Can I fly to Michigan if i have a bench warrant for failure to appear and not go to jail?

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Can I fly to Michigan if i have a bench warrant for failure to appear and not go to jail?

The bench warrant is for failure to appear to a court date for misdemeanor shoplifting.

Asked on June 26, 2009 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It's doubtful that the warrant would cause you any problem in air travel, especially since you are not going through customs - but there are no guarantees.

The shoplifting charge and the failure to appear are misdemeanors.  If you have no other previous record you will probably get a fine and possibly some nominal jail time (a couple of days) if that.  Right now this is still fairly easy to clean up.
 
If you don't take care of this, and the warrant is in the interstate system, then if you are stopped for even a speeding ticket, you can be arrested on the spot for that warrant.  They will hold you in custody for several days, until they are told by the issuing agency that whether or not they are going to come, pick you up, and bring you back to their jail/court.

Think it over.  It would be better to clear this all up now, voluntarily.  Coming in on your own, and not on the jail bus, will go a long way to making the judge more sympathetic.  Contact an attorney in the area where all of this happened.  He'll have contacts at the court, and will be able to advise how best to minimize your penalties.


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