There are many ways that warrants get issued in DUI cases. Failing to appear in court, failing to complete court ordered requirements, and violations of DUI probation.
Failing to appear on Court Date
If you fail to appear at your arraignment or when the judge orders you to be in court, a bench warrant will issue for your arrest. Whatever type of bail is being held by the court will be forfeited. Once forfeited, bail can only be reinstated by appearing in court, clearing the warrant and seeking a re-assumption of the bond. Failing to appear in court is a crime.
If you’re out of jail while your case is pending, you must appear for all your court dates unless your lawyer has arranged for you to be excused. In most misdemeanor cases, your attorney can appear for you, so you don’t have to go to court. Failing to appear in court when ordered or required will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. The warrant doesn’t go away until you clear it.
Failing to complete court ordered requirements
If you fail to complete court ordered requirements, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Typical court requirements include payment of fines, completing your jail sentence, the DUI class, Victim Impact Panel, community service or self-help meetings. Failing to complete court ordered requirements is a violation of probation which is a new crime.
Warrants based on violations of probation
If you were on probation for either a DUI or another criminal offense and you pick up a new criminal charge, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Failing to comply with court ordered requirements is a violation of probation which is a new crime. A probation violation is more likely to occur if your new offense occurs in the same county that you are on probation. Felony violations of probation can trigger a no bail warrant to issue which means if you are picked up on the warrant you will not be eligible for bail.
Warrants can affect your driver’s license
If you have a warrant, your driver’s license can be suspended. The only way to get your license reinstated is to get the warrant lifted.
Warrants can affect travel
Trying to board a plane or a ship for international travel will likely result in a detention if you have an arrest warrant. The same applies if one tries to cross a border or go through a highway checkpoint.
Warrants can affect your benefits
An individual with an arrest warrant for a felony may not receive Social Security benefits while the warrant is outstanding. The California Welfare and Institutions Code states that individuals who have arrest warrants for felonies are automatically disqualified from the food stamps program. The same goes for aggravated misdemeanor warrants.
Warrants can increase bail
A bench warrant will stay on your record even if you clear it up. If you ever get in trouble again, the judge can use the fact that you failed to appear to set a higher bail.
Clearing a felony DUI warrant
In most cases, a DUI warrant can be cleared. Every county has their own procedures for clearing warrants. On felony cases, you must always personally appear to clear the warrant. If you bailed out of jail, you will need to have your bail bondsman agree to a re-assumption of the bail bond.
Clearing a misdemeanor DUI warrant
In some counties an attorney can appear for you to clear the misdemeanor warrant. If there was a bail forfeiture, the bail bondsman will have to file a re-assumption of the bond with the court. Some counties require the defendant to appear in court to clear a misdemeanor warrant.
Issues with clearing warrants
On warrants for failure to complete a jail sentence, the court will usually want the person present because in most cases the court will take the person into custody to complete their sentence. On warrants for probation violations the court may sometimes take the person into custody if the person is a multiple offender or on DUI probation when they pick up a new DUI. On warrants for failing to complete court ordered requirements, the court will usually grant a re-referral, so the person can have more time to finish the court ordered requirements. On warrants for failing to appear for a court date or not paying fines, the judge will usually clear them with no repercussions and set the case for further proceedings or setting up a new payment plan.
If a person has a good reason for not appearing, not completing court ordered requirements, or not completing a jail sentence, the court may favorably consider the reasons. Good reasons include a significant medical condition, financial hardship, or incarceration which prevented a person from complying with the courts orders.
Every county sets warrant hearings differently. In some counties you can simply contact the clerk of the court and they will give you a court date to appear to clear the warrant. In some counties, you must turn yourself into the Sheriff who will clear the warrant and give you a new court date.
No bail warrants
If you have a no bail warrant, you will not be released on the warrant but will be held until your court date.
Warrant with bail
When a judge issues a warrant it can be set with a specific bail amount. This can be the same as the original bail amount or it can be an increase in the original bail amount. If you were released on a promise to appear, the judge can impose a bail amount if you didn’t show up for court. The judge can also issue a warrant requiring a cite and release with a new court date.
WARRANT WITH CITE AND RELEASE
The judge can issue a warrant requiring a cite and release with a new court date. This is usually done in cases where there is a minor issue like failing to complete a DUI class or pay fines and fees and the court simply wants the person to appear in court to remedy the situation.
MISDEMEANOR FAILING TO APPEAR IN COURT = PENAL CODE 1320
(a) Every person who is charged with or convicted of the commission of a misdemeanor who is released from custody on his or her own recognizance and who in order to evade the process of the court willfully fails to appear as required, is guilty of a misdemeanor. It shall be presumed that a defendant who willfully fails to appear within 14 days of the date assigned for his or her appearance intended to evade the process of the court.
(b) Every person who is charged with or convicted of the commission of a felony who is released from custody on his or her own recognizance and who in order to evade the process of the court willfully fails to appear as required, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. It shall be presumed that a defendant who willfully fails to appear within 14 days of the date assigned for his or her appearance intended to evade the process of the court.
FELONY FAILING TO APPEAR IN COURT = PENAL CODE 1320.5
Every person who is charged with or convicted of the commission of a felony, who is released from custody on bail, and who in order to evade the process of the court willfully fails to appear as required, is guilty of a felony. Upon a conviction under this section, the person shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment. Willful failure to appear within 14 days of the date assigned for appearance may be found to have been for the purpose of evading the process of the court.
IF YOU HAVE A DUI WARRANT, YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY
We have gotten DUI warrants cleared successfully and kept our clients out of jail. Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 to speak directly to an attorney about your DUI warrant and how we can clear it. We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.