First Things To Do If Charged With Failure to Appear in DC

The following is taken from an interview with DC failure to appear lawyer Peter Odom as he discusses what you should do if charged with failing to appear in DC court. If you have missed a court date, call today and schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

Most Important Things Someone Facing Failure to Appear Charges Should Do

In short, the top three most important things that someone should do if facing Failure to Appear charges are:

  • First, don’t go to the police.
  • Third, talk to a lawyer quickly.

What Everyone Should Know About Failure to Appear in DC

Before we discuss these important steps, there are three important things everyone should know about Failure to Appear charges in Washington, DC.

First, and most importantly, Failure to Appear Bench Warrants will not go away.

Second,  even if you don’t live in the DC area there may be a possibility that you can be arrested anywhere in the country. You may even be able to get arrested if you are flying in from overseas and that could result in Marshals boarding your plane and removing you from the plane in handcuffs to extradite you back to Washington DC because of your Bench Warrant.

The third important thing someone should know about Bench Warrants is that they can be resolved, so it is important to try and talk to a lawyer about it quickly.

Contacting a Lawyer

The first thing a person should do to handle a Bench Warrant is contact me so we can discuss your first court appearance.  When we appear before your judge, our goal is to persuade her to quash your warrant rather than holding you in jail because you missed your last court date. Even if you may not have the best explanation for why you missed your hearing, we can still talk about the best way to convince your judge to not detain you on the warrant.

You should contact a lawyer as soon as you you find out you have a bench warrant because the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you will be arrested on the warrant before you turn yourself in.

Biggest Misconceptions about Failure to Appear in DC

The biggest and most common misconception is that Bench Warrants lapse after a certain period of time. This is not true. Bench Warrants remain open indefinitely. Even though they can start off as non-extraditable, which means that the defendant can only be arrested inside of Washington DC, a judge can decide to make a bench warrant extraditable depending on circumstances such as the severity of the crime and the type of hearing you missed. A judge can also change a non-extraditable warrant to an extraditable warrant so that the defendant can be arrested anywhere in the United States.

A second common misconception is that a lawyer can resolve your Bench Warrant for you without you having to appear before the judge. While this may be true in some situations, it is almost always the case that you need to appear in court with your lawyer to resolve the Bench Warrant.