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I have a bench warrant for failure to appear. Now what?

Marquette, MI |

I was arrested and spent a night in jail for DUI in Marquette mi about 12 years ago. However, I lived out of state and never appeared. I haven't paid my fine nor have I done anything about it. I want to take care of this as my obligation and am wondering whatbincould do to begin?

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Attorney answers 3


If you were never arraigned or went to court formally for this then you will have to go through the entire criminal process to have this taken care of. This is said because the case has not officially ended. With that said, I would contact a criminal defense attorney to handle this for you. He or she will be able to help facilitate the process. The reason counsel is so crucial on this is because you have been in flight or absconding for some time now. You will need to turn yourself in, be arraigned on the warrant and the DUI, and then go through pre-trial, etc. However, I could be wrong if you were in-fact sentenced and put on probation, and thus are dealing with a probation violation for absconding and failing to appear. Yet in the end, the process will be very similar but different at the same time. Either way, contact an attorney and get some help on this. It will only save you headache and possible jail time in the end. Best of luck.


Wow. I agree with some of what the other lawyer wrote but all of that "same yet different" business can't possibly make things easier for you. You are going to have to turn yourself in and the thing you are up against is a huge bond. The court places bonds of people to assure they return for their hearings. The Court has every reason to be concerned that you won't show up -- you didn't show up for 12 years. Having hired an attorney is a sign of commitment and seriousness, aside from the fact that a smooth talking lawyer might help you overcome your obvious obstacle. In some ways, you are in luck. The cop that wrote you the ticket might not be able to testify against you for any number of reasons. And the laws have gotten stricter in these twelve years -- you are entitled to the old law. Hire someone who knows what he is doing. If you hire someone from lower MI, you are going to be paying travel time for him to get up there.


I agree with both of the previous answers. Contact a criminal attorney to set up a consultation and have the attorney set a court hearing for you. It's great that you want to take responsibility and take care of your legal obligations now. I would suggest that you gather any information that might reflect a positive change in your life since you got the DUI (letters of recommendation from employers, pastors, schools, any educational degree or certificate you may have earned, a favorable drug/alcohol evaluation, etc.) to present to the court. If you have money available to pay off the legal financial obligation, that would also look good to the court. As the previous attorney mentioned, you should be prepared for the possibilty of being held in jail until your disposition hearing - However, turning yourself in by contacting a lawyer and setting a hearing is going to be much more favorable than getting picked up on the warrant by the police. Depending on your circumstances and what assurances you can give the court to show that you are no longer a flight risk, you could just be given house arrest while awaiting disposition (plea or trial). Best of luck to you!