If you have a pending bench warrant in Los Angeles for a missed court date or other missed deadline on a misdemeanor case, you are in danger of sudden unexpected arrest. To end this danger, you need to get the warrant recalled by the court. By taking voluntary action, you can avoid the worst consequences. Here are some tips to help you get that done.
1. Get The Case Details from the Court.
To do anything on a criminal case, you have to get the details. You need the case #, the charges, the bail amount on the warrant and the address of the courthouse. This info is probably on your court paperwork, but my experience has show it is better to just start from scratch by contacting the court for the info you need. Forget about searching your closet for lost papers.
There are many different courthouses in Los Angeles, and you must deal with the case in the courthouse it is assigned to. But you can get the case info from any of the courthouses. Unfortunately for you, this is sometimes difficult in the LA Superior Court because they are more than 10 years behind other CA courts in providing on line access to criminal case details.
In LA courts, there is no on line access to criminal case info at all, so you have to call a real court clerk to get the details of a criminal division case.
|The good news is that you can call any LA courthouse criminal clerk to get case info.
We have found that the best courthouse to call to get LA Criminal Court Case Details is the Airport Courthouse.
If you are having a hard time getting through to a court clerk on the phone, try a different courthouse to get your info. Use this List of LA Criminal Courthouses.
Attorney Case Reviews by:
Defense Attorney Mark Gallagher
2. Get a Free Attorney Case Review and Quote to Learn About the Problem.
In most misdemeanor warrant cases, an Attorney can do nearly all of the hard court work for the defendant. Even if you think there is no way you can afford an Attorney to help you deal with a warrant case, there is no hard in getting a review and quote. You may be able to arrange a payment plan with the attorney, and even if there is no way you can afford help, you can learn a lot about the problem. And you may be very surprised at how fast the problem can be solved.
3. Find Out What the Procedure is for Getting the Case on the Court’s Calendar at that Courthouse.
Even within the county of Los Angeles, each courthouse has a different procedure for getting a warrant case set on the court’s calendar. If you cannot hire a Defense Attorney to do the work for you, you are going to have to figure out how it will work for your case.
In some courthouses, you may have to get there at 8 am and request a walkin hearing on the warrant. In other courthouses, you may have to schedule the date in advance. And in others, you may have to get permission from the judge to add a warrant case to a court calendar before you get arrested.
To find out what out what procedure is used for getting warrant cases on calendar in the courthouse where your case is pending, you must either visit the courthouse or call to ask the court clerk in person at that specific courthouse.
4. Once in Court, Convince the Judge You Understand the Warrant Is a Serious Problem, and Request OR Release & Recall of Warrant.
Some people with warrants will have to do jail time no matter what they do. But in the vast majority of misdemeanor warrant cases, the problem can be solved without arrest if the Defendant takes the right action. To avoid jail on a warrant, a Defendant must get the judge to recall the warrant. The best way to do this is to convince the judge that you understand the problem, the judge’s power to send a defendant to jail, and that you understand you need to take care of the problem correctly.
If the judge is convinced, he/she is more likely to recall the warrant without payment of bail, or actual jail time. The judge has the power to recall a misdemeanor warrant, release a defendant on his/her “Own Recognizance” (OR), and set the case back on it’s regular track.
To get the judge to recall a warrant and release the defendant “OR”, most Attorneys would use a request such as:
“The Defendant realizes this is a serious problem that can result in jail time. He/she is here to take care of it completely, and correctly. We request that the court recall the warrant, release the defendant on his/her own recognizance, and reset the case back on its normal track.”
Keep in mind the Judge is going to want a way to reslve the case and its warrant problem completely without wasting court resources. Help the judge do that, and your chances of success rise greatly. Have a plan, and give it to the judge.
If the warrant was issued because of a missed deadline to pay a fine, or complete a class, etc, it is best if the Defendant can give the judge details and specifics on when the Defendant can get into compliance with teh court’s prior orders. If the warrant was issued for a failure to pay a fine, the judge will want to know exactly when the Defendant will pay if the warrant is recalled.
Of course, it is best if the Defendant can say: “I am able and ready to do it today.”
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