What is an open warrant?
Open warrants give police officers the authority to arrest a specific individual. Somebody with an open warrant against them may be pulled over. When officers pull you over, they run your name through their system. If there are any open warrants against you, you will likely be arrested on the spot. Open warrants are issued for many reasons. There are two types, default warrants and straight warrants.
This includes open warrants for failure to appear in court. A bench warrant will be issued if you fail to appear in court on your assigned day. This may occur even if you never actually received notice of your court date. There are often issues pertaining to notice with these warrants. Documents may have been mailed to a former address and individuals may have no reason to know that they are expected to appear in court for their own hearing or jury duty. Nonetheless, you are expected to appear and if you do not the court will issue a warrant. A default warrant may also be issued for failure to comply with court order. This may occur when an individual does not pay court ordered child support.
Straight warrants are open warrants for criminal charges. If there was no officer present at the time of the relevant criminal offense, a warrant will be put out for your arrest. This could occur for any criminal offense, including drunk driving, sexual assault, and murder. Whatever you are accused of, you should know the implications of an open warrant so you can make an educated decision on how to proceed.
What happens when I have an open warrant against me?
An open warrant means that law enforcement can arrest you and bring you into court. People with warrants out against them are also not allowed to fly or re-enter the country if they have left. Their license will be automatically suspended, and they can therefore be arrested both for the outstanding warrant and driving with a suspended license. Furthermore, they will no longer be able to enjoy public benefits such as Medicare and unemployment, and possibly will not be entitled to tax refunds. Massachusetts law says that a person must be notified within the 30 days after a warrant has been issued against them although there are often practical issues. The notice will include the charge as well as how the individual can clear the warrant.
What should I do?
The best thing to do in this situation is to call a local criminal defense lawyer. Even small offenses have a way of building in these types of situations. Furthermore, if a warrant that goes unanswered for a long time the prosecution could argue that this is grounds to deny bail. We can help you remove an outstanding warrant and avoid jail time and other fees and costs. This may include a surrender, or the scheduling of another court date. We can work with the prosecution to avoid any unjust outcomes. You should be aware that if you show up in court personally you could be arrested. At Altman & Altman we have successfully removed hundreds of outstanding warrants over the years, many of them for clients that live out of state. Contact one of our attorney’s today to discuss your options.
The longer you wait to remove a warrant, the less understanding the court will be. Time is of the essence. If you have an open warrant, please contact the law firm of Altman & Altman for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced MA outstanding bench warrant attorneys or criminal defense attorneys. We will protect you throughout the process and may even be able to resolve this without you having to go to court.