This question is in regards to my girl friend's situation. She is a British citizen and has a Green Card. In October 2011, she had to appear in court at Ventura County, California to answer for her second DUI charge. She missed her court date and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. Two months later in December 2011, she had to go back to England due to a family emergency. She's planning to return to the U.S, but first she needs to find out if she could be arrested at the airport upon her return. Thank you for your advice on this matter.
Since she will be coming back on an international flight, the answer is very possibly yes. If she can hire counsel to try to get the warrant recalled before she comes back you should definitely give it a try. A judge does not have to recall the warrant without her being present, but with some creative lawyering, especially a family emergency in a foreign country, we might be able to get it recalled before she comes back. We have gotten warrants recalled without the defendant being present all the time and we have an office in Ventura if you need to get this done right away. Give a call any time.
Souther California DUI Lawyer
That is exactly what happened to my client returning to California from Australia! Only due the fact that she had family in law enforcement in LA and knew what to do did she not go to LA County jail. If you cannot clear the warrant in court then at least post the bail on the warrant (cost 8-10% of bail amount so "shop" the bail). Use a bondsman or if the bail is not too high (not likely!) pay the full bail yourself in cash and it will all be returned to you after the case is concluded... or LOST COMPLETELY IF she doesn't return. At a minimum be ready with a bondsman in LA. You do NOT want her in LACo jail. Whoops! ...I started this note out thinking that she was family... but a 2nd offense DUI green card girlfriend last seen 18 months ago... HER FAMILY should post the bail, NOT YOU, wouldn't you agree. She will not be the same person after spending a few weeks in custody in LACO jail waiting to be transferred to Ventura ...good that you asked. Hey it's snowing here in Paris! geo
Whenever anyone goes through Immigration and Customs as they enter the country, one of the government's objectives is ostentsibly to capture anyone who is on any type of list for warrants or even if only sought as a person of interest, etc., regardless of how serious the matter and regardless of which federal or state agency seeks the person. Thus even if her DUI was in Florida, they could hold her in California and transport her to Florida to appear in court.
Now that you are aware a warrant exists, you should hire an attorney in Ventura County to apply for the warrant to be quashed without her having to appear. Then be sure the attorney has the fact that the warrant was quashed entered into law enforcement's computer either before she lands in the U.S. or perhaps even before she books her flight back to the U.S. She will however still need to appear in court once she is back in the country.
The chances of her being arrested at the airport are just about zero. It will definitely be a good idea to address the warrant and the case while she is in CA, and it is essential that she have an attorney appear either with her on on her behalf. Some judges would be willing to recall the warrant without her presence , but that is currently less likely in ultra-strict Ventura County. Good luck.
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