In late 1999 or January 2000, a warrant was issued for my arrest in Texas on a Class A misdemeanor (public lewdness). I have verified that it is still active. As I had moved to California by the time it was issued, I changed my drivers license to a California one. This probably happened after the warrant was issued, if that matters. I have since renewed the California license with no problem. If I am pulled over in Texas for a traffic offense or similar incident while driving with the California license, will I be arrested on the outstanding warrant? I realize I should deal with the original charge, but I am only going to be in Texas for a short period of time and probably do not have the money to do so, anyway.
DUI / DWI Attorney
I really doubt Texas would want you extradited for that. But, they say "dont mess with Texas"
My standard disclaimer: I am not offering legal advice, assume I do not know the law in your state and that I am just making suggestions for starting points for when you do speak with an attorney. Do NOT rely on anything I write and contact a lawyer in your area immediately after reading my posting.
Criminal Defense Attorney
I politely disagree with my colleague; you do need to hire counsel to deal with the arrest warrant. The offense, a sexually related offense - public lewdness could require a person to register as a sex offender under certain circumstances. Most states deal very harshly with sexual related offenses particularly Texas and California. If you have a criminal history reflecting sexual offenses or acts, the district attorney or county attorney could place an extradition hold if you are caught outside the state. As former assistant criminal district attorney in Fort Worth, under certain circumstances involving the offense (masturbating in public, flashing, or urinating in public in a location as a prelude to sexual contact for the purposes of sexual gratification) the district attorney’s office will extradite to prosecute the misdemeanor. The bottom line it depends on the alleged facts of the offense and your criminal history (if you have other charges or convictions). A secondary consideration, you do not want an arrest warrant to linger because it will allow an officer to conduct a search of your vehicle (assuming you are traveling by vehicle) or your person; and illegal items found could potentially allow the officer to legally confiscate those items and use them in your prosecution where ever you are found. I recommend you speak with attorney in the location where the warrant is located and deal with it as soon as possible.
Criminal Defense Attorney
There is a strong probability that you will be arrested if you are pulled over in Texas, even with a California DL. Most police agencies in Texas will check the "TCIC" computer showing Texas warrants on anyone pulled over. Just because your DL number is different, the underlying data like DOB etc. are the same so the system would hit on you based on the other identifiers.
The greater concern is that some eager officer in California or in an airport security check or in the middle of nowhere might pull you over, check your "NCIC" (national crime database) entries, and then you're stuck having to be extradited back to Texas, which you'll probably eventually have to end up paying for.
The smarter move would be to contact a criminal lawyer in the locality who can work out the case for you.
The law in Texas is that a 2nd offense of public lewdness results in registering as a sex offender for 10 yrs. You want to avoid this at all costs. Also, the longer you avoid prosecution the madder the prosecuting attorney will be. This situation might be a silly prank, but running from the charges might turn it into a more serious situation.
Russ Hunt, Jr.