How best to handle a warrant for failure to appear and probation violation?

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How best to handle a warrant for failure to appear and probation violation?

I have 2 open cases where I took a plea deal of Narcotics Anonymous classes. I showed up to all court dates issued but moved out-of-state and never completed the N.A. classes or returned to my court dates. I’m sure I have warrants out. I am planning on turning myself in to get my record clean and DL back.

Asked on April 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are right to want to clear this up.  If you are stopped by the police for anything at all (even jaywalking), you will be arrested and taken into custody on the spot.  It will be far better for you to turn yourself in and to appear in court voluntarily.  What you need to do now is to hire a criminal attorney that practices in the locality of where the warrant was issued.  They will then be able to utilize their contacts within the court to negotiate to your best advantage.  The fact is that you will need to address not only the FTA warrant but alo your failure to successfully complete your probation.  These matters are taken quite seriously by the court.  Getting your driver's license back should be the least of your worries.  You potentially face some jail time.

If money is an issue for you, see if you qualify for having a court appointed attorney (PD or see about retaining Legal Aid (however, there are strict income eligibility requirements for both).  Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where you live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Additionally, you can contact the local bar association in the county in question; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances. 


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