Does Having a Misdemeanor Warrant Mean You Must Go to Jail? Maybe Not.

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You might be surprised to discover that misdemeanor criminal warrants are really common. Millions of people have a warrant problem. Another surprising fact? Most people who have warrants and take the right action don’t have to go to jail.

Courts issue warrants to force people into court after they miss a court date, fail to pay a fine or fail to complete a court ordered program or class.

Miss a court date on a misdemeanor DUI? You probably have an outstanding warrant. Fail to show up for that probation drug test? You probably have an outstanding warrant.

But wait! Deadlines can be reset by a judge, drug tests rescheduled, and fines paid without jail time for many people with warrant problems.

What does that really mean? In this context, a warrant means the court wants you in court to solve some problem in a case. It means there is a danger of sudden arrest, and technically, it means you are a fugitive from justice.

Worse yet, warrant records are generally available free to the public, and often available on the court’s web sites for employers to search. Because of this, a warrant can have a seriously bad effect on a career or job opportunity.

Having a warrant outstanding means the court wants to see you. It also means the police or law enforcement can arrest you at any time, and force you to appear in court.

Having a warrant does not mean a person is going to jail for sure.

In fact, in the vast majority of misdemeanor warrant problems, ig a defendant takes the right voluntary action, they can avoid arrest and jail. THey may even be able to schedule their own court date to work around a work schedule. The secret to this kind of good result is taking voluntary action.

It’s the people who do not take voluntary action, and who wait for the police to pull them over, that are most likely to do jail time on a misdemeanor warrant and to suffer the worst consequences.

What kind of voluntary action?

In most misdemeanor warrant cases, the courts do not actually want to jail a defendant. They want to solve a problem in a case that requires the defendant’s presence. Maybe it is a drug test that must be done, maybe it is a fine that must be paid? Whatever.

The court would rather solve the problem that caused the warrant problem than jail a person, most of the time. And the courts don’t have the money to put everyone with a warrant in jail. It is impossible! Help them keep you out of jail, and you may find success.

Defendants who are most likely to avoid jail om a warrant problem are the ones who get their cases back on the court’s calendar, ask the judge to recall the warrant, and who offer the court a way to solve the problem, voluntarily.

What if you live out of state? In most misdemeanor warrant cases, but not all, an attorney that you hire can appear in court for you and ask the court to recall a warrant without jail time. So if you cannot appear in court on your own, or want to avoid it if possible to solve your warrant problem, hire an attorney

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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.
This entry was posted in Misdemeanor, Probation Violations, Warrant Information, Warrant Searches and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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