You should not appear alone without an attorney present, especially since this is a 3-4 year old warrant. Not only is the violation a misdemeanor, but so is the failure to appear. They are really cracking down on the subway fare violations. They may remand you, but give you a sentence which results in your release at the end of the day.
Seth Weinstein, Esq.
Practicing Criminal Defense in Southern California
This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply.
I would recommend hiring an attorney to get this taken care of. If you have an attorney the chances of jail time is almost none.
Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at www.theocduiguy.com.
The other attorneys are correct in advising you that you might wish to retain an attorney to deal with the warrant to ensure you are not arrested. However, based upon the fact you are voluntarily going in to take care of the matter, it is unlikely you will be detained. Go to the clerk's office promptly at 8.30 and ask them to pull the case and send it to the appropriate courtroom as an add-on, then report to the courtroom.
You're looking at the ticket fine and one for the failure to appear. Be honest with the judge and tell him or her that you plain forgot and, as soon as you came across the ticket, you came to court to take care of it. Believe me, judges have heard every other story! You can ask the judge to recall the warrant and waive the failure to appear fine based on your voluntary appearance and ask for community service on the original ticket.
You should be fine.