What to do if I was told recently that I had a failure to appear warrant out on me for something I know nothing about?

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What to do if I was told recently that I had a failure to appear warrant out on me for something I know nothing about?

They said I was supposed to be in court 6 years ago for a forgery charge but I have not been in trouble in 18 years (for which I served 5 years on probation). I have no clue what this is all about and now am told there is a warrant.

Asked on April 3, 2013 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A couple of issues could be at play.  The first is that this could simply be a mistake in identity.  Unfortunately, people can be victims of identity theft even in the criminal system.  The second is that the charges could correctly relate to you, however, the originating state never got around to arresting and arraigning you on the charges. 

 

Regardless of the situation, consider hiring an attorney from the jurisdiction where the charges are pending to help you determine which issue applies to you.  If this is a mistake in identity case, they can help you clear your record and report the identity theft.  If this is a case where it is you and the originating state simply did nothing, they may be able to get the charges dismissed for speedy trial issues.  Hiring an attorney for a few phone calls will not be as expensive as full representation—but will be well worth the few dollars for a peace of mind.  You do not have to have an attorney, but navigating through some jurisdictions which will presume that you’re guilty can cause interruptions in your life and hinder your ability to represent yourself.

 


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