or tells the bailiff to take you to jail. It’s the judge’s option.

      But the truth is they don’t have the money to put you in jail if you do things right.

      How much would I charge? When can I go to court for you?

      I would give an estimate of $3000 for legal services. Must be paid in advance. No credit cards. Cash only.

      Why cash only? So you can’t defraud me afterwards if you go to jail and blame me.

      Why $3000? Isn’t that your bail? Yes. I have to plan on 3 court appearances, and telling you that you have to go to jail (hopefully that does not happen, but if it does, I charge for that crappy work).

      But the warrant’s “Bail” is only the DEPOSIT you have to POST with the court to GET A COURT DATE on your WARRANT if you do not hire an attorney. My fee includes legal works, and court appearances, not just a court date.

      —I think. call the court clerk’s office to see if that is a bail you can pay to end the case completely by phone, or if a court appearance is mandatory. If no appearance is mandatory, just pay immediately.

      Can a bail bond company help you? Well, they can charge you to post bail and schedule your court date. But they cannot represent you in court when the judge sees you and the warrant on the desk.

      If you hired me and signed my fee agreement, and paid, I would probably schedule a court appearance within 5 days, subject to the court’s own scheduling. Usually warrant cases get scheduled immediately, but it varies from court to court.

      What if you don’t have the money for the fine? Go to court anyway. Try to ask for more time. Ask for a public defender to help. Bring your toothbrush.

      Can you do it yourself? Yes. Go tomorrow morning at 8 am. Tell the criminal division court clerk you are there to take care of a misdemeanor warrant case.

      Where is this? Kings county? oh my gohk. Fresno? You need to get there ASAP, before the heat comes and the water runs out. Jail in fresno in July? homy gohk.

  3. Karli says:

    On Oct 19th 2013 I got into an accident here in Sacramento, CA, and was charged with a DUI upon arrival in the hospital. I was not arrested as I needed to be kept in the ER, but was given the Admin Per Se. I am a first time offender, and trying to do everything I can to get this handled. I am aware that I am a criminal and this could have been a lot worse. I had my DMV hearing and am already enrolled in classes. I called the court- there is no trial date set for me. I called the DA; my file seems to be “in issuance”, they said that they are waiting for a warrant to be issued pending blood results (which have been delivered already) and that his can be “weeks to months”, and to keep checking back.
    I do not want to possibly miss a court date due to what seems to be missing connections here. How can I get a court date set without having a warrant? Do I have to wait for the Sheriff’s dptmt to issue this, and just call every day to check on it?
    I appreciate any and all help.

    • Karli,

      I will try to write a better reply in the am. But you definitely need an Attorney’s professional help immediately if you were charged with a DUI following an accident. The district attorney is probably deciding whether or not to charge you with a felony and evaluating the evidence. They may be planning on sending you to prison.

      You can send me the details if you wish and I can provide a free detailed case review and quote for service to my email at dort(at) if you wish.

      Otherwise, I will try to write something useful soon.

      Hospital = accident with injuries. DUI with injuries? = Felony. Felony=prison.

      Do not try to handle the case with out an attorney. NO MATTER WHAT – DO NOT TALK TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’s OFFICE WITH OUT AN ATTORNEY REPRESENTING YOU. They are not your friends when they are trying to send you to prison.

  4. MDH says:

    Is there any difference if it is simply failure to pay speeding vs dui? I have mult failure to appears based on nonpayment, but intend to plead guilty and pay as soon as I can afford to do so…

    Do I go ahead in and ask for mercy and express willingness to pay? Will having multiple failures lead me to get PUT IN JAIL?

    I allowed myself to live in denial, I was unemployed and had no income. I just want to pay now that I got a job again.


  5. pamela boucher says:

    well my brother is in the same situation ok right now h e is in jail and he was suppose to be released ok He is in florida. What happen was is a cop stopped him for going 5 miles above the speed limit ok He has been going to court and took a couple of test on line and passed them. He was drinving without a license. He had to pay a fine recently about what happen in maine and he got that straigten away. He missed a court date but went three days later. He was suppose to be released today but that didn’t h appen. So what do you think i shuld do and i have contacted a lawyer in florida but he hasn’t called bacck

    • Anyone else want to take this one? It’s lunch time.


      You first need to get your question figured out. Your comment does not make sense. Call more attorneys. If you are not a native english speaker, it’s ok. Use the internet to find one that speaks your native language. You will need more detail about your question. I was not able to understand any of it.

      Write back if you want. I’ll take a second shot if you want.

  6. Arlene says:

    My sister has/had a DUI two years ago and also a speeding ticket that she was making payments on. When she went to court for her DUI she was pregnanat at the time and was put on bed rest. The judge gave her a date to return after she have birth. My sister was unable to attend that court date because she was still in the hospital with her premature son while she was hospitalized at the same time for sickenss that almost killed her. Since then she has not done anything about it. She moved to arizona and lost her california ID and needs to get some identification in order for her to work and deal with her sons medical stuff. If she were to go to the DMV today could she get arrested for her warrant and what can she do to fix it while in Arizona. Y our help is greatly appreciated.

  7. Ali Baba says:

    I was home drinking and for this first time in my life ( born 1972) I got drunk by full definition (lost my sense) I called my brother’s home to let them know if things are worse than I thought and they did not answered at 10:20 PM) minutes later I received a call from my brother & I did not recognize him. I thought he was abducted and some one on his behalf was talking to me. I got enraged / excited and provoked enough to threaten the other person and decide to
    go and catch the abductor/terr.orist. It’s worth mentioning that my family have suffered from a similar scenario earlier this year when a bunch of terro.rists pretended to be passengers but abducted and killed this relative of us (overseas)
    I don’t remember beyond that point till I was in Hospital. I was in jail for DUI & Hit and run and Felony 5 and my brother bailed me out . My mom got sick upon hearing that “I was involved in accident and got jailed ” I have rushed overseas to take care of her. my court date is in early July. I am afraid I can’t attend my court date. I am left with zero money , the cost of the accident has been high enough for me (about 30 thousand US dollars)
    My question is , will this case be defensible based on the honest truth I provided and have evidence to prove? Can some one represent me while I am overseas? If any lawyers/attorney sees this and wanna defend me I have an antique book (hand written in Arabic about Arabic grammar belonging to my forefathers and I can leave that as a bond to pay you later.
    I have worked for the US army since 2008 and was about to get my clearance and go overseas for their technical support. My application was rejected three days after the indecent…
    A reminder that my family is a direct target of the terr.orists whom I “feared” that night ( and all my life) and acted based upon the rationale I explained in full honesty.
    I had a clear DMV civil and all otherwise records before this unfortunate incident
    A reminder that I used nick name for obvious reason and apologize for not mentioning my real name I hope you all understand
    Thanks for reading this all , beforehand

    • DortLaw says:


      What an unfortunate event. Have you read Candide?

      I am not really sure what your question is. Can I re write it?

      “I am charged with a felony. I have no money to hire a Private Attorney. Can I avoid going to court without telling my CO that I am charged with a Felony? Can you get me out of it for free without me going to court?”

      Is that the question? In California?

      Answer: No. I wish I had better news for you. It sounds like this is the sort of case where your personal appearance is required. An attorney usually can appear for a defendant in a simple misdemeanor case prior to trial – but in a felony, the defendant’s presence personally is required with or without an attorney.

      If you are “indigent” – meaning are completely broke and have no access to resources need to hire a private defense attorney then you can ask the court to appoint a public defender as your attorney. You make that request in person at your first court date.

      So my best free advice for this problem is that you show up to court on time in person, and if you cannot hire an attorney in advance, ask the judge to appoint the public defender before you do anything.

      Browse Our Attorney Drafted CA Self Help Forms

      Free Attorney Case Review

  8. RALPH julies onme says:

    hey chris back in aug 2011 i got a DUI the judge told me to get proof or enrolled meant back i never got it . and u no i got a warrent ok then i went back to court in nov 2012 and i did the same thing again and never sign up. what will happen when i go back to court. BACK IN AUG 2012 ME AND MY4 KIDS WAS HOMELESS AT THE TIME BUT NOW WE R BACK ON OUR FEET NOW .AM A SINGLE FATHER HELP ME PLEASE

  9. Samantha B says:


    I’ve received a DUI in August 2011 and was sentenced to complete a 3-month AA class and take the Youth Drug and Alcohol Deterrence program due to being underage. The YDAD program requires an essay and a follow up at the end of it’s course. I’ve completed every single one of my classes but unfortunately did not turn in my essay nor have a follow up for the YDAD program. I had a misunderstanding and thought that we were issued a date for our exit follow-up, but instead we are supposed to go in ourselves during office hours and do everything on our own schedule. Because I did not go in to have my follow-up before the deadline, I’ve received a warrant about a month ago. I was wondering if I’m in big trouble here.. Would you happen to know what the odds of having jail time is? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

    • Sam,

      I have to assume this is in CA. And I have to rewrite your question to help you.


      After a DUI conviction, I was placed on probation. One of the terms of probation was that I complete the CA version of the YDAD program(1), and submit proof of completion to the court. I did not complete the CA YDAD program on time. I did not go to court and ask for an extension to complete the program. The YDAD program eventually expelled me. As a result, the court revoked my probation, and issued a warrant for my arrest. I think I have a “suspended” sentence hanging over my head of about 30 days of county jail time, but I am not sure. What should I do?

      ANSWER (includes video of Attorney Dodging Bullets):

      If you hire me to resolve this problem, I would go to the applicable courthouse alone immediately (tomorrow at 8 am). I would tell the court you are represented by an attorney. I would get the court clerk to schedule the case for a hearing on a 1) warrant recall request; and 2) motion to reinstate probation. I would ask the court to let me in that morning.

      If the court clerk said I have to schedule a date, or that they want my client to go to the sheriff’s office, I would call pullchight, and go to the nearest misdemeanor arraignment courtroom and ask the judge in person to let me add the warrant case on when there is room.

      Judges want to get warrant cases on Calendar if possible, to limit the waste of resources it takes to arrest you and impound your car, etc.

      Then, once in court, I would tell the judge what happened, and ask that 1) the warrant be recalled without payment of bail or jail; and 2) that the court reinstate probation on the same terms and conditions as originally imposed.

      I would them tell the judge that you realize this is a huge problem, and that you want to do everything you can to get it corrected today, the right way.

      Frequently, that works with a tweek or two if the warrant is recent.

      Sometimes the judge will say “We do not recall warrants in this courtroom without the Defendant here.”

      Then I would say “I can have her in person tomorrow at 8:30 am in person if the court requires it.” Get the court date set, GTFO. Audi5k

      Then I would go to my car in the parking lot and call you as I loosened my tie and put my coat in the trunk.

      I would tell you (buy voice and text so I had proof I told you) that you MUST BE IN COURT TOMORROW (Thursday) at 7:45 am. I would give you instructions to meet me in the court lobby, right past the security check near the Sheriff’s table (just in case you are a crazzy puck like that dude in Ventura County Superior Court a few years ago who triad (that is not a typo gamers) to shoot his lawyer, but the lawyer was well trained in the Arts of Wax on / Wax Off, and too quick. So he jumped behind a tree and DODGED 6 bullets! That was CRAZY CRAZY! caught on video! Actually, he only dodged 4 or 5 of those bullets by hiding behind a tree. A TINY Tree! He took at least one in the shoulder. High speed lead poisoning. But then, when CRA_zzzzzzzzzzzz ran out of bullets, he tried to just walk away like 45,000 government employees were not watching the murder attempt live on TrafficCourTSPAN (or whatever the government has on in their courthouse break rooms).

      Hold on a sec…..HEY!! HEY!! Steve! Steve! Steve Sweet! (one of the geniuses at Wild Fire Web who are the wizards behind the curtain). Can I put video in here? Video? Those moving 01101010001 things. What? Drop the code in and it will work? Really? R U Cereal? OK. I’ll try it. plunkh..


      Did it work???

      Anyway, assuming you are not like that person…I guess it was a person . .. .I would lead you to the entrance to the courtroom we I was tomorrow.

      I would tell you to just be quiet, go in and sit down. Dont say anything unless I tell you to.

      I would tell the bailiff I was there, but he would already know. They have good eyes.

      The judge would call our case and I would say:

      “Your honor, I was here tomorrow yesterday on this case for a warrant recall request. You told me to bring the client in. Here she is. She is 100% committed to ending this problem the right way, right now, today. She understands that she did not completely YDAD program on time. She is able to complete it, and wants to complete it, and wants to learn from it, and is ready to cure the error. Today.

      We ask that the court recall the warrant based upon her voluntary, personal appearance this morning. And by me yesterday. And I ask that the court reinstate probation, and grant her a new deadline to complete the program. She is here, ready to go anywhere she needs to right now. Shw can go to their office right after this appearance if necessary. And you can require that she personally bring back proof of re-enrollment at 1:30. She’s ready to do it. I have an extra BART card I can give her right now if she needs it.”

      Then, in most cases with a first offense probation violation, it works out.

      But then the judge might say:

      Is she willing to admit a probation violation?

      And that is when I panic for a microsecond, regain composure in the blink of an eye and say my favorite words:

      …….Opps! free preview is over! Swipe now!

      What if you dont hire me? Get someone to do the same thing.

      If you cannot hire a Private Defense Attorney today because you do not have access to the resources needed – go to court yourself in person tomorrow at 8 am (assuming a CA Problem) and tell the court clerk that you are there to solve a recent misdemeanor warrant problem. Once in court, ask the judge to appoint a public defender before you answer any questions.


      (1) California DUI Programs: The Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, through the Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Program Branch within the Office of Criminal Justice Collaboration

      Schedule an Attorney Conference Now (CA Problems only).
      Browse Our Attorney Drafted CA Self Help Forms
      Free Attorney Case Review


  11. Amy says:

    Thnx for the honesty! :(

  12. Amy says:

    My husband got his last of several DUIs in 2007 in Westminster Ca. Because he didn’t want to go to prison again(he already did 2yrs for another DUI) we up and moved to Ok. We NEED and WANT to get this taken care of so my question to you is do you deal with Westminster courts? And what do you think it’s going to take to get this taken care of? Thnx in advance!

    • Amy,

      I wish I had better news for you.

      Felony DUI w/ failure to appear?


      What do I think it will take to get this taken care of?

      Last time was 2 years? . . . . . .hum . . . I’d say 6 years based on the limited info I have now.


      Yes, I do deal with Westminster (orange County – wrong side of the 5), but honestly, I dont want a felony DUI case with a Client who is out of state. I dont have the ambition for that one.

  13. Brittany says:

    Hi Chris, I received a second dui in 2008 (first case 2007, closed) both fullerton north court, CA i was sentence to 18 month second offender program, MADD meeting, 90 days county jail and 2000+ fine. I completed MADD and jail time but was kicked out of my classes for too many absences and then stopped paying fines cause honestly i am an idiot and wanted to pay for what i thought at the time “more important things”. Then in nov of 2010 i received a drving on a suspended in a separate county (San Bernadino) and havent appeared at all. My question is do the counties communicate? or will i be able to deal with orange county. then with san bernadino as a first offense driving on a suspended? and what am i facing with orange county since i waited so long? if i voluntarily show up to deal with it is there a chance he will have mercy on me? thank you for your help.

    • Brittany,

      This is a great comment.

      You need a Free Attorney Case Review from – and/or you need to figure out the status of the DUI case.

      You probably have a warrant on that case and a revocation of probation.

      Yes, the courts and the DAs are going to know if you have pending warrants in other counties – and if you were on probation at the time – and if you were charged with a VC 14601.2 – everyone will know you were on probation at the time anyway because of the nature of the charge. (Attorney math: VC14601.2 = VC23152b probation violation)

      And then of course, the new driving on a suspended drivers license charge itself is a separate probation violation. So you have a massive probation problem, and then the separate driving on a suspended drivers license charge. And if that really is a VC14601.2 (not a vc14601.1) – you are facing a min of 10 days in jail on that charge alone. Not including the DUI case where the judge is free to resentence you.

      Honestly, this is a common problem, but you are in a crap load of trouble. If you take care of things right, you might be able to avoid the worst consequences. If you wait until they catch you, well . .

      Can you handle it yourself? I have to say no. You actually had several chances to do it right. Now it’s time to get help. You should either hire a private attorney to help you right now – today – or show up in court in person on . .. BOTH OF THE CASES MONDAY MORNING . . . and tell the criminal division court clerk you are there to deal with a warrant case. They will give you instructions from there. Once in court (if you are forced to start the process alone), tell the judge you want to apply for the Public Defender. Maybe you qualify.

      How do you go to 2 different county courts to deal with 2 different warrant cases in so cal in 1 day? Get your ass out of bed at 4:30am and start. It’s possible. My record is 5 cases, 3 counties, 1 day.

      Go to #1 at 8:00. Assuming they do not keep you in jail, no matter what happens, as soon as you are done, immediately go to court #2. If you get there by 10:30, they might send you right in. But chances are you wont be there until . . . well. . . if you go to OC Ful first . . you can get to SB at 1:15 for the 1:30 calendar. If you get there by 2, there is hope to get something done.

      That is how I would do it. And along the way I would stop in West Covina and handle someone else’s warrant case on the way.

      And that is one of the reasons why hiring a private attorney is way better. I’ve handled more warrant cases in one day then you will (hopefully) have to deal with in your whole life.

      If you hired someone like me – I would try to go in on both cases for you ASAP (monday at 8:30 and 1:30) and try to solve the problem without you going to court or jail at all, or paying bail, at all. In fact, I’d try to do it without ever meeting you or talking to you on the phone if possible. Email fee agreement and Paypal are my favorite catalysts for work.

      And that is how I would start. Go from there.

      But I am not going to IE courts ever again. Too hard for me at this age. So I recommend that you hire our local SoCal Attorney Sponsor Mark Gallagher to help you. He is very good with these cases, knows these courts, and is friendly. He can be reached at AttorneyGallagher (at)

      Bottom line – someone has to convince the court you deserve another chance at probation, and the minimum jail time if there is a minimum. And that the warrant(s) should be recalled without jail, bail, personal appearance, or having to breath that IE air yourself.

      Your own efforts at dealing with this problem deserve Submarine Grades. (below C level).

      Pay a licensed professional to help you if you can somehow. Make the problem a priority in your life. Car payments are not as important. Cable bills are not as important as your freedom. Electric bills are not as important as your freedom. Insurance payments are not as important as your freedom. Happy hour drinks are not as important as your freedom. etc.

      Taking voluntary action will help you avoid the worst consequences.

  14. Rajveer says:

    My friend got DUI last week. He was stopped by CHP at 2 am on Freeway in San Bernardino. Apparently he was driving at 84 in 65 zone.
    He was administered 3 physical tests including walking on line, following pen with eyes and counting. He also took on-spot breath-analyzer test and officer told him that he is double the legal limit, but never gave him actual numbers.
    This was his first offence (Never even got a speeding/parking ticket)
    He also took voluntary blood test at police station and was released after 6 hours.

    Here are bunch of questions:

    1) Is there any way he can get to know his Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) as it not mentioned on any of paperwork he got?
    2.1) He has also got Pink Slip, stating that he License will be revoked in 30 days, and can request trail only in 10 days. Any suggestion about what should be his course of action? And how long will his license stay revoked? Also can he pay $125, and supply SR 22 after to get hard license when his license is revoked after 30 days?
    2.2) And should he start the DUI school right now to be eligible for Hard license or wait for court date which is in June 2012
    3) He is currently on his OPT and his company is about to file his H1b visa this April and Green card in another month or two. Will DUI charges have any effect on visa or immigration?
    4) He has been asked to appear in court in last week of June. Will DUI be reflected on his record till then?
    5) I have heard that a good attorney have better chances of getting the charges dropped to reckless driving or something. So any recommendation on attorney to represent him in both Court and DMV and some idea about possible fee?


    • Rajveer,

      Questions like these are exactly why a person facing a criminal DUI case needs to hire an attorney. I cant answer all of these questions for free.

      I’ll answer one for free: Can DUI charges (a misdemeanor conviction) affect visa or immigration for non US Citizens?

      With all criminal misdemeanors I tell my non US Citizen clients exactly this: “If you are convicted of this crime, it may lead to denial of entry into the US, denial of permanent residency, and denial of citizenship and possibly deportation.”

      The immigration issue is a matter of how the federal law treats a state criminal conviction. Understanding that requires an immigration attorney. And I am not an immigration attorney, so I cannot tell if a DUI will result in problems for him specifically.

      He needs to hire a criminal defense attorney and he need to talk with an immigration attorney to determine the possible effects of all teh different possible outcomes.

  15. Todd says:

    After receiving a DUI in CA i was ordered to do a 9 month DUI school. Upon reading online, it appears I was supposed to sign up for the class within 21 days. i am now 9 days past, should I be worried of a warrant?


    • Todd,

      Yes, you should be worried about 1) a warrant and 2) revocation of probation.

      The answer to this question depends on whether or not the court ordered the class as part of the terms of probation. They may have just told you to do it because the DMV requires it to get your restricted drivers license during the suspension period. But it could also be part of the actual terms of your probation. I cannot tell which you have here, and it does vary.

      Assuming it is actually a term of probation,

      You should try to sign up for the classes today, once that is done (assuming the provider allows it), you should personally take proof of enrollment to the court (like today at 1:30 pm or tomorrow at 8 am). File it with the court clerk on your case. Ask the court clerk what the status of the case is. If there is a warrant, ask for an immediate walk in appearance, or set a date and time to appear ASAP.

      Got it? 1) try to sign up and get proof of enrollment today; 2) go to court ASAP to provide proof and check status of the case.

      If they will not let you sign up, you have to get a walk in court appearance and ask the judge to give you a new referral and new deadline.

      If they will not let you sign up today, and there is a warrant at the court, you probably want to get an attorney’s help. Once that happens, you have to get in to court, get the warrant recalled, and get the judge to reinstate probation without jail, bail or admitting a probation violation if possible.

      If it was not a term of your probation, and it is a DMV only thing for you, the court clerk will probably send you home when you try to turn in your proof of enrollment, saying “We dont need that”.

  16. Dustin says:

    I wrote the wrong date on my calendar and missed my first appointed court date today for a DUI I got in Whittier, CA. It was an honest mistake and I am very scared about receiving jail time. I plan on going in tomorrow and speaking with the clerk and asking to see a judge ASAP to explain my mistake. I want to know what to expect and if there is anything I can do to avoid getting the book thrown at me.

    • Dustin,

      Good question! finally.

      Dear People, please review this question before writing your own so you can see how to write a question that can be answered. Thank you.

      My first thought is that you need to hire an attorney. If you would have hired an attorney in advance – you would not have this problem. And you could have stayed home and let the Attorney deal with that nasty Whittier Court and the pictures of gang members wanted for shooting at cops they put up on posters at the entrance. Friendly place.

      When you miss the Arraignment on a misdemeanor DUI case in CA, I would expect the court to issue a warrant for your arrest and add a new crime to the case of a failure to appear (probably under Penal Code 853.7)

      If you were released on bail after your arrest, the court has probably forfeited your bail, and your bail bond company is probably on their way to your house.

      Because of the failure to appear charge, you have increased your jail exposure by 1 year (the max sentence on the failure to appear charge). That means technically, even if you beat the DUI charges in a trial, you can still get 1 year in jail on the FTA.

      But if you get in there quick, before they arrest you, you can limit the damage.

      My best advice? Hire an attorney today. Right now. I recommend our local LA Attorney Sponsor, Mark Gallagher (attorneygallagher(at) who is friendly and very good with these cases.

      If you hired an attorney like me or mark right now – the most likely course of action would be to call the courtroom clerk where the case was yesterday right now and see if she/he still has the file on their desk, and if so . . . . .HOLD IT! I’m coming! I’ll be there at 10:30!

      But you as a Defendant on their own – have no chance at that strategy because they wont talk to you.

      If you have to go alone because you do not have the ability to hire professional help – go to the court clerks office NOW (right now) and tell them you are there to take care of a warrant case. They will give you instructions from there, which may include: “Go see the Sheriff over there.” Ask for a walk in court appearance. Once in court, ask for time to hire an attorney or apply for the Public Defender. Do not try to handle it alone.

      That is my best free advice to someone who finally sent me a good question.

    • I can’t stand it any more! Mr. Dort, you lost me. Dustin, hire the damn man. He will confuse the hell out of people too and win your case.

  17. Jamie says:

    Okay I have a question the cops just came an errested my husband because he didn’t make it to court due to a accident and lost 2 of his teeth he was in the hostpital when he had court so he didn’t make it to court. He then called court 5 times and nobody called him back or left a message for him so my Husband just got a warrent out for his errest and the cops came. How long will he be in jail? He really didn’t do anything wrong he didn’t intentionally miss court he was in a bad accident and he called them 5 times day after day. Thanks I really appreciate this please write me if you know

  18. Phil says:

    Good Afternoon. In 2007 I was hit with a DUI. In 2008 I lost my job and was unable to pay my fines, or for my outtake for AB-541. Now here in 2012 I have stabelized, found a job, found a home and want to complete this the best way possible. I have read your blog and it all sounds the same….get this done now, hiore an attorney or ask for a court appointed one and then ask for your warrant to be recalled and if probation can be reinstated under the original terms. I was suppose to appear at the airport courthouse in Dec 2008, but as I was without a job and basically without home, I didn’t. I know I messed up and ade things worse. I know I have a bench warrant for failure to appear/probation violation. My court house is the LAX in Los Angeles, and I really am wanting to get this done right. I talked to the clerks office and can do the walk in. I am more curious of the jal time. I am planning as to the judge giving me jail time, I messed up so I will do it if I have to. My question is how much should I expect to get so I can talk to my boss and work things out before I appear. Any specifics I missed I a msure, but looking fo rany last bit of info I can get.

    • Phil,

      Good question.

      If you are employed the judge is not going to appoint the public defender to help you. To qualify for the Public Defender, you must be “indigent” – which means has no ability to pay for everyday things like.. .

      I am so happy I did not write what I was thinking there.

      I cant tell you how much jail time you are going to get. The judge is free to re sentence you. I can tell you what your exposure is. I would say it sounds like (I dont know for sure) 1.5 yrs county jail. But maybe they have no room for you. Maybe jail time in LA is a joke for people in your situation? Call Lindsay. She what she thinks about your jail time. But its not the duration of jail time you should worry about – it is the first hour and the en masse strip searching you have to go through. Close up group ass hole checking.

      You should hire our local LA Sponsor Attorney, Mark Gallagher (attorneygallagher(at) He is very good with these cases. He can get to court quick if you hire him. He is friendly, and knows exactly what to do on one of these DUI/PV/Warrant cases. Send him an email, ask for a quote. It makes sense to have professional help. There is a reason why Mark has a law license.

  19. joanna loez says:

    hi in 2009 my boyfriend had to do a dui program and we are now in 2012 he is still on probation and is still paying hes fine he has completed his community hours. is he still able to do is dui program with out having to go back to court. this is in sonoma county. he still owes about $800 in fines. what can he do so he doesnt have to go to jail.

    • Joanna,

      You are in 2012? Me too!

      RE: “Is he still able to do his DUI program without having to go back to court?”

      How would I know? Did he miss the deadline the judge gave him? You left that most important fact out. I’m not psychic at this time of the morning.

      But I can tell that when a person fails to complete a term of CA DUI probation on time, usually the court will REVOKE PROBATION and issue an arrest warrant. Once probation is revoked – there is no point in even trying to do whatever it was that was left – you have to get the judge to reinstate probation first.

      My advice? Contact the court in person and find out the status of the case. Is there a warrant? Has probation been revoked?

      If probation has been revoked, you should hire an attorney to try to get probation reinstated without jail time, and without posting of bail on the warrant.

      In Sonoma, I would charge a flat fee of $1400 for a case like this general fact pattern. I make it really easy to hire me. email me cdort(at)

  20. Alex says:

    Hi Chris,

    I got my first DUI in December of 2010 and after all the hearings and court dates I had to complete the HAM and MADD program, complete a 3 month DUI class and community service by October 2011. I enrolled in May and did not finish until October and by the time that finished, and I know it is not an excuse, I was enrolled in school, coaching a soccer team, and starting up a nonprofit for kids to stay in sports and off the streets, which took up a lot of my time filling out paperwork for the IRS and planning fundraisers etc. I’m not trying to find ways to get out of my requirements but I do need my license back because having only 1 car when my family is now bigger there needs to be a second driver and a second car. I just want to know what would most likely happen if I schedule a court date to have my case reopened and appear in front of the judge. I’m willing at this point to do anything even if I have to spend a few nights in jail, I just want this taken care of but I do want to prepare so I can get my family and everything situated if worse comes to worse with jail time. I have not been in any trouble with the law at all since my DUI.

    • Alex,

      I am going to re-write your question an include all of the important info you included:

      “I was convicted of my DUI in 2010. I have not gotten a second one yet. I am not going to tell you where it was. I was ordered by the court to complete a few things. I did some of it, but then decided I had more important things to do. I dont want to go to jail. I have no idea what status the case is in, and I am afraid to check, so you will not get that info. What do I do?”

      Is that your question?

      I recommend that you call or visit the court clerk immediately to find out the status of the case. Chances are your probation was revoked, and a warrant issued. But I cannot tell.

      Or hire an Attorney to do the work for you correctly.

      Send me the details to cdort(at) and I will try to get you a quality case review with a quote for the work.

  21. Mo says:

    I got a DUI in 1995 in Los Angeles. I went to court and was given classes. I did not complete them. I have not had a license since. I have had no other tickets or infractions. How can I get my license back? Do I need to complete those classes? Isn’t there a statute of limitations?

    • Mo,

      So you failed to complete a term of your probation 17 years ago, and you are worried about a drivers license? You are one of those people who are in complete denial. You should worry about getting your drivers license back after you get out of jail.

      No, you cannot just do the classes now if they were a term of your probation. This is because when you fail to compete a term of probation, the court revokes probation altogether. No probation = no classes, jail instead.

      No, there is no statute of limitations problem here. The statute of limitations is not a limit on the amount of time to catch a fugitive – it is a deadline to file criminal charges. And in this hypothetical fact pattern, not only have your charges been filed, but you have also been convicted. So no problem there. It will never go away on its own. It’s actually amazing that you were able to let it go for some long.

      My advice? Go to the courthouse right now in person and ask the criminal court clerk to give you the status of your case and go from there.

      If you are unable to do that correctly, or if you are motivated to take care of the problem correctly with a good shot at the best possible result – you should hire an attorney to get the case resolved for you. I recommend out local LA Attorney Sponsor, Mark Gallagher, he is very good with these cases. Ask him for a quote. You can reach him at attorneygallagher (at)

      Maybe you got super lucky and they lost the case? That was the year they invented the Internet, wasnt it? Maybe your paperwork is stuck on some 1990′s gong sized hard drive in some museum in San Jose now?

  22. Mr. C says:

    I have a show cause hearing in Nebraska this week for a dui that I received in June 2011. I was put on probation for the dui in Sept. during my sentencing court date and have since completed all of my probation requirements except for the 7 AA meetings that I have left. I have not got into trouble since being put on probation and have paid off everything. I am just wondering why this show cause hearing is taking place when I have not done anything wrong and what could happen. I’m looking at going back to jail for 21 days if the court does not waive this during my court hearing. What are the chances of that happening? I’m very concerned for some reason even though I know I have not done anything to put me in any trouble thus far. Thanks

  23. Joe,

    I’ll answer a lot of questions for free. But not that one.

  24. marlene says:

    Chris, thanks for your time. My husban got a DUI in 2003 (vista, CA).He went to court but did not do what he was told. Thiis was his first DUI. We are trying to fix this problem. What should we do. Is been so long we don’t want him to do any jail time..

    • Marlene,

      Great Question. This is the kind of question I really like to answer because I can tell you what to do.

      First off- super quick because I have explained it in detail elsewhere – his probation has probably been revoked. The court probably has issued a warrant with a bail of $10k-$25k. He is probably being charged with a probation violation.

      Jail time is definitely a possibility. But if you do everything correct, you may be able to avoid the worst consequences.

      He needs to do 1 of 2 things: 1) Hire an attorney today to go to court for him and try to get the case back on track without jail time or without posting of bail or without admitting a probation violation if possible.

      Hold on. Pause. I have to just point out how great your question was. It was so concise! All the necessary facts. What you wrote, was really all I need to know.

      Anyway, in san diego you can look up the status of hte case on line at the sheriff’s web site and the court’s web site. Check both, read both so you know what is going on.

      If he were to hire me for this case, it is a case I can help with. I have handled many of these in Vista. I used to handle them in vista at 8:30 am on my way to handle them in Orange County at 10:30a.m. and then in LA at 1:30 pm. Be home for Monday Night FootBall in Ocean Beach, CA as the sun set. Oh those were the good ol days. 3 counties, 420 miles, 3 or more warrant cases.

      Anyway, if he hire me, I would immediately contact the court and notify them that he has hired an attorney to clear up the case. I would ask the court clerk to recall the warrant by fax, pending a scheduled Arraignment on the probation violation charge. In San Diego, sometimes, in some cases, they will allow an attorney to get a warrant recalled by phone or fax. So that is my first attempt.

      If it works, great. I go to the arraignment 30 days later, and tell the judge that he wants to do everything right, solve the problem, get life together, etc. 100% committed to clearing it up correctly, exactly as the judge orders, whatever that be. But we ask for probation reinstatement, a second chance, a new try at life, for new probation terms, same as the old, and new deadline for this poor, poor, poor, old fellow who will never, never, never do it again

      Actually, the astute reader here will notice that I suddenly broke into the lyrics of a famous Smiths Song – and it was not accidental – that song actually provides an excellent template for an argument to reinstate probation. Get the song, memorize, and you will be ready to do it yourself.

      If my attempt to get the warrant recalled remotely does not work, then the next step is for me to go in person, at 8 am, and ask the court for a walk in appearance. It’s normal for an attorney to do that, and they will send me somewhere, where the judge will hear what I have to say.

      I would tell the judge in person that he hire me to resolve the case correctly, now. I would tell the judge that he is 100% ready to do anything to get the case fixed. I would ask the judge to recall the warrant, set a date for arraignment on the probation violation charges. Or better yet, just save everybody some time and reinstate probation now and set a new deadline so that he can start today. Etc.

      If that does not work, then he has to go in with me a second time, and try again.

      If that doesnt work, there may be a jail sentence coming.

      If he cannot afford to hire me today (I would charge- – actually I would like to have this case because I know that I can get it done right and fast, I can start today——-$1400 one time payment flat fee if you hire me today. Some attorneys may charge less. You get what you pay for unless you get ripped off)

      If he cannot hire an attorney today he should go to court in person tomorrow at 8:00, and ask the court clerk for a walk in appearance on the case as i described. Once there, ask the judge for a public defender to be appointed. Then tell the public defender (assuming you qualify) to do what I listed above. But they will already know what to do, so you will not have to tell them.

      OK – bottom line? Hire an attorney today or go to court in person tomorrow.

      I make it really easy for you to hire me. Just email me if interested. I accept payments on line or over the phone, credit or debit card, paypal, etc. I have a short fee agreement I can email to you and I can start working on it right away.

      Chances of success? I would expect that if he takes care of this correctly before they get him, chances of a no jail result are 50-50, maybe better. but everyday that goes by makes it harder to get a good result.

      And that folks, Is the same case review I have written more than 100 times, and said verbally to people countless times.


  25. Matt says:

    Chris, in 2005 i was convicted of d.u.i. and i paid my fine but did not complete my alcohol clases and community service. Fast forward to 2009 I was charged with 3 differant mistermeaners of differant occasions one graffiti, one drunk im public, and my second d.u.i. I was released on O.R. each time and never went to court. How much would be for representtation? im expecting some jail time, how much do you think ill be looking at? thank you.

  26. Mr. D says:

    Hi Chris,

    I got a DUI in dec 2009. I went to my first court date by myself and was able to get it down to a wet-reckless. I needed to take DUI classes (which I did) and either go to a certain hours of community service & pay a fine or pay a higher fine and not go to community service. I have not take the community service or paid the fine yet. What would you say I do? Do i have a warrant? I have not been informed by the court of any of this. Please let me know what you think I should do as I would like to fix this problem asap and have this whole incident behind me. Thanks for your help.

    Thank you,
    Mr. D

    • Mr. D,

      You suffer from the same disease as about half of the commenters here: failure to include the most important into.

      You did not tel me if you missed the dead line or not. Oh . . . .I wonder. . .do I feel like guessing about what people are talking about today? OK, I’ll do it one more time.

      You missed the dead line. Your probation was revoked. A warrant was issued with a bail setting of $10,000.

      YOu need to go to court in person right now – get there by 1:30, tell the court clerk you are there to take care of a warrant case and ask for a walk in court appearance. Once in court, try to talk the judge into reisntating your probation instead of giving you jail time. Ask the judge to allow you to remain free without paying bail.

      Or you can hire attorney attorney to do all the work for you.

      How much will it cost? How long will it take? I have no idea. Infact, all of htis might be completely wrong, because I cannot tell where the case was. Could be in Mexico for all I know. If that is the case. Dont go back to mexico, ever. Send the Mexicans a Christmas Card with a return address in Africa, like Somalia or something far away. I am not ever going back there either. The last time I was there was the last time I was there.

  27. april says:

    im on 3 year probation.. so far it has been 2 1/2 years.. i have all my fines payed and everything done.. i missed my court date to get transferred to another county.. could i have a warrant for that?

    • April,

      Yes. If you missed a court date, you may have a warrant. If you were on probation and missed a court date for that case, your probation may have been revoked. Go to court in person right now. At the court clerk for the status of your case. Go now. Right now.

  28. Teri says:

    Hi Chris,

    I got a DUI in 2009 and I successfully made it to all of my court dates, I posted bail and the bond was exhonerated. I paid an attorney who represented me and I didn’t have to appear in court once. My probation has been revoked because I did not pay my fine of 1800$, I did not complete the DUI class due to lack of income, and I didn’t do any of my 350 hours of community service. I’m in San Diego County, El Cajon.

    I have a good reason for not being able to do any of these things, my identical twin sister became gravely disabled in 2009 and I am the only family she has, so I have been taking care of her full time day and night as she couldn’t be left alone. She couldn’t feed or toilet herself and she is in need of a liver transplant. I was told by her doctor to contact hospice etc. She is still with me, but I can’t leave her alone. She has no one, no income etc. It’s all I can do to not breakdown almost everyday.

    Anyway, the bench warrant is for 5000$ and I know I need to just show up. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you.


    • Teri,

      I wish this were not true, but I have to tell this to people every week:

      Having to take care of sick relatives or children is not a defense to anything. It is not a good excuse, it is not something that is going to help you in court.

      The judge is going to what to know why you did not appear in court immediately when you know there was a problem. The judge is going to tell you that probation is optional. Jail is the other choice if you cannot complete the terms of probation. You either do probation right or go to jail, regardless of who is sick, regardless of how many children you have, regardless of what will happen to your family business.

      Probation is government designed punishment. It is designed and intended to hurt you. No joke – that is real.

      OK – moving on from that assumption – the best option is to hire an attorney to try to get the warrant recalled without posting bail and without going to jail. Then step 2 is trying to get probation reinstated.

      But honestly, if you cannot complete probation – jail is the only other option. SO if you go in there and say “I cannot complete probation because of money issues and family issues” the judges is going to say:

      “OK, that’s fine. Bailiff, could you please remand defendant.”

      If you cannot hire an attorney, go to the courthouse today at 1:00 pm, ask for a walk in appearance on the case for the 1:30 calendar. Go today. do not delay.

      Believe it or not, if you were to hire me for this case, I could probably get this warrant recalled within a day or so, and get you out of immediate danger of jail fast.

      How much would I charge? San Diego? If you hire me today or tomorrow and there is nothing really weird here?

      It’s tuesday. HIre me today, I’ll get into court for you by Friday for the warrant recall request. You would not have to go at first, hopefully not at all if things go my way.

      I’ve done hundreds of these cases. Can get yours done fast.

      Hum . .. it’s tuesday. Your bail is $5,000…….

      I would charge a flat fee of $1400 if you hire me today or tomorrow.

      It would take me probably 2 court appearances to resolve the case completely. THe goal would be reinstatement of probation, a second chance, no payment of bail, and no jail time. And, double preferably, without admitting a probation violation because that could screw up your chances of expungement in the future (but that is advanced crap you can pay me to worry about).

      I make it easy for you to hire me. You can hire me in the next 5 minutes. I have a short fee agreement I can send to you, and I accept payment via paypal, credit or debit card, even echek, And gold. Actually Gold American Eagles $50 (one would do it in this case).

      Hold on – digression – I do want to point out that I have recently decided to accept Gold American Eagle Coins $50 for payment. Some of you may have a couple of those laying around that you picked up cheap 10 years ago?????

      Anyway, it’s easy to hire me. I might be able to get that warrant recalled by fax in 20 minutes. (San Diego lets you make that request when there is no bail forfeiture). How’s that for inside knowledge?

      Here is the instructions for Attorneys to get warrants recalled by fax in San Diego:

      Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Santa Clara Primitive Superior Court!

      Send me to San Diego this week!!!!!!! Come on . . . do it!!!!!!! Do it!!!!!!!

  29. Chrissy says:


    Yesterday was my due date for my fines and for my classes for my DUI to be completed in AL. Again, I am in CO. Although I may have just been lucky, after faxing paperwork and the letter to several clerks, Being nice and considerate, and even emailing magistrates at the court house, I received a phone call and follow up email from the judge’s clerk stating my case was to be continued and I will be receiving an email as to when it will be rescheduled on the docket. Again, maybe I was lucky or I just learned a lot from my law classes, but I was able to handle this myself with persistence and thinking ahead.

    As for my second case, there are budget cuts that are making it difficult to find out information. However, with the same tenacity I had with case no. 1, I have confidence I can get to the right person.

    And I had paid my lawyer in full. He wanted another 1k just for me to get an update and refuses to send me my file.

    Thanks for the information anyways Chris.

    • Chrissy,

      Great. If you did pay your attorney in full and you have proof of payment, you should make a formal complaint to the state bar and immediately demand a copy of your file in writing.

  30. Chrissy says:

    Hello. I moved from AL to CO and am currently having my DUI cases (there are two) brought over here. One of which is deferred (finish my classes and then I would be off my record) and the 2nd one my lawyer put in a deferral but I had moved during that time (I have NO idea what’s going on with t- my lawyer won’t tell me without sending him MORE money, which I do not have and I have no clue who to speak to at the courts). Last thing I heard was the request for deferral in August.

    In the last couple of months, I and a DUI class center have been getting the cases brought over. I have been in close contact with the one I know about, lettin the AL reps know about me getting into these classes. Thing is my court date has now come up in AL. I cannot be there obviously and have a letter from the DUI center to send to them.

    Will this suffice since I am doing everything I can to meet my expectations? And how do I get information about the other DUI case so I can take care of that appropriately. Never been in trouble but just had a really bad start to the year. Thank you.

    • Chrissy,

      This is actually a common question.

      If you have a court date scheduled on a criminal case, you must go. You do not have a choice. They can take away your freedom.

      If you hire an attorney to go to court for you, and it is the kind of court date where that works, you can avoid court. But being far away is not a defense to a failure to appear in court, which is a new crime.

      You have to go. You have no choice. Writing a letter will not help you. Calling the court will not help you. If you do not go, bad things are going to happen.

      That’s all I can say about that one.

      Issue #2:

      How to find out about your case where you have an attorney who refuses to work due to lack of payment.

      This is a tricky one. Promising to pay an Attorney to help you with a criminal case, and then failing to pay is the best way to really, really screw up a case.

      wow. Part of me wants to say it’s all the Attorney’s fault for being dumb enough to take a criminal case without getting paid in full, in advance. I learned that lesson a long time ago.

      But – it is probably your . . . . . .

      here is how to solve the problem: 1) call the court clerk at the court where the case is pending and ask for a status on the case and the next scheduled court date. Send the Attorney a written demand that he send you your complete file; show up in court on the next court date and tell the judge your attorney stopped working, you cannot pay, and you need the court to appoint a public defender to assist you for the rest of the case.

      If there is no court date scheduled, you need to get your file tomorrow and see what is in it. You may have to go to the courthouse in person to check the court’s file out and see what orders the court made.

      That is my best advice for this problem. Of course, I am not licensed to practice law in those states, but what I told you is not law – common sense. GET IN TOUCH WITH THE COURT CLERK TO KEEP TRACK OF THE STATUS OF YOUR CASE. IF YOU HAVE A COURT DATE SCHEDULED ON A CRIMINAL CASE, YOU MUST GO, OR SEND A LICENSED ATTORNEY TO GO FOR YOU.

      OK – Here is my best advice for others out there on how to avoid this problem. It is a simple rule I have told hundreds of people:

      Rule 1: Moving out of state while you have criminal charges or cases pending is almost always a terrible idea (in my opinion). Wait until the cases are completely over.

  31. Brendan Downes says:

    Chris, I have been terminated from my dui classes twice. The first time, I didnt pay much attention and really didnt understand how the consequences of a DUI could be. I went to court and was reinstated. The 2nd series of classes, I was hired as a caregiver and consequently missed many classes as a result of having to attend to the woman who hired me (and also I didnt want to tell her I had to leave on Mondays for DUI class!) I am going to court tomorrow to face the music. I’ve told my client now, and she said she would go with me but Im not sure if thats appropriate, especially if they take me to jail. Will I go to jail ? Does writing something out for the judge matter ? What should I do? Thanks for your input, Brendan

  32. Alice says:

    I was arrested for a DUI in February 2011, I went to my court date and they had me plea “no contest”, they informed me of the classes I would need to take and all that information. But sadly, I have ignored my DUI up to this point because of many many personal issues I have been struggling with. I know it is terrible, and I must stand up to deal with it – like an adult. I do not even know the first step to take. Can you please help me with some guidance?

    (Fresno County, CA)

    • Alice,

      Here is some good news – you came to the right spot, and I am going to tell you how to solve this problem for free. I mean I am going to tell you for free how to solve this problem. There is not free way to solve it, but there is free info here.

      Confused yet?

      Bottom line: you have to get to court ASAP and get the case back on the court’s calendar for 1) request to recall warrant and (probably) 2) request that probation be reinstated and you get a second chance with out going straight to jail.

      You should hire an attorney to do the work for you right. I can take this case, have handled many, many just like it. I can show up there in beautiful Fresno court within a day or two to start the process.

      I would charge a flat fee of about $1400 (I mean $1600, I forgot it was fresno) to handle the case (assuming it is a warrant/probation revoked case and no trial needed) if you hire me today. I’ll go to court for you possible on Thursday.

      That’s how fast we can start. Email me cdort(at)dortlaw to discuss details. I make it really, really easy to hire me. No office visit necessary, I dont even need to talk to you on the phone. It’s that easy.

      (And yes, all of you delinquent google programmers can hire me from India and New Zealand if you need to).

      If you cannot hire a private attorney, you need to go to court yourself in person tomorrow at 8:00. Go to the criminal division clerks office window and tell them you are there to take care of a warrant case. They will give you instructions from there. Once in court, ask for the court to appoint a public defender to help you if you are unemployed and broke.

      I always try to handle these cases first without the client going to court with me. I go alone, taek the judge’s vennom and fire out and try to survive it for you.

      Going alone works for me 80% of the time on simple DUI warrant cases. In 20% of the cases, I have to return with the client to finish solving the problem. In 10% or so of the cases, the client stays longer than me.

      If you take voluntary action, you can probably avoid the worst consequences. Jail is possible. But so is no jail.

      If you wait until the Stormtropers arrest you, you are going to have a really bad week before you even get to court.

  33. Alice says:

    Hi I have probation from a year ago and missed a $45. Court payment and. Resulted in a warrant can I go to jail or possibly get it cleared if I ask to pay entirely. All I owe?

  34. Bryant says:


    i have a DUI case, and i was dismissed from the first offender program for missing too many classes, the school told me that there was a court (San Mateo county) date set for me the following day and the court said i violated my probation for not completing the said program they asked me to hire a private defender and set me up another court date on January, I would want to know the chances of me going to jail. What is the usual sanction to this cases, will I be going to jail? I am really worried. I will really appreciate your input on this matter. I’m just a student and i cannot afford to hire a lawyer, i hope that you can help me with this.

    thank you.

  35. Bogart B. says:

    I was unable to make a court date for my DUI, and I was forced to move to Idaho after being evicted from my apartment. I cannot afford to hire an attorney to resolve the matter, what are some options for me that are affordable and realistic? Is there any way that I can take care of this matter in Idaho?

    • Bogart,

      This is a good question. I get this one a lot, but never really answered it in the blog.

      If you do not have the money to hire a private attorney, you have to go to court yourself to get anything done on a warrant case.

      There is no way to take care of a DUI warrant for free by mail or phone. With these facts, you are a fugitive from justice – court appearance and possible jail are mandatory. An attorney that you hire may be able to get the warrant recalled without you, but you still might have to be there to do the jail time.

      So, you need to go to court ASAP. Leave today. Show up there tomorrow at 8:00a.m. Tell the court clerk (criminal division) that you are there to take care of a warrant case. They will give you instructions from there.

      THat’s my best advice. Dont wait. It will not go away on its own. Everyday that goes by makes it harder to get a no jail result.

  36. Mr. Rene C says:

    Thank you so much for your advice Chris..Honestly this was the best advice, and very much needed secondary opinion. I had a streak of irresponsibleness but i’m hoping I can straighten this up and turn things around. I appreciate your recommendation as well; I will consider using their services although I have a defense attorney that I used when I originally got my DUI whom I might also use, especially considering she is fully aware of the case (it seems whatever paperwork they sent me, they sent them);

  37. Mr. Rene C says:

    I recently found out I have a Benchwarrant for my Arrest due to Failure to Appear in Court. The reason I was originally required to go to court was for Failure to complete required DUI Course in the required time-frame. Unfortunately, I didn’t recieve the first letter requesting me to go to court the first time otherwise I wouldv’e attended and things wouldn’t be as severe, but that’s irrelevant at this point. The situation goes as follows: I practically finished all the classes EXECPT one class, the Exit Class.. The reason why I didn’t do this class was becasue I wasn’t able to attend or schedule this last class untill I paid my outstanding balance. I know it’s not much of an excuse but I was unemployed at this time, so I was putting fourth my best effort to attend every class untill I was required to pay. I now have a job and willing to comply with what I have to do. I understand the court/judge isn’t here to cater for me, especially as a “criminal”; My question is Will I be Arrested if I go to the court house and see the clerk regarding my benchwarrant to get my case put on Calendar so I can see they judge.. I know I have to get this straightened out, but I don’t want to go see the clerk just to have them arrest me for a undisclosed amount of time.. as your’ve heard this line before.. I now have a job I have to try to maintain, I have a daughter and a family.. I understand my best bet is to hire a attorney Regardless!! but Honestly, is this something I can go into the court house and take care of without fearing the worst before I see the judge..Or should I really just not risk ? For the record the court I have to attend is in Riverside County..I know you primarily work out of SB, Ventura..But I’d appreciate any help.

    • Mr. Rene,

      I have handled many of these cases in Riverside County. It is a horrible court to work in. Probably the worst in CA. Maybe second worst next to Oakland.

      What has happened here is that your probation has probably been revoked. The classes were part of probation. No probation = no more classes.

      If you do not hire a private attorney in advance, it is very likely they will arrest you and hold you until: 1) you post bail; or 2) you get into court (where they may decide to keep you anyway.)

      Posting bail would be stupid – you should use that money to hire an attorney.

      It might be possible to get arrested and into the court the same morning. But that would be upto the Sheriff’s department and the court’s schedule.

      The only right way to handle this problem is to hire a competent Defense Attorney to help you. Especially if your record of handling the case correctly is not good.

      OK- and you probably already know that if you cannot finish the classes on time, it is your responsibility to go to court prior to the deadline to ask for more time.

      I dont have any good news for you. Wish I did.

      I can say this for sure: Everyday you wait makes a no jail result less likely.

      I’m not ever going back to Riverside Hall of Justice. I dont care if you have $100k in cash for me.

      But our local Sponsor Attorney Mark Gallagher is very good at these cases in that courthouse. I recommend you ask him for a quote. He might be able to solve this problem in a couple of days if things go well. We call these “DUI Probation violation warrant” cases. He can be contacted at attorneygallagher(at)

      I cant tell what your bail is set at. $25,000 is pretty standard. But sometimes as low as $5,000 shows up. Depends on how pissed off the judge is. Judges views these cases as intentional disobedience of court orders that were required to avoid jail.

      Dont wait!

  38. Christian Sistrunk says:

    - have been on probation for 9 months. I was unable to pay for a drug screening. I am required to report by phone to Tennessee. I am in located in texas.I have only misses one drug screened never failed. I. Had my name ran by the polise here in houston,The warrant did come up.The texas police wouldn’t even arrest .They said there not going to even touch me because of the distants and the fact its a dui misdemeanor charges .Basically the end would not cover the means .I’m in college at University of houston. I talked to my probation officer and he said turn myself at the end of the semester. I will be done with my total probation by then. Fines are paid up. What do you suggest I do.

    • Christian,

      If I had a warrant for my arrest anywhere for a case I knew was mine, I would jump in my car, on my bike, on the bus, on the Train, on my sk8 board, or on a horse and IMMEDIATELY go to court.

      I would not waste one second.

      Even if the local police (polise with a “c”) ignore you, a pending warrant can prevent you from getting or keeping a real job.

      • Christian Sistrunk says:

        Ok so how do I go about going to court do I turn myself in to the police or try to get my name on the court document

  39. Aaron says:

    I was previously convicted of two dui’s in separate city’s and I stopped going to probation on both because (I know this doesn’t matter) I simply could not afford to pay the fines and costs that were being asked of me. I spent a year running from my problems while at the same time I got a college degree, and a job at a local hospital. I was pulled over on the way back from work and arrested for the warrants, and also driving while suspended. I was bailed out and am currently waiting to address these situations in court. I have a character witness letter from my supervisor at work and I am also the caregiver for my 81 year old grandmother who relies on my care and income to make it. I realize I’ve dug a hole pretty deep for myself and am simply wondering if I have any chance of avoiding jail time, with or without attorney.

    • Aaron,

      I cannot tell you what will happen. And I dont have any good news for you.

      If you wait until they arrest you, you might get hammered. That is just the way it is.

      I cannot tell where this is. But if this is CA, and your “driving on a suspended” is actually a Vehicle Code 14601.2 (alcohol related suspension) charge, 10 days in jail minimum on that charge alone.

      A Character Witness is not going to help you at all. Forget about that idea. You will not have a chance to present character witnesses. You are just plain going to get re sentenced at your next court date.

      If I were your attorney, I would try to do my best to talk the judge into reinstating probation (in the 2 minutes he/she would give me).

      Oh man. I wish you would have hired me in advance with the money you used to get out of jail! Chit! I could have helped you then.

      A no jail result is still possible. But not likely. Depends on the judge, the jail population, whether or not the judge you ignored was the same judge who is going to put the hammer down, whether or not your court date is on a Friday, etc. If they call your case first in the morning calendar, you might be the daily example.

      Moral of this story: Dont Wait until they arrest you. Wish I had better news.

  40. idan says:

    my girlfriend had a DUI 6 years ago involving an ecident she was paying all this time
    last year we moved to israel and when she fly back to the state for a visit she got arrest because she didnt apper to court now she still in LA jail waiting to be transferd to san diego because the warrent was issue by them and she have no bail ??
    is that something weired ? why there is no bail
    is it because the DUI she had few years a go even her driver licence is expired a year ago when we moved back
    she will be transferd tomorrow to SD what should we do ???

    please advise

    • Idan,

      You do not have enough details for me to answer your questions. But I can tell you this:

      You need to hire an attorney for her now. This sounds really complicated.

      Send me the details by email, cdort(at), and I’ll get you a detailed case review and quote right away.

  41. gwen says:

    A friend of mine from MO is under a 5-year probation from being caught 3 times on a DUI. He wants to travel outside the country to visit a friend – will this be possible? What does he need to do to avail permission from his PO? Any help….

  42. ashley says:

    so a friend has two failure to appers and one violation of probation all in different year one from 2005 2006 and 2008 how much jail time would he do if he turned himslf in?

  43. Missed Payment and some says:

    I know you’ve been asked this question to an extent but let me ask in more detail. I was issued a DUI in Oceanside. I currently live in Kansas. And yes i know you are not licensed for Kansas. But i missed probabation and a payment. The question is really for the payment. I’m assuming the warrant for the probation will not carry over to Kansas. I received a letter in the mail stating that i missed my payment and now it is do in full. I called the number on the letter and the lady told me I could make 3 payments within 90 days which i still can’t afford. She also told me my license could be suspended. So if san diego suspends my license does that carry over to Kansas dmv. I realize warants and what not usually wont carry over but maybe the dmv will. What do you think will happen. And also people that don’t pay get it taken out of there pay check. So what if i pay a 100 a month even though thats not what i’m suppose to pay but is it better then nothing?


    • Missed,

      you are wrong about the warrant issue.

      If the San Diego County Superior Court has issued a warrant for your arrest, and sent it for service to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office – you can be arrested anywhere – including airports, KS courthouses, and even in mexico. Dont make the dumb mistake of thinking you can hide from a San Diego DUI Warrant in another state. Warrants like that never go away. Eventually they will catch you, computers are getting better, not worse.

      And when you do get arrested – it is going to be a really bad week for you.

      You can avoid the worst consequences by hiring an Attorney like me to handle the case for you correctly. I have done many, many of them in the San Diego County Courthouses. I might be able to get your warrant recalled today if you hire me right now (9:25 am).

      First aoffense DUI probation violation warrant with a $10,000 bail setting in San Diego? I would charge (today) $2500. Email me for details. If you have money, I can look up your case instantly, and maybe get the warrant cleared and probation reinstated within hours (same day service has worked for me in San Diego many times on these warrants). I make it really EZ for you to hire me – from KS, TX, India, China, England – I’ve clients hire me from everywhere.

      If your case is more complicated, I would charge more. In crappy courts with no online access to case info details (Santa Clara, Alameda) I would charge a lot more. I will not go to San Bernardino Courts ever again. Nor Fresno.

      And yes, a CA Drivers license suspension will carry over to other states. Computers are getting better, not worse.

      My advice? Check the San DIego County Sheriff’s Office warrant search page and confirm whether or not there is a warrant. If there is – STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW and take care of it. Everyday you wait makes a good result (no jail result) harder to get. Take care of the warrant before you pay your rent, before you put gas in your car, befor you buy food, and as my friend eithi once said: “Before you pay the weed dealer.” Not my words. Just free advice.

      And I forgot this important part that I used to think was obvious but a lot of people do not understand it until after they get arrested:


  44. Greg Dermer says:

    Got a dui in 2005 never finished classes, i paid half fine did half classes moved up north knowing i would have to handle it. Got arrested for another thing, posted bail for all three, the other case the DA decided to not file charges, but arrest still there, i have a friend who as an attorney. My question is this, will that bail and time served cover my offense for failing to appear. Also, those charges were bogus but I paid a lot in bail, can they hold me accountable for a case they didn;t press charges on, in another county.

    • Greg,

      No. Bail in a criminal case is a deposit to make sure you show up to court. If the court has revoked your probation, they can resentence you all over again – and take all of your bail money (or the money the bail bonds company loaned you).

      The bail bond company might get pissed and send the dog after you. Dont hide from the dog in Mexico or Hawaii

      No, you cannot hide from a probation violation in a different county, if that is what you were asking.

      • Greg Dermer says:

        no i have court date tommorrow, thank you for answering. the other charge up there they didn’t file and dont plan to. I had to pay three bails, the felony charges up north are not going to be filed they gave me a letter saying that. Now I have to appear on these other two for a dui which i didnt finish when i was young, can i do jail time, or will i be cool now that i did three days up there and posted bail and i am on calendar

  45. ritz says:

    Hey there I have a questions my boyfriend got arrested cause we got pulled over I was driving they ran his name and found a warrant for his arrest for alameda county for dui from like 3 -4 years ago . We got pulled over in san Jose. His been in jail for 4 days … I’m worried …. he has not seen a judge yet … but he has a job and I’m just worried .

  46. Cindy says:

    I just got a DUI (Vehicle Code section 23152) in Laguna Beach early September. I had one 22 years ago, so I think the 10 year rule knocked that one out. So assuming I will be a “first time offender”, I would like to know what the penalties will be. I have been living in Utah for the past 4 years. Before that I lived in California. When I was pulled over, I handed the officer my Utah Drivers License and he wrote down the number, and gave it back to me and said “You can keep that”. I took a blood test and spent the night in jail. The next morning I was released and they gave me a pink piece of paper that said to appear on 11/10/11 and it had my Utah drivers license on it. Last week in the mail I received another notice with my old expired California license number stating that I had to go to the DMV and provide proof of California insurance and do I want to enroll in the “First Time Offenders Program”. I live both here and in Utah but it is cheaper for me to keep my Utah insurance. I would like to be able to drive legally in both states but not have to purchase insurance in both states. Would it be better to say that I reside in Utah or California? I have addresses in both states but am currently spending more time in California (which may change at any time). Also, my BAC ended up being a .26% what kind of trouble am I looking at and in what states(s)? What is least expensive route to go?

    • Cindy,

      The first thing I have to say (based on incomplete facts) is that your DRIVING PRIVILEGE IN CALIFORNIA is suspended regardless of whether or not you have a drivers license from another state. It appears that you cannot drive at all in CA. Dont make the horrible mistake of getting arrested for a Vehicle Code 14601.2 violation which has a 10 days in jail minimum.

      CA DMV can suspend your driving privilege in CA regardless of whether or not you ever had a CA Drivers LIcense. Your UT license is useless in CA now.

      I know that’s hard to take in. Many people have trouble understanding it.

      BAC of 0.26% is 3x the legal limit and will be considered “excessive” by the court as a matter of law if you admit it is true. And the udge is going to say: “Wow. People die in the street with that BAC.”

      There are additional penalties for an excessive BAC.

      The max penalty on a case like this is 1 year in county jail and a fine of $2000+.
      The court may require you to install an alcohol detection device in any car you own or drive.

      Typical penalty? Orange County? It actually hurts me that I know this. And I am giving it away for free. All right, I’ll tell you.

      Laguna Beach can be a scary court. Is that the one that is actually on the pier? A judge on that pier once fined me $250 for not getting a person served with a summons on time. And she made us all say the pledge allegiance in court with everyone else. No free speech in that court. Wacked.

      No, Laguna Beach is not that one on the pier. It’s that nice one that you have to take a toll road to get to. Right?

      Oh. That reminds me – If your drivers license is suspended, do not drive to court! Just yesterday I heard of a court doing a sting operation during and after court to catch and arrest the people coming out of court with suspended drivers licenses and then trying to drive home. The cops inside are radioing the cops in the parking lot in some courts! Watch out.

      OK – where was I.

      Typical penalty? First Offense DUI in Orange County, CA here is my blind, possibly wrong prediction on your case is you plead guilty on these hypothetical facts:

      “You are hereby sentenced to a term in the county jail of 30 days, which is suspended (not imposed) if you accept and comply with the following terms of probation for 3 years (maybe 5):

      1) Pay a fine (probably $2500+);
      2) Spend 8 days county in the county jail – with credit for 1 day. The balance of 7 days may be served in the Sheriff’s Work program if they accept you. You are to report to the sheriff’s office to do the jail time or get accepted into the Work Program within 14 days.
      3) You must install an approved alcohol detection device in any car you own or driver and provide proof of installation to the court within 4 months.
      4) You will not drive at all without a valid CA drivers license and valid auto liability insurance;
      5) you will not drive at all with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood.
      6) You must enroll in and complete a 12 week substance abuse program approved by the court and DMV, and you must provide proof of enrollment and completion to the court and DMV by a deadline;
      7) you must obey all laws and orders of the court
      8) etc”

      That is a possible outcome.

      There are lots of advantages to hiing an attorney to represent and defend you. An Attorney will review all of the evidence and determine if there maybe a defense to the charges, or to the special enhancement of a high BAC level. Was the machine working right that night? Was the operator trained properly on that machine? Was the stop legal? Etc.

      If I had this, I’d tell the prosecutor they need 12 jurors to vote guilty together to win. I need 1 crazy person to vote not guilty to win.

      I’d be trying to negotiate a limitation on the terms of probation (3yrs, no interlock alcohol detection device if possible, lots of time to pay, etc.). And an attorney can go to court for you on a case like this. You dont even have to go at all if you hire an attorney like me.

      Unless there is a defense, and you want a trial. Maybe we can win a jury trial? Maybe the cop pulled you over for running a stop sign, but there was no stop sign there because you were going the wrong way on a one way street at the time (that has actually been a winning defense for us in the past), etc.

      How much would I charge? A lot. No checks, only gold coins from now on. It’s not fun work.

      For Orange County, you should contact out local Orange County Sponsor Attorney, Mark Gallagher. He is very good with these OC DUI cases. And friendly too. ( AttorneyGallagher(at) )

  47. Mandy says:

    I was arrested for a dui in a rental car in April with a court date June 10th that I missed in BH court. I got pulled over before the court date in the valley and was issued a driving w/o a license misdemeanor w/a court date in ventura county that I also missed. I am not a resident of california and my license was out of state. I was given a temporary paper from the police when i got the dui to serve as a temporary license- i was told it would serve as a temp license at the time of arrest until my court date but in fact the paper said it was only valid for 30 days and i hadn’t renewed it. Where do I stand?

  48. Justin says:

    I plead guilty to a DUI back in July of 2010 in MD and got probation before judgement. On March of 2011 I got another DUI charge and hired a lawyer in MD because I feel I was wrongfully charged. In May I appeared for my 1st court date and was scheduled for another date in June. Towards the end of May I was kicked out of the Army with a General Under Honorable Conditions Discharge and sent back to my home state which is Texas. I stated to my lawyer that I was kicked out and the Army was paying to send me back to my home state and that I couldn’t return to MD due to not having the funds. Since I have been in Texas my court date was rescheduled twice with the last date of Sept. 14, 2011 that my attorney showed up for and the judge still issued a bench warrant with bail of $750. I have no way of returning back to Maryland because I have no money.

    I want to turn myself in here in Texas because I don’t want this to get any serious than it already is, but I talked to my lawyer and he is suggesting I ride it out and wait to get picked up for a minor infraction, then they will hold me for 3-4 days until MD decides if the want to extradite me back there. Then he states that he highly doubts they will pay to have me sent back for a DUI charge.

    I’m totally lost as to what I need to do. Please help me!!!

    • Justin,

      This is a good question. Actually a common one.

      I need to say this: the fact that you left the Army has nothing to do with this problem at all. Forget about that part of the story. Why in the world do you think it matters at all?

      Dont feel bad though, because after 10 years of editing I have notices that most people have a really hard time understand what is important in these problems.

      For everyone else out there with this problem:

      1) it does not matter where you work;
      2) it does not matter how many kids you have;
      3) it does not matter why, how or when your grandmother died;
      4) no one cares where you were trying to go;
      5) etc.

      None of those things matter.

      OK- now moving on to the poverty issue. Your question is really this:

      “What should I do if I do not have the money to get to court?”

      Well, the correct answer is to tell you this – you have to go anyway. You should go today, right after you get done at the pawn shop and visiting all your relatives to borrow the money for a train ride out there.

      There is no other option, you have to go.

      Anyone who tell you that the best idea is to ignore it and wait until you get arrested and see what happens is giving you BAD ADVICE. They are just trying to get you off the phone – because they can tell they are not going to get paid.

      You cannot turn yourself in to the police in a different state. That will not work.

      You can wait until you get arrested, but imagine how bad of a day that would be. What if you were on your way to work? What if you were driving your kids to school?

      Poverty is not a defense, legitimate excuse, or anything else that will help you. You have to go, and if you ignore it something very bad will happen to you in the future involving handcuffs.

      But is it possible to hide from a DUI warrant in another state? Maybe. How old are you? People only live to about 78 or so? You might go earlier. Maybe it is possible if you dont want a real job and dont need to travel much. Hopefully you dont want to be a teacher, banker, police officer, real estate agent etc.

      Computers are getting better, not worse. And you are a fugitive from justice. How does that look on a back ground check? Bad.

      If you were my client, I would tell you that you have to get here. No choice. If you cant get here, dont call back.

      Now I also have to say that all of this is based on the assumption that the judge ordered you to be there in person. In many DUI warrant cases that I have handled in my state (CA) I have been able to get DUI warrants recalled without the client going to work. But on a second offense DUI, it is tough. The judge may be planning a jail sentence.

      Since the bail is so low, you may also want to see if you can hire a bail bond company to post bail for you in advance and set a court date – then send an attorney in without you to try to get the case resolved. That may work. But I am not licensed to practice there, and I cannot say for sure.

      OK – I hope this helps. Just do what you have to and get there. Get there tomorrow. Once it is done, you will be very happy if you do it right. Do not wait for them to catch you.

      • Justin says:

        Cool just wanted another opinion.

        I’m not paying to go back up there I already paid for my lawyer he’s gonna straighten this crap.

        Or I’ll just call my Uncle King Virgil Cheek Jr. who knows some people in D.C & Baltimore, maybe he can straighten this crap out for me. Isn’t life grand when you got family :D

  49. Ryan says:

    Hello! I was convicted of my first and only DUI a few years ago. I have been really irresponsible and haven’t paid any of my fines. I have grown up and want to take care of this. What are the steps? Thank you so much!

  50. James Vaipan says:

    Mid october 2010 was when I received a DUI in Fresno, California, I was 20 at the time. I was givin probation, recovery classes, scared stiff, community service and fines. I paid my fines, went to scared stiff and started attending my meetings but couldnt sit through it. I had to reschedule my community service many time and ended up not going afterall. I now have a jail warrant and was told that i was looking at 5 days jail time. Is there a chance i may get more jail time? More fines? If i am givin the chance, can i convince the court to attend a private “rehab” in place of the court ordered facility. I read there is a 50/50 chance in even seeing my terms reinstated, obviously thats worth the chance, I just want to know if paying for help can be worth my money, i have seen some happy people walk out of that courtroom with some help and others who the judge seemed to not like very much.. I would love not to go to jail or see extra probation requirments. What can I do? I dont want to worry about my wife and son and havn’t turned myself in over a month. I dont want anyone more pissed off right now … Thanks you for yout time i think its awesome your taking your time to help others like this. Let me know if there is more info I can give.

  51. O'Neil says:

    my girl friend was arrested and charged with a dwai in denver a year passed and she didnt do her probation terms, she was brought into court given another chance and still did not follow the terms. now they are giving her 90 days of jail time. what is the likely hood that we can have a judge give her another chance. what steps would i need to take to insure that she doesnt do 90 days, what alternatives can we try to sway the judge with and does the fact that she has a son she raises on her own come into to play at all in a courts decision. She has also been unemployed for quite some time and actually just got a job before she was detained

    • O’Neil, there are not enough details here for me to answer in detail, and I am not licensed in CO – but I can tell you this: really the only thing you an do for her is help her hire an attorney. Send me the details, and I’ll try to get you a detailed free attorney case review.

      Unless you have a license to practice law, you cannot speak for someone else in court. And if the judge decides 90 days is a legal and appropriate sentence, there is nothing you can do personally, other than get her professional help.

      There are no magic words that will change a judge’s mind.

  52. letty says:

    hello my husband received a dui on may of this year but did not appeared in court..he got arrested for a g walk and is in jail for a warrent for a dui..what are the chances of him not doing any jail time..and what can be the penalties for not showing up in court

    • Letty, I assume you mean “What are the chances of him not doing MORE jail time” – since he is already in jail.

      Well, if you have a warrant for missing a court date on a DUI case, the best way to avoid jail is to hire an attorney before you get caught to get the warrant recalled and the case back on track. Usually, if you take care of a DUI warrant by hiring an attorney before you get arrested, you can avoid the worst consequences.

      But if you wait until they arrest you, jail time is almost certain. Judges hate it when a person skips court on a criminal charge, does nothing, and then the government has to waste time and resources arresting the person again and bringing them to court by force.

  53. Austin says:

    I missed one too many classes and need to get reinstated what’s the process am I totally screwed? Please email me if you know I’m freaking out!

  54. Jason says:

    Hello. I got a DUI in Arizona a year and a half ago. I am a California resident. I got convicted of the crime in august and was set to pay a fine do 10 days in jail and take classes. I did not complete the classes or jail time In time and paid some of the fine. Becsuse I did not show up to court in januaryfinancial reasons) I had a warrant sent out for my arrest when my lawyer appeared in court for me. Since then I have been financially unstable and have been going through a serious form of depression. I know it’s been 7 months and I have nothing completed. They told me I can take classes here but never gave me the specifics of what classes I can take in California. My lawyer just told me to send my completion letters. I am very scared as I have never been in trouble and dealt with the law. I am a great citizen and in school as well to make something of myself. I u derstand I will be in a great deal of trouble but I would like a lawyer for California that can possibly help me out. It I have a warrant in another state, will employers find out here in california.. I can do some jail time but cant do 30 days(if sentenced) due to school. Where can I get help with this situation? Have you dealt with cases like this one before?

  55. amy says:

    i got pulled over got a dui didnt blow i missed my motion hearing now they are telling me i have to plead guilty or i will wait and in jail for a week and i cant do that i have 3 kids and work two jobs.what do i do

    • Amy, you did not provide any useful information in your question.But I’d say hire an attorney or ask for a public defender if you are broke. That is all the help I can give on these facts.

  56. Richard says:

    I recived a DUI in CA. I’v servied 4 days in jail and have bean going to all my DUI classes. I did miss a court date to re-view and the Judge put out a warrent. 32,000.00K + or -I still need to do service work and pay the fine ( paid some) as set by the court. The warrent dept. said come to I street and check my self into Jail? Warrant was set at $32,000.00 what do I do?

  57. Bettie says:

    Hi, I got a misdemeanor Duii 2 years ago and have been going to the alcohol/drug program for the last 7 months. I was doing good until recently when I got a positive UA for alcohol. My PO sent my case off to the judge. My duii class counselors put me on a wait list for an inpatient treatment center. I’m wondering what I’m looking at so I’m prepared when I go to court.

    This was my first (and only offense).

    Thank You.

  58. Paul says:

    Also I’m a current resident of NY state who came back to FL just to resolve the situation bc they refused to turn over the case to NY. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  59. Paul says:

    Hi, I was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in Lake County Florida 2009 (1st offense). I violated probation due to failing paying fines and completion of classes. I’m working now but don’t have enough for legal representation. If I turn myself in and ask for 1) warrants recalled without paying bail or going to jail; 2) reinstate probation if possible; myself. What are the chances that I will be granted this w/o jail time?

    • Paul, this qualifies as a wacky question too. But I will answer it anyway. But I am going to be really rude to the next wacky question person as punishment for this question.

      1. There is no way to know if you are going to go to jail. How in the world would anyone be able to answer that question? That depends on the judge first, and then the facts of your case, the time since the violation, the bail on the warrant, the fact that you do not live in the state, the mood of the prosecutor, whether or not they have the money to keep you in jail, whether or not you can hire a good attorney who can talk the judge into it (you should not go alone if possible – but go alone if you have to) etc. There are way too many variables.

      You might go to jail. You might not. It is possible. Any time you have a warrant, you might be going to jail.


      But by going in voluntarily, I can tell you, even though I am not licensed there, you are doing the correct thing.

      2. If you do not understand why a case cannot be transfered to NY from FL, you really need to enroll in some sort of class on American government. I can tell you need some work in that area. (I am sure you are not the only one with that question, sooooo . . .)

      Here is the answer why criminal cases cannot be transfered to different states:

      Most crimes are violations of state laws. State laws differ from state to state. Violations of state law are only prosecuted in that state’s courts, with that state’s judges and juries.

      Violations of state laws are not prosecuted in multistate Federal Courts. Violations of Federal law are prosecuted in Federal courts – like drug smuggling – but not state law DUI cases.

      Each state within the United States of America has its own state government, its own state laws, and its own independent courts.

      NY Court have no legal authorization to prosecute violations of Florida law.

      And then technically a criminal case is a prosecution of the PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF (FLORIDA) v. YOU. Do you think the PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA want NY to punish you for them? Actually, that is a stupid question. Nevermind.

      Hope that helps.

  60. Alex Serrano says:

    Hi Christopher I appreciate it for all your help. My only concern would be going to my next court date and making it out without going to jail. I missed the date because the court told me to come on the 3rd. I did but wasn’t on the calendar. They were suppose to change it. I have my orders and the judge scheduled me to show up on the 3rd it’s even on paper. I just don’t want to go to jail right after for not showing up. Thank you Christopher for lending a helping hand.


  61. alex serrano says:

    Thanks I just came to court this morning and got a new court date. I got a warrant notice slip that they filled out and there a bail amount for $20,000. Is that new charges because of not showing up? My second court date was to ask the judge to appoint me a public defender because I cannot affort one. According to revenue recovery I can. Will I get arrested after my second court date if I ask the judge for a PD since I didn’t show up for their court date after it was the courts mistake? And one more isn’t everything said in court recorded somehow? Thank you. I’m just worried because I don’t want this to affect my military career. Also to throw in I have been to Iraq twice two seperate deployments I don’t know if that will help the case as far as getting it lowered to wreckless driving. Thank you so much.

  62. alex serrano says:

    Thank you and isn’t every case recorded some how either audio or court recorder?

  63. Alex Serrano says:

    Thanks. No I’m in California at a special training forward operation base. Im sorry what is FTA? I live in Kern County. So if I return tomorrow I can go to court Wed morning without any problems? Thank you I appreciate it for all your help.


    • Alex, FTA = Failure to appear in court after signing a promise to appear. Yes, just go right away. Do not delay. Just tell the court clerk you want to do whatever you have to in order to get the case back on the court’s calendar.

  64. Alex Serrano says:

    Hi I really need help. I got a DUI around May 1st. My arraignment was May 25. I showed up and asked for a public defender. I was rescheduled for June 10th. This is where the problem was. I am in the military and have training (where I’m at now) June 8-14. I addressed it to the judge and she scheduled me for June 3rd. I showed up June 3rd and I wasn’t on the calendar date. I went to the misdemeanor office and and asked why I wasn’t. They checked and said I was scheduled for June 10. So I told them I addressed it to the judge and have the paper (slip) which showed the date for 8:30AM. So they told me to wait. I was in my uniform (army). I had to leave. The clerk told me to leave my info. I did. They never called. I got orders for my training. I called court on June 10 and the clerk said I was scheduled for June 10 and if i didnt show up I was going to get a bench warrant. All they told me to do is come in and see if I can get another court date. I am really worried but I have paperwork (federal) to show that I am here. What can I do? Thank you.


    • Alex, you probably have a complete defense to any failure to appear charges. But you are either going to have to go to court yourself ASAP, or hire an attorney to do the work for you. Man, I really want to say “I’ll help you for free as a gift to my country” – but I dont help people with DUI problems for free as a general rule – because DUIs kill innocent people. You have to pay me to participate in that sort of mess. OMG. Just had bad de ja vu! I have said these exact words to someone else with exact same problem before! Here is some free help. Go to court immediately when done, and you will be OK as far as teh FTA goes – I think. Ask for a walk in court appearance. Tell the judge what happened. If you are in a county where I work, I’ll take the whole case and do it all for you without having to go to court at all for $3000. I can start tomorrow. But you did not state the court or state the state even. Hopefully this was not in Saudi Arabia. It would be a lot worse there.

  65. Luis lopez says:

    Thanks for the advice, Right after I posted my question I asked one of my friends to let me borrow the money to pay the monthly payment online and I paid it with his credit card online, now that I already paid online and saw your answer I feel like I would like to bother you with the next question: Do I still have to go to court even tho I already pay the monthly fine? Am I still in trouble? It’s my first DUI so I really don’t know what I’m dealing with and I appreciate you taking your time to answer my questions. Thanks for your help

  66. Luis lopez says:

    Im late on my DUI payment fine for only two days, what do I do now? Am I in trouble for being late just two days?.

    • Luis, good question. Here is some real help: Go to Court in person NOW. RIGHT NOW. not tomorrow, not this afternoon, not on your day off, not after ESPN recycles – go now in person to the court clerks office (criminal division) and ask for: 1) a clerk’s extension if possible or 2) a walk in court appearance to ask the judge to edit the terms of probation regarding the deadline to pay.

      Go in person, go now.

      No WAIT!!!! WAIT!!! First collect all of your money. Everything. The change, the $2 bills, all of it. Borrow all the money you can from those around you. Go to the pawn shop and pawn your TV and do whatever is necessary to legally get the money. And do it now. Then go to court now.

      But even if you have zero money. GO to court now.

      OK – That is all I can say on this problem.

      And I bet you already knew what to do.

      Most courts will revoke probation and issue a warrant after a missed fine payment – even if you miss it by 1 day. Paying on time is not optional when a judge tells you to get it done.

  67. Debra says:

    I know you don’t practice in Georgia, but I would like your advice if you would be so kind. My daughter got a dui 1 1/2 years ago and is now going to court on Friday. She was told by her lawyer that if she completed madd and some other programs he would be able to have it dropped to reckless driving. She has most of it done but didn’t do the MADD and does not have the 1,000 dollars for the fine the lawyer said she would have to pay. Her lawyer called her today telling her she had to finish paying him too. He let her make payments but she became ill and has not been able to finish paying the 5,000 dollars he charges. She has payed him 3,500 so far. She has no job or car. She is 24 and I can not give her any more money. Can he drop her as a client and what happens to the money that she already payed him? She hadn’t gone to court yet so will the original deal just fall apart? Should she try to make another payment plan with her lawyer and what about the money she will owe to the court?

    • Dedra, I am sorry this is happening to your daughter. Please forgive me if this sounds rude, but I will try to provide some useful info. Your daughter has been charged (and apparently convicted) of a crime. She is a criminal. (I know that does not sound good, but a DUI is a Crime). She has been sentenced by the judge to pay a fine (probably as a term of probation). This fine is not optional in any way. She must pay, even if she has to take everything she owns to the pawnshop. SHe has to pay the court before she pays her rent, her electric bill and before she buys food for her cats. There are no options. She must pay the court on time. If she fails to pay the fine, all sorts of bad things will happen. In CA, it would be an arrest warrant, revocation of probation, and a new charge of violating probation. It would become a $10,000 jail problem instantly. So, there are no options. She must pay the court.

      As for the Attorney, this is a classic case why I refuse to work for people charged with crimes who cannot pay in full in advance. If the client doesn’t pay, there is not much you can do without hurting your client. When a client fails to pay me on time (doesnt happen anymore because I got smart!) – I would immediately tell the client I quit, and that she needs a new Attorney. I would stop all work, and go to court and tell the judge that I have a conflict of interest that prevents me from doing my job correctly.

      An angry unpaid lawyer can hurt your case just by doing nothing. Failing to pay your attorney on time is a really, really bad problem because that is the person you have hired to help you! No one else is going to help you. The bailiffs are not going to help you, the judge is not going to help you, the court clerks are not going to help you, and the DMV is certainly not going to help you. SO you need the attorney on your side, not pissed off.

      So, unfortunately, this is not a good situation. My advice to her: 1) the court fine is the #1 priority; 2) borrow all you can and sell what you need to to stay out of jail; 3) show up on time for every court appearance even if your lawyer is going to tell the court you are not complying with the fee agreement.

      You have to go. If you cannot pay at all no matter what, go to court anyway and face it head on. Don’t miss any court dates no matter what.

      If there are no more court dates scheduled – and you cannot pay the fine – go to court in person prior to the deadline and ask the court clerk for a walk in court appearance so you can tell the judge you cannot pay.

      OK – wish I had better news.

  68. Carlos says:

    I got I DUI on dec 10 /2010 and was sentenced on march in South Dakota; then I moved to Florida and I can get my DL back after buying a SR-22 (non owner policy). They suspended my 5 day jail sentence on condition that I complete a drug/alcohol evaluation; the problem is I just went to the evaluation today and the counselor wants me to go every week, go to AA, go to church (and submit proof of attendance of these) and also call every day from 8am to 4pm and go to her office if I’m randomly appointed for drug tests. I just got a very hard job (dishwasher) and have to get a ride to get there and back. The counseling is even farther (30 mns); I can’t comply with that program (which is 4 months) because of my limitations, the time and especially the distance to get there. My attorney from SD said the warrant would be issued (after may/31) but doubts the county would go through the hassle of extradition, but if I go to south dakota at all I can get arrested. I’m on political asylum. What should I do? Should I live it like that? I feel like it would be easier to go to jail for the 5 days than the burden the counselor lady is imposing on me, knowing my limitations.

    • Carlos, I am not licensed to practice in that area. But I can tell you this: If they are requiring you to go to church, that is 100%, without question, illegal. You can probably ask the judge to adjust the terms of your probation. Judges usually have the power to change probation at any time. But you have to get into court to do it. Contact a local attorney and or the court clerks office.

  69. k says:

    I missed my court date because I didn’t know when was it. How do I find out about when is my court date again? Or who am I suppose to call?

    • K, good question. Your court date is always listed at the bottom of the citation RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR SIGNATURE!!!!!! I hate telling people that over and over and over. Call the court clerk at the court where the ticket was issued. In CA, this would be the county superior court traffic division for the county where the citation was issued. And you only get one scheduled court date. There is no second date scheduled after you miss a court date.

  70. David & Brandi says:

    I went to my arraignment for a DUI I got in 2009. I completed my classes and AA meetings and they are all paid for, but I was unable to pay for my DUI fine assigned by the court due to various financial hardships. My wife was unemployed from July 2009 until March 2010, due to pregnancy complications, she had our son and was then on maternity leave. I was attending school in 2010, I am a permanent resident so we had all that paperwork to pay for, etc. I knew that I was supposed to pay the fine by a certain date, but was unaware that I was to go to court on that day. My wife and I waited for a certain notification in the mail stating when my court date would be, when it did not come after some time, I decided to call the court and was told that there was a warrant out for my arrest for $100,000. I plan to turn myself in and ask for some sort of payment arrangement to pay off the $1850 fine. Any advice??? I am afraid they will put me in jail. If they do that I will be unable to work to pay other bills and take care of my son and wife. Any suggestions? I can not afford to hire a lawyer. Thank you very much in advance.

    • David & Brandi, this is actually a very common question I have answered a hundred times, but you actually added more detail, so I dont mind trying to give a detailed answer. I will assume this is a CA case and I will pretend it is in . . . hun . . .well, my favorite court is Ventura . . . . the worst court is Compton, no Oakland, no its gotta be Solano, they’re all slightly different. Let me think about this. You are probably in LA. OK – that is what I will assume. Here is what is going on: The fine payment was a term of your first offender probation, as were the classes, and the sheriff’s work program or community service. The judge sentenced you to probation in lace of a jail sentence, which was suspended. This means that if you screw probation up – the jail sentence reappears. If you failed to comply with any term of probation, including the fine, the court will: 1) REVOKE PROBATION COMPLETELY; 2) ISSUE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST with a bail setting that can vary greatly based upon how angry the judge is, and on the judge’s religious beliefs, and the possibility that they know someone who was injured by a DUI driver; and then 3) the District Attorney can start a new criminal charge separately called a “Probation Violation”. So, this means . . . . . . . .You cannot just pay the fine any more. It;s over. Probation is gone. The fine was part of probation. The fine was an optional way to avoid jail. You chose the jail route (in the court’s eyes). Now the court is free to re sentence you once you show back up. And they know that you will show up eventually. The only question is how? Do you show up in an orange suit and chains? Do they have you appear in court by Skype because you are in an intensive care unit because you tried to run from the LAPD and crashed into the La Brea Tar Pits? Or . . . do you show up voluntarily by: 1) sending in a private attorney alone to beg for recall of the warrant and an arraignment on the probation violation without payment of bail or going to jail; or 2) by going in with your Attorney voluntarily to do the same. Once in court, the priorities are: 1) get the warrant recalled; 2) get probation reinstated if possible; and 3) avoid a conviction on a probation violation if possible to protect your right to have this expunged later. And to protect you from future jail on the PV (which can come independently of the original DUI charge. A public defender will not help you get the case back on the court’s schedule until after you are arrested and apply for their services in open court. If you try to do this without an attorney, most courts will tell you to go to the Sheriff’s Department first. The Sheriff’s have the option of keeping you until you can post bail or until your Arraignment on the PV. Being poor is not a defense. The court is going to treat you like you had a choice from the beginning: go to jail or accept and comply with probation. The correct thing to do if you could not pay would be go to the court and ask for a amendment to the terms of probation prior to the fine due date. So you have no defense at all. You need a talented and persuasive attorney who has done this a hundred times. Someone who has a strategy that has proven to work in these cases when possible. But it will not be free or cheap. The best actor makes the most money – but the best actor knows his lines. A bail set at $100,000 seems very high for a first offense, but if this judge had a friend killed by a DUI driver, not that strange. Some judges cant wait to put the hammer down in these situations. Worst Case scenario = 1 yr jail and loss of $10,000 down payment to bail bond company. Best case scenerio = you pay me $1800, I go to court for you within a few days, and we get probation reinstated on the same terms and conditions as originally set. I cant do it for every case, but I sure do it alot. 2008 warrant? First probation violation? I’ve seen worse. OK – that’s it. I will never have to answer that question again. Save, back up, tweet it all around the world please.

  71. jessica says:

    I was sites for a DUI in butte county, CA ( not my home) just 3 days before recieving yet a second DUI in my home town Sacramento county. My sac. County court date was before butte even though I received my first DUI in butte. I attended the Sacramento county court date. Unfortunately I mistaken the date for the 26th of April, when i promised to appear on the 22nd. A warrant was issued and being that its a county approximately 2 hours away, not to mention after two DUI I not only can not drive, but I no longer have a vehicle to provide as transportation for a willing escort.I called butte county this morning to inform them that I was having a difficult time finding a way to their court facilities. She informed me that I had the option to turn myself in in Sacramento and generally a new court date is issued. I’m worried that because it is a second offense they may take me and keep me in custody. Please advise me. I’m extremely anxious

    • Jessica – you’re in a lot of trouble here. You are going to get hammered if you do not do this correctly. You are going to have to appear in court – somehow – even if you have to ride a bike. You should hire an experienced attorney today to handle both cases. The attorney can go to court for you immediately and try to get the warrant recalled, without you having to go to jail immediately, or pay bail.

      A second dui conviction will bring minimum jail time – and if you have a failure to appear charge and a warrant at the same time, you are in trouble that you are not going to be able to get out of alone. I would charge a flat fee of . . . .man, I usually dont publish prices, but this is a big problem that I can really help with quickly. I would charge a flat fee of . . . . 2 DUIs back to back? . . . .I would charge a flat fee of . . . . Warrant?. . . . There is probably also a driving on a suspended license charge in there somewhere (Vehicle Code section 14601.2) . . . .I would charge a flat fee of . . . . .Oh man, I have going to have to tell you that you are going to have to do some jail time, ugh. … . . . .I would charge a flat fee of . . . . .2 Different Counties? . . .. . . . I would charge a flat fee of $8,500 so long as no trial was required. Ouch! I know that hurts, but this is a monster problem. Maybe the biggest problem of your life. If you cannot hire a private attorney, you need to go to the court with the warrant tomorrow at 8 am and request a walkin court appearance. Once there, ask the judge to allow you to apply for the public defender’s services. If you want me to do the work, I am ready. I try to make it easy for you to hire me. cdort(at)

  72. Marco Ibanez says:

    i was caught with a DUI in november 2009, after appearing in court and got my fines i never followed up on it. how can i take care of it now?

  73. Franz says:

    What happens when a court date is issued to the defendant, but the defendant had left the country back home to his country of origin as his Visa Status had expired?

    • Franz, if it was a criminal case (misdemeanor or felony), the court will usually issue an arrest warrant after a defendant fails to appear in court. Once a warrant is issued, and you leave the US, the odds of you getting back into the US without being arrested at the border are pretty much zero. 9-11 changed everything. If you cannot appear in court because your visa expires – the correct thing to do is to hire a licensed attorney to go to court for you. You cannot just ignore it. Unless you never want to come back. And aside from that – I have actually been told by the appeal and supreme courts to tell clients the following: “You should assume that if you are not a US Citizen, conviction of a misdemeanor or felony crime will result in denial of citizenship and denial of permanent residency or entry into the US.” If you are not a US Citizen, and you are charged with a crime, you really, really have to do everything right to even have a chance of being welcome in the US again. You cannot just leave with a case pending. You have to hire an attorney before you leave. There are no other options

  74. Gene says:

    Hi, I was convicted of a first-time DUI misdemeanor when I was underage (20, back in 2000). I was penalized with a fine (which was partially paid for by a mandatory deduction from my part-time wages.. how much is remaining I have no clue) and mandatory driving education, which I started but was unable to complete.

    In 2002, I left the country and made no attempt to pay the fine or complete the DUI education.

    It is now 2011, more than ten years after that offense, and I am wondering whether a warrant for my probation violation is still active whether there is a statute for limitations in cases like mine. I would appreciate your advice.

    • Gene, Great! A question from a person who is not in denial. Refreshing. Ahh.

      I’ll just assume this is in California. Probably the same everywhere, but I am a CA Attorney.

      If you fail to pay the fine which was ordered as a term of probation, the court will issue a warrant, set a new bail, and revoke probation. Then, after all of that, the prosecutor may charge you with a separate probation violation – which is an independent crime.

      Same thing happens if you fail to complete any term of DUI probation.

      They do arrest people at the airport nowadays.

      Judges hate it when you do not comply with their probation orders. But there is hope if it is handled well. Many people get a second chance. You need an attorney to go in and ask for: 1) warrants recalled without paying bail or going to jail; 2) reinstate probation if possible; 3) get you out of trouble. Hire me if you are in CA.

      Oh yea – one more thing. The judge is free to re-sentence you to jail without further notice.

      There is no “Statute of Limitations” problem with an arrest warrant. The “Statute of Limitations” is a deadline to file charges (you’ve already been convicted) and NOT A DEADLINE TO CATCH YOU.

  75. Wil says:

    I was convicted of a wet reckless and was ordered DUI school and MADD panel as terms of my probation. I’m almost done with DUI school but completely forgot about the MADD panel until now, when I found out I have a bench warrant for my arrest. What course of action should I take?

    • Wil, I have answered this question so many times, that from now on I have just decided to tell people with DUI warrant questions this: Just hire me. I make it super easy for you. For most of my DUI warrant problem clients – THEY NEVER HAVE TO GO TO COURT AT ALL. And for those who do have to go – MOST ARE IN AND OUT IN MINUTES – NOT HOURS. Almost zero of my DUI warrant clients in the last few years (10 or more) have actually gone to do jail time. A few have, but very few. Most just get my report by email and smile.

      BUT. But you have to pay me to go deal with the stress and crap for you. You have to pay me for my knowledge and quick thinking, you have to pay me to drive to court, you have to pay me to wear those stupid ties, and you have to pay me to waste the court’s time, the prosecutor’s resources and to fight for your rights if they give me a hard time. And I do not accept payment plans anymore.

      Happily, I can report it is cheap to send me, considering all of the difficulties you face alone. And I go fast, and make it easy for you.

      I usually charge about $1800 for a probation violation DUI warrant like yours – and $3500 for a failure to appear at an arraignment if there is not trial required.

      But my prices change depending on every case, every fact patter and every client.

      Contact me at cdort(at)

  76. Claudai says:

    My girlfriend was suppose to do 120 days on weekend work didnt do it the first time, the judge reinstated let her try to do again, she failed again, now she has a 105,000 warrant for probation violation, why is the warant double then originally…..and probation will expire in march 2011….what will happen to her in this case

    • Claudai, When a person fails to comly with a court ordered term of probation in CA, probation gets revoked completely. Game over. You blew your chance. Some people get a second chance. But not a third chance normally. So, based on what you reported, sounds like probation is gone. No need to remember when it was supposed to expire, because its not going to expire any more.

      Once probation is revoked, the judge is free to start over and re-sentence the person.

      Your girlfriend needs an attorney badly. She is facing real jail time. Once you piss off a judge 3 times, and refuse to obey probation orders, the hammer is coming down.

      You did not report what kind of crime she was convicted off. So how in the world can I tell you what is going to happen? You didnt even tell me what state you are talking about. Didnt think about that did you?

      Im only being rude because I am sick of people sending me long stories where 99% of what they say is totally irrelevant, and they completely fail to put in the real important facts (like what state you are talking about, or what crime).

      But I will try to help and I will guess what her crime was. Ummmm. Murder. Yep. Murder.

      OK if she was on probation for murder, and she failed to complete the Sheriff’s Work program 2x – she is going to prison for several years.

      Maybe it was a 1st offense DUI? If that is the case, I would tell a person in this situation to expect 30 days in jail if everything goes their way.

      If the police catch her first, even a DUI problem can bring 1 year in county jail.

      Get an attorney.

      Oh yea, you had a question. Why is the bail so high? Answer: Because the judge wants her to go to jail and he wants to make sure she does not get out before he sees her in the court room.

  77. Michelle D. says:

    I have a brother who is currently in Indiana jail on a DUI and has a hold for another county. Is it possible for the judge to still sentence for DOC? Even though there are pending charges in this other county for violation of probation and failure to appears on a DUI also? And is it possible to get a court date for the county that has the hold on him? He currently doesn’t have one and the attorney he has been appointed (public defender)is not stepping up. Need serious help

  78. Stacey says:

    So awhile ago I got a DUI in my friends car and missed my court date… My friend just recently called and stated that he got pulled over because the police were looking for me…

    He says that there’s a high warrant for my arrest out…

    My question is, how can I come about getting this cleared warrant clearaed? Do I just show up to court?

    And would I be arrested on the spot?

    • Stacey, This is a great question.

      Your friend is full of shit.

      Is she trying to convince you that because you were stopped in her car, the police have forever marked her car as one to pull over?

      Hum… let me think…. Yup. Your friend is full of shit.

      The police cannot pull over a vehicle legally unless they observe a vehicle code violation or a crime. Police in the US are not allowed to make assumptions about the person who is driving a car. If you were actually driving that car and got pulled over based upon a warrant for a non owner of the car, Im pretty sure a Penal Code 1538.5 type motion would have won your case.

      Do not accept information about a warrant from your friends. Do not accept information about a warrant from your neighbors, and not from Santa Claus.

      Call or visit the court clerk for the courthouse where your case is to get info on how to get the case on calendar for a warrant recall hearing. Better yet, hire an Attorney to do it right.

      If you have a warrant for a failure to appear on a DUI, and you ignore it, you will be arrested eventually.

      My advice? Hire an attorney now. Today. Do not wait another day. If I had a warrant, it would be the #1 priority in my life. I would pay an attorney to defend me or take care of the warrant before I paid rent, before I made my car payment, before I bought new underwear, and before I paid my weed dealer (if I needed one anymore). Get it? If you are asking me about a rumor from your friend about the DUI you skipped out on, you are not on top of the problem and bad things are coming. Tic Tock . . . .

  79. Jorge says:

    I got a DUI back in 2006 I went to court and went to school but I did not finish nor did I finish paying the ticket because I lost my job and had to moved. And I looking at a big problem requesting reinstated as before for school since I haven’t got in any problem since my DUI. I be graduating from JC this may and need to take care of it.



    • Jorge, Your question makes no sense. But I am going to make a good faith effort to answer your question for free to prove that we are trying to provide a real free service here.

      1. DUIs are not “Tickets”. They are criminal cases. They do produce “fines”, like a ticket – but it is a criminal case.
      2. Loss of a job is not a defense to anything;
      3. The right way to solve a DUI probation problem is to go to court and tell the court you are there to take care of it correctly.

      TO maximize your chances of getting the court to reinstate probation after you fail to complete classes or pay a fine –

      1) get to court ASAP;
      2) ask judge to reinstate your probation;
      3) ask judge to recall warrant without you having to pay bail or go to jail;
      4) ask judge for more time to complete terms of probation;
      5) tell judge you are 100% committed to doing it right

      If you do not want to go to court, or want an experienced professional to do the work and talking for you, hire an attorney like me. For a typical DUI warrant problem for failure to complete classes, I would charge a fee of about $1800 plus or minus, depending on the facts, age of the case, and the courthouse. Some courts are more difficult than others. Some Clients are more difficult than others. Some judges are more difficult than others.

      Hope that helps.

      If you think I have provided some helpful free info, please give me a good review on my Google Local Listing page.

      I wish you luck.

  80. Derek says:

    My buddy got a DUI last year in CA, shortly (a few days) after he deployed to afghanistan, he just now (after 7 month deployment) took in his orders for the deployment. He earned a purple heart, a combat action ribbon, afghan and nato ribbon over seas…..what kind of penalty/ jail tine is he looking at?

    • Derek, the correct thing to do if you are charged with a crime and must leave the country due to military service is to hire an attorney to show up in court for you and ask for a continuance until you return. Every judge would grant that request if it were based on active military duty (assuming its a first offense DUI – more serious crimes may result in immediate jail or prison, regardless of your military status). So, your buddy did not take care of business correctly. Military service is an excuse, not a defense. He should have sucked it up, realized DUIs are very expensive, and hired an attorney to do it right.

      Being a combat veteran, even a decorated one, is not a defense to a failure to appear in court to face criminal charges.

      I would expect he is facing the same penalty anyone in the same situation would face. Technically, max penalty is 1 yr for the DUI charge, and 1 year for the failure to appear in court for Arraignment.

      But, if he does this correctly – he may get lucky and suffer no extra consequences for the failure to appear. He needs to hire an attorney to start working on it today. Everyday that goes by makes it harder to get a good result. If he waits until he gets arrested on day, it is really, really, going to be a bad experience.

      If it is a Nor Cal case, he should send me the details via email cdort(at) It may be a problem I can solve in a few days. In the last 13 years – I have resolved hundreds of DUI warrant cases, and very, very, very, few of my clients end up doing real jail time.

      Dont wait. Start now.

  81. phillip says:

    i was convicted of a DUI charge in california 3 years ago. Ive been to the 1st few court dates but between the process i had plans to go study out of the country so ive left the case for 2 years. Now im back i have a warrant. what can i do?

    • Phillip,

      I think you may be confusing “charged” with a DUI and the term “Convicted”.

      Convicted means it is over. No more court, just (probably) classes, sheriff’s work program, etc.

      “Charged” is the beginning of a criminal case.

      Nonetheless, if you have a warrant for a DUI case, you need to get into court and resolve the problem. Court appearances are almost certainly mandatory. And with all warrants, jail time is a real possibility.

      You should get a free attorney case review. An Attorney can help a lot in a warrant case, because they can usually get the case into a courtroom before you have to go to jail, which is a big advantage compared to waiting until they arrest you.

      And do not wait! Everyday that a warrant is pending makes it harder to get a good result.

      Send me your contact info and the location of the problem to

  82. phillip says:

    i was convicted of a DUI 3 years (19, now 22) ago in california, i already spent my 24 hrs in jail, pleaded guilty in front of my judge and had my license suspended. the problem is, between the process i had to go out of town to continue my studies (so i left the case undone for 2 years). now im back, and i dont know if i should hire an attorney or just show up to the courts?

  83. shane says:

    Had two warrants for my two concurrent DUI’s for almost a year before I took care of them. Its now 3 months later and I have received papers saying I have them once more. I have not done my classes nor paid a fine payment. Due to the fact I have no job, no income whatsoever. What’s the outlook seem like for me? My brother said he would get a lawyer for me again but how will that look to the judge, paying a lawyer but neglecting my fines and classes, claiming poverty. And is there any pro-bono lawyers out there that would be willing to help me out.

    • Shane, first off, you should not worry at all about what the judge thinks of you having legal help. Believe it or not, the court wants you to have private legal help, because it means that they do not have to appoint a public defender at the county’s expense. And it means the case will go through the system the right way.

      If you have not completed the DUI classes, or paid the fines, you have committed probation violations. You probably have 2 probation cases at once.

      Once probation is violated, the court will revoke it, and it free to resentence you on the DUIs.

      The best option is to hire an attorney to get the case on the court’s calendar, and then to make a request to reinstate probation.

      In a County like Santa Clara, Sacramento, Ventura, etc, I can do this work within 3-5 days and I charge about $1800, depending on complications. Some courts are harder than others.

      I have done hundreds of these (as I call them) “DUI Probation Warrant cases” in the last 12 years, and it is very rare for a DUI probation warrant person to go to jail if they deal with the warrant voluntarily – the right way. But you have 2 dui convictions, and you did not do things right. And that is 2x as bad as 1. Whatever, it does not matter. You still need to do it right. Let me know what county it is. I’ll give you a quote. Its easy to hire me. A case like this should be closed out in less than 10 days. C. Dort dort(at)

    • Shane,

      First off, you should not worry at all about what the judge thinks of you having legal help. Believe it or not, the court wants you to have private legal help, because it means that they do not have to appoint a public defender at the county’s expense. And it means the case will go through the system the right way.

      If you have not completed the DUI classes, or paid the fines, you have committed probation violations. You probably have 2 probation cases at once.

      Once probation is violated, the court will revoke it, and it free to re-sentence you on the DUIs.

      The best option is to hire an attorney to get the case on the court’s calendar, and then to make a request to reinstate probation.

      In a County like Santa Clara, Sacramento, Ventura, etc, I can do this work within 3-5 days and I charge about $1800, depending on complications. Some courts are harder than others.

      I have done hundreds of these (as I call them) “DUI Probation Warrant cases” in the last 12 years, and it is very rare for a DUI probation warrant person to go to jail if they deal with the warrant voluntarily – the right way. But you have 2 dui convictions, and you did not do things right. And that is 2x as bad as 1. Whatever, it does not matter. You still need to do it right. Let me know what county it is. I’ll give you a quote. Its easy to hire me. A case like this should be closed out in less than 10 days. C. Dort dort(at)

      There are no attorneys who want to help a 2x DUI offender with a probation violation warrant and no job for free. Come on! But you may qualify for the Public Defender if you are totally broke. You can ask the judge for time to hire an attorney if you can get the cse on calendar in court on your own.

  84. Tabitha M says:

    Am I going to jail tomorrow? I have missed my court date for my 2nd DUI, and I have a bench warrent out for my arrest. What will the judge have to say?

    • Tabitha,

      I assume this is CA. Jail time is a mandatory sentence in California for a second offense DUI (Vehicle Code section 23152). If you also missed a court date, they have added a new crime to your charges, a violation of VC 40508(a), which has a possible sentence of 6 months in jail. If there is also a warrant . . . . I’d say, things dont look so good for your chances of staying out of jail. But as for tomorrow?? Je ne sais pas.

  85. stacey says:

    I got arrested and a 2nd dui was pending. In the mean time I was attending my first offenders program. Before that I was sent to courts for too many missed days because I couldn’t get time off work. I got the chance to resign up. After that I resigned up and was taking classes. My 2nd dui was pending and they had a plea bargain of home detention and 2nd offenders program. My attorney AND dui class teacher said there was no point in paying for a first offenders if I’m getting a second. In the meantime they issued a SECOND court date and I come to find out I don’t have to complete 2nd offenders just a 1st. What happens after you get sent to court a second time for missed classes?

    • Contact our LA Sponsor Attorney Richard Grant as He probably can clear up your LA cases quickly. I have no idea why you discussed your wife’s issue – totally irrelevant. focus on the cases and what you have to do.

    • Each time a court ordered class or program is not completed on time, it is a probation violation. For any violation, even the first, the court can revoke probation and impose a jail term instead of probation. Most people only get one chance at probation.

  86. Dui Classes says:

    That’s crazy…they really dont go easy when it comes to dui…

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