Haunted By An Outstanding Warrant? How To Clean Up Your Shady Past
Your life is in fairly decent order. You stay out of trouble and manage to work and pay your bills, but are you haunted by an outstanding warrant from your past? You work hard to stay on the straight and narrow; however, that warrant isn't going to go away by itself. As much as you may want to forget the mistakes you made, you really should address this predicament.
1. Don't Wait For Something To Happen
Even if you're able to live your life without drawing the attention of the law enforcement officers who would arrest you over a warrant, you don't really want to live in constant fear of being suddenly taken away. You could lose your apartment, job, and more if you disappear from town while being processed on the outstanding charges. Most states have extradition laws, permitting other states to transport you to the jurisdiction where you face prosecution; thus, even if you're in Oklahoma and your warrant was issued in Florida, if it catches up with you, you're taking a trip to the Sunshine State.
2. Give Yourself An Advantage
Because you don't want to live under the precarious circumstances of having a warrant out for your arrest, you should take the initiative. No matter what consequences you might be facing, if you come forward to deal with them, you give yourself the advantage of not ever being surprised by an arrest and having your life in total upheaval.
You also might be able to plan for the consequences by saving money to pay possible (court) fines, getting permission to take time off from work, and making arrangements for your apartment to be cared for, pets looked after, etc. Planning should keep your life intact if you're picked up on your warrant and hauled off somewhere.
3. Talk To A Criminal Defense Attorney
You don't have anything to lose in speaking with a criminal defense attorney. Due to attorney-client privilege, no lawyer is going to call the police on you and tell them there's an outstanding warrant for your arrest. You can come completely clean with a criminal attorney, telling them about the (alleged) crime(s), along with the reasons you never showed up for your court date. Although the courts don't look favorably on those who run from justice, if your circumstances were extenuating, they might be understanding, at least. Either way, a lawyer can tell you what will happen when you turn yourself in, how the prosecution is likely to respond, and what fines and penalties you may face. At the same time, the lawyer can advise you on how to respond in turn, such as by trying to reach a plea bargain or fighting the charges.
4. Get Ready To Face The Judge
Turning yourself in isn't easy, especially if the crime(s) you could be punished for carry heavy punishment; however, since it's far better for you to come forward than it is for police to find you, you need to prepare for court. Depending on whether your attorney thinks you'll be released on bail or your own recognizance or not, you might need to make those arrangements for your house and job to be ready whenever you return. Present yourself professionally to the court and follow the legal advice you're given, and you should make a good impression on the judge.
Hopefully, they'll recognize you for coming forward to resolve the warrant and you'll soon be able to return home, going back to court for follow-up dates or to see a probation officer, but not anything more lengthy, such as a jail or prison sentence. Cover yourself for this possibility, though, as you'll want to preserve your belongings in a secure place and have some support from friends and family.
Just because you've cleaned up your act and learned from past mistakes doesn't mean an outstanding warrant will be forgiven. Use what you can to your advantage, including how you live a responsible life now, but don't let that warrant linger. When it comes back to bite you (and it will), you're going to wish you had taken the matter into your own hands with the professional help of an attorney.
For more information, contact law offices like Funderburk and Lane.