Tag Archives: Warrants

Running for 20 years. Client can finally stop and breathe.

Nearly 20 years ago, my client fled los angeles after finding out he had a felony warrant for his arrest.  He was young and foolish and had gotten himself into some bad company and some serious trouble.  His warrant was for the sale of narcotics and could have landed him some serious prison time.   So he ran.    He ran far away and started a new life. 

He changed his ways.  Got an education and a career.  Raised a family and became a productive member of society and his community.   But all along, in the back of his mind, he knew that he was still running and a  brush with the law would devastate his life and take it all away.   He  was wrong for getting caught up in the crime and also for running away but he couldnt run anymore.

He contacted my office to help him with this 20 year old felony warrant.  And just so you know, the people that tell you that warrants just get wiped out automatically after some years are lying to you.   I made some calls and the warrant was active and in the systems.  My client wanted to resolve all of this and knew there was a likelihood that he would go directly to jail and stay there. 

We were able to secure a bail for his warrant and posted it and then came the day in court.   Our client had flown in expecting to go into jail and full of jittery nerves but still willing to take responsibility for the actions.

Fortunately we were able to have his felony case dismissed entirely on that court date.  He flew back to his life and family and finally had a chance to stop and breathe as he is no longer running from the law.    I wish him the best of luck.

Best Regards,

Anthony A. Arzili

Bench Warrants (Question & Answer)

What is a Bench Warrant? 

Basically, it is a warrant for your arrest issued by the “Bench” which means the Judge.  Criminal Bench Warrants are issued when a defendant fails to appear in court or violates his probation.  If you have a court date and you are either late or do not appear, you can rest assured that you will have a bench warrant issued against you.

 When does the Bench Warrant go into effect?

In most cases, it takes a day to get the warrant into the system and have it active.  Some courts will take longer than other and felonies and misdemeanors also differ on how quickly they are put into effect. 

Will the police come looking for me right away?

For most misdemeanor charges, the answer is probably not.  Most misdemeanor warrants will go into the system and will wait for you to get pulled over or have police contact and the warrant pop up.   Although I have seen on occassion, police officers picking up a defendant immediately after a warrant was issued.   On felony matters, the likelihood of being arrested soon after the warrant is much higher.  Some of it depends on the seriousness of the charges and whether they believe you pose a threat to the community. 

What happens if i am arrested on the bench warrant?

If you have an active warrant, you will be held in custody until you are taken to court.   Once you are in front of the judge, you will face additional jail time/fines and/or other criminal sanctions.

Should I walk in and handle my warrant on my own?

If you like living dangerously, then this would be a good idea.  It is much more advisable to have an experienced criminal defense attorney explain your situation to the Judge and Prosecutor.  I’ve handled hundreds of bench warrant recalls and know what is a legitimate strategy for staying out of custody and what is not.   While in court, sometimes i’ll watch a poor soul attempting to talk his way out of being taken into custody.  Judges have heard all the excuses and lies, don’t think you can sweet talk your way out of the situation.  You are only making the Judge more upset by insulting his/her intelligence.

What can an attorney do to help with a Bench Warrant Recall?

What we customarily do with Bench Warrants, is to first research the case.  Interview the client and see what the situation is and are there any mitigating circumstances for the warrant (family illness/death, loss of job, etc.) Then we pull the file and read through what the case is about and what needs to be done.  Armed with this information, we calendar the case up to a courtroom and speak with the Judge.  Our priority is to keep our client out of custody. 

I am afraid to be taken into custody.

There is always a risk that you will be taken into custody when you attempt to recall a warrant.  But the risk is lessened considerably if you hire an attorney to handle your matter.  Furthermore, when you voluntarily handle the matter (rather than being picked up on the warrant) the chances  for you staying out get even better. 

As a final word from Criminal Defense Attorney Anthony Arzili, if you have a bench warrant keep the following in mind.   The sooner you deal with the warrant the better.  Its almost always better to get legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney than to go it alone.  Finally, its always better to voluntarily handle the warrant then to be escorted to see the Judge in cuffs.

 Best Regards,

Anthony A. Arzili