What canI expect if I go back to clear up an out-of-state bench warrant for a DUI?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2011

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What canI expect if I go back to clear up an out-of-state bench warrant for a DUI?

I got a DUI 6 years ago in FL. I failed to complete the classes and have a warrant out for my arrest. What should I expect to happen if I were to travel to FL to clear this up? I never had any other conviction prior or after. Will they put me in jail? Would I be required to travel from my home of CA to FL to appear? I want to complete all that is required and clear this up but want to know what they are going to do to me?

Asked on August 19, 2011 California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you'll need to get a DUI attorney to help you with this. When a bench warrant has been issued for a probation violation (PV) the court has the power to re-sentence the defendant on the DUI charge. This means that basically, the judge can start over and this could bring jail time. Additionally, the DA can charge the defendant with a separate probation violation, which is an offense that can also mean jail.  A skilled and experienced lawyer can get the case on the court calendar; appear before the judge and request that they recall the warrant and ask the judge to reinstate probation on the original terms and conditions (although the judge has the authority to say no).

In some, but not all courts, a lawyer can get a misdemeanor DUI warrant recalled without their client going to court.  Additionally, some judges will take all people in this situation into custody and sentence them to jail for 30 days or more. Other judges will give defendants a second chance if they handle things responsibly. The fact that you return voluntarily is to your advantage. Appearing before a judge courtesy of the jail bus is never a good thing (although extradition for a PV of this nature may or may not be ordered).

Right now you need to contact a DUI attorney in the area near where the court is located. They can best advise you further and use their local contacts to your best advantage. The fact is that the sooner you take car of this the better. This warrant will turn up in employment background checks, when applying for a driver's license, etc. Additionally, even if you are not extradited back to FL, if you are ever stopped you can and will be taken into custody. While you may be released, this can happen over and over again.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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