In most cases, a bench warrant has to be taken care of in person. If you moved to California to avoid another New England winter, you will still have to come back to MA if this is where the warrant was issued. There are some exceptions, but navigating this complex process requires the assistance of a skilled defense attorney.
In certain situations, a lawyer can go to court on your behalf. This is especially true if the lawyer has a good reputation with the court. Several factors will be considered before such an exception is allowed, however. For starters, if the warrant is for a felony, you will almost certainly have to appear in person. If, on the other hand, the warrant is for something minor, such as failing to pay a fine, the warrant may be dismissed once full payment is received. In misdemeanor cases, an out of state client may hire an attorney to stand in for court proceedings. However, as explained above, this will only be approved under certain conditions.
If an arrest warrant is issued against you, you may be extradited (transported back) to MA to face charges. To do this, MA must make a formal request for extradition to the state in which you are currently located. You are, however, entitled to a hearing before the extradition occurs. If, following the hearing, the judge is convinced that the facts support extradition, you will be transported back to MA to face the charges against you. But extradition isn’t cheap. If your offense was relatively minor, MA is not likely to extradite you. If you are in custody, however, the risk of extradition is greater. Contact a MA criminal defense attorney if you are concerned about an out-of-state arrest warrant or extradition.
What if I Just Ignore the Warrant?
If the warrant is for a misdemeanor case in which no bail was set, failing to appear for arraignment can lead to a second misdemeanor offense. If you make no attempt to appear within 14 days of your court date, you can be charged. The penalty for this type of violation is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. If the warrant was issued for a felony offense, and you fail to appear in court, you will likely face a fine of no less than $5,000. If you posted bail, the minimum fine is $10,000, and you’ll be looking at up to four years in prison. Long story short, don’t ignore a warrant. Even if you are on the other side of the country, there are options. Contact an experienced MA criminal defense attorney today.
What if I Never Plan to Go Back to Massachusetts?
If the warrant is for a misdemeanor, you will probably not get arrested out of state. If it is for a felony, however, there is a good chance that you will. But even if it’s for a misdemeanor and you never plan to go back to MA, having an out-of-state warrant can come back to bite you. When potential employers perform a background check, for example, the warrant will show up. It may also disqualify you for certain benefits. Dealing with a warrant now is almost always preferable to putting it off or trying to hide. In this highly-digital world where everything is stored online, our personal information is never far behind. An outstanding warrant will catch up with you.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you have been charged with any type of crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Having an outstanding warrant in another state can induce anxiety in the best of us. Plus, it’s just really inconvenient. But with the help of a skilled MA lawyer, it doesn’t have to be that way. We will analyze the details of your case to determine the best possible strategy. It is our goal to make the process as painless for you as possible. If a warrant has been issued against you for any type of offense, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.