What do I expect when going to court for a bench warrant?

The courts had my address wrong for an intake hearing (I missed it) so they issued a warrant. I go to court June 25th and I have no idea what to expect. Fines?How much? Jail time? I’m really scared, I couldn’t afford to bail out, will I get into more trouble for that? My public defender has not called me either. Please help me.

Asked on May 16, 2009 under Criminal Law, Washington


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your public defender hasn't called you, you can't just sit by.

1. File a complaint against this public defender with his or her boss and the Washington State Bar.

2. Contact the public defender's office in your county and/or go down there and get someone else assigned to you ASAP and have him or her review your file immediately.

3. You knew something was going to happen (i.e., why you had an intake hearing in the first place).  You cannot wait for the court -- you should always check in and take responsibility.  You may get fines, you may get jail time or both or none.  This all depends on any priors, what the issue was for, and if the new public defender can convince the prosecutor and/or the judge or both to drop this charge.

If you can afford to consult with a private counsel, try www.attorneypages.com or the Washington State Bar.  Otherwise, contact legal aid in your county and see if that office will represent you in a criminal defense hearing.

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