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What happens if I turn myself in while having a warrant out for my arrest?

Jamaica, NY |

Two years ago I stole clothes from Macys. They gave me a court date. I never showed up. I now have a warrant out my arrest.

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Attorney answers 6


I handle cases like this all the time. It is best to return on the warrant with a lawyer. Depending on the facts of the case, it can be worked out in your favor in one court appearance. If you are indigent, the Judge will appoint you a public defender.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


It will be best if you return voluntarily. If you have no previous record you may be released without bail although it would be better to go prepared. If you do not have an attorney the court will appoint one for at least the first appearance.

I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.


To improve your chances that turning yourself in will not result in detention pending arraignment or higher bail than one would like, you should proceed with an attorney. Basically, you are a no show for 2 years and they will want some security for your future appearances.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


An attorney should go with you. If you can't afford one, the court will give you one.
If it's a 1st offense, it should not be a big deal.

Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association
Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)

I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.


You probably have a bench warrant from the Court because you did not show up. If you have no record and voluntarily surrender at the Court, you will probably be released and given a new Court date. Once that is done your attorney can work out a deal.


If there is an arrest warrant I would advise you to hire an attorney that will contact the detective assigned to your case and schedule a date and time for you to turn yourself in. Although it has been two (2) years, It is my experience that you are more likely to get a favorable bail determination from the Court when you voluntarily turn yourself in than when you are picked up and brought in wearing handcuffs.

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