Warrant Hanging Over Your Head in Washington? How to Take Care of It

You missed your court date. Now you have a warrant hanging over your head and you’re kicking yourself. Maybe you got sick. Maybe your child did. Maybe you simply marked the calendar wrong. Who hasn’t done that at least once? Perhaps you got busy with your daily living and didn’t think about the date until it was too late. There are all sorts of reasons why this may have happened, and at Smith & White, PLLC we understand that. You don’t need to panic, we can help you with this.

For failure to appear in court they generally issue a bench warrant. If the crime you’ve been accused of is severe enough they may issue an arrest warrant. If it’s an arrest warrant, the police are going to begin looking for you – you need this taken care of as soon as possible.

You will also be facing a new charge in addition to those you are already having to deal with. The charge will be bail jumping and the penalty will be dependent on the severity of the original charge. If you were charged with a misdemeanor it has a maximum of one year in jail and a $5000. Basically that means that if you were originally charged with a gross misdemeanor you could potentially be doubling your sentence; if it wasn’t a gross misdemeanor it’s possible, though unlikely, that your sentence could be more than doubled. If you were originally charged with a class B or C felony the penalties increase to 1-43 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If it was a class A felony you were accused of you could be facing 6-68 months in prison and a fines up to $20,000. These penalties would be in addition to any penalties you would receive if convicted of the original crime. Plus it should be noted that even if you are acquitted of the original crime the bail jumping charge is seen as completely separate and it is possible to still face that charge and sentence.

If it’s a bench warrant, they aren’t going to search for you. However, please don’t think that means it’s not serious. With a bench warrant you will get arrested if you ever have any involvement with police. This can even happen if the reason they were called was not your fault such as someone else hitting your car. They’re still going to run your license, see your warrant and then arrest you. This can happen at any time and there is never a convenient time to get arrested. Once that happens, you may end up waiting in jail until a hearing for the original reason can be scheduled or you may have to pay a hefty bond and court fees. Also, keep in mind that the DOL can suspend a license due to a warrant and they do show up on background checks which can make finding employment and housing difficult.

You’re looking for a defense team to help you with this. That means you realize the mistake and want to fix it. That actually will work well for you in the eyes of the court. At Smith & White, PLLC we will attempt to quash the warrant. That is, we will fight to make it go away. Then you can get back to fighting the charge without worrying about being arrested at any moment.  

The specific course of action needed to quash the warrant will depend on the court and your history. Most courts, since you already did not show once, will make you quash the warrant. If you are out of state Then our Firm can make the motion to quash for you.  That would eliminate the warrant and set a new court date for the original reason. We can possibly even schedule a motion to quash and resolution date together so that you only need to come to court one time. Wouldn’t that be a relief?  It also may be advisable to turn yourself in, but get counsel before you do. You would definitely need a defense attorney to help keep the bail as low as possible and set up a plan to get you out as soon as possible. Please call Smith & White, PLLC – the first consult is free.

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