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If I have a bench warrant out in Philadelphia from June 2009, can they still arrest me? The charges are "inactive".

Lansdowne, PA |

I have also been told that they only have 12 months to pick me up - that is the statute of limitations. Is this true?

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Attorney answers 3


You need specific legal advice for this situation that cannot be adequately addressed on a public message board.

If you have a BW out in Philadelphia, you may be in for a heap of trouble if you're pulled over or stopped by the police for any other matter.

See a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Good luck.

Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2424 E York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Note: This answer is only for educational purposes. I am not your lawyer until we have a written representation agreement between us.


It is a common misconception that there is a statute of limitations on warrants. Not so. They never die. The only way to get rid of them is to clear up the situation that caused the warrant to get issued. Don't wait until you get arrested.


Yes, you can still be arrested. As mentioned, the statute of limitations does not apply once the charges have been filed. Speedy trial rules also generally do not apply (but there are exceptions). Finally, the charges are listed as inactive because the case is not progressing through the system as a result of the bench warrant. Once you are picked up on the bench warrant, the case will become active again.

With any warrant, it is best to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you on how to properly deal with the circumstances of your particular case. It is generally better to appear before the Court voluntarily than if you are taken into custody during a traffic stop or some other time. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this particular dilema.