Bench Warrant Not issued till 3 years later!

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Bench Warrant Not issued till 3 years later!

I was arrested in Georgia for shop lifting in Nov 2005 I went to every hearing and asked for a jury trial. I waited for over a month no court date they lost my paper work and when I moved to California in Aug of 2006 they still had no court date for me. I found out they issued a bench warrant only a month ago. My son is getting married and I am afraid if I go to wedding they will lock me up. I want to get taken care of but how? No money for a lawyer.

Asked on May 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

One of the most important questions here is, when you moved to California, did you send a letter to the Georgia court with your new address?  If you can prove that you did that -- and that you did that again, if you moved again after that -- someone should be able to help you.

Depending on exactly what you were charged with, you might have the right to a public defender.  If you could be sent to jail for six months, if found guilty, you have that right.  Contact the public defender or legal aid society in the town where the trial would be held.

Whether or not you kept the Georgia court notified of your address, and whether or not you are facing six months in jail, you should have someone contact the prosecutor and explain the situation, as soon as possible (and I am suggesting that you have someone else write the letter for you, so that you don't have to give them your address if the court doesn't already have it).  It may be possible to clear the situation up before the wedding.  If you did steal something that wasn't recovered, making payment to the store you took it from, now and on your own, might also help matters.


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