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Should I be worried about jail time?

Kent, WA |

I received a summons on 10/23/12 to appear in Kent Municipal court on 11/08/12 for a disorderly conduct violation dating back to 2008. It says Expired BW in the bottom right hand corner and I'm not sure what that means. In the time since this violation I have one payment remaining on a the ticket, I haven't been in trouble or even pulled over since then. I just left a full time job that i had been at for 2 years for a better job in the same industry, and I am also a student full time at Green River College. I have worked extremely hard to turn my life around since then and jail would wipe away everything I've spent the last 4 years building. My attorney for the case bailed on me 3 years ago and I'm worried i will be arrested.

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Attorney answers 6


First, congratulations on the positive improvements that you have made in your life. The BW most likely means Bench Warrant. You will want to learn if a bench warrant was issued and is now expired or if there is some other interpretation.

When you were sentenced did you receive Washington's equivalent of what is called a withheld judgment in Idaho? That is where you complete the terms of your probation and the case can then be dismissed. In Idaho, the effect is as though you were never convicted.

I'm assuming that you were on probation and that you are not behind in any of your payments. If you have complied with the terms of your probation, it's possible that you are to appear for a hearing to determine whether the court should dismiss the case. I am not licensed in Washington and I advise you to consult with a Washington criminal defense lawyer to inquire about this. It might actually be good news for you.

Good luck.


The bench warrant has most likely been outstanding for some time and is set to expire. The 11/8 date is for the court to renew it. If you appear at that time the court is not likely to put you in jail, if you don't appear there is a good chance the warrant will be renewed and you will get picked up on at a very inconvenient time. It is not likely that if you were found guilty of disorderly conduct that the court would sentence you to jail time, especially if you have spent the last 4 years constructively.


I agree with Mr. Kirschenbaum. on a disorderly conduct charge, it is likely a relatively low bail warrant that you can quash merely by appearing in court. Assuming you have an otherwise clean record, it is unlikely you will be put in jail, but rather will be arraigned and given a date to return to court. It would be very advisable to work with an attorney on this matter, as good counsel can help you keep this from giving interfering with your future and current employment and other concerns.

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You state that you only have one payment left on the case, which I would assume means that this case is in post-conviction status. Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail. If you have failed to meet certain obligations of your sentence, the court can impose all 90 days. If the only issue remaining is the fine, your attorney could most likely convince the court to allow you time to pay the fine, then close the case without any jail time. You should talk with an attorney before going to court.

This answer is for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.


Get a new lawyer.


Immediately contact Neal or Zach at my firm, who will consult w/you for free. We are in the Kent court every day and have done 1000 of criminal defense cases. -- John Stocks

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