It is Generally Best to Self-Surender with a Criminal Defense Attorney by Your Side
If you know there is a warrant outstanding for you, it will never go away by itself. However, it would be best to hire an attorney for a warrant rather than turning yourself in at a court or the police station without counsel.
Warrants Never Go Away
When a warrant is put into the LEIN system (Law Enforcement Information Network), it will not be removed without an order from a court. A judge is the only person authorized to take a warrant out of LEIN because a judge is who put it there in the first place. It is best to hire an attorney for a warrant instead of getting caught by the police or turning yourself in while unrepresented.
“If I failed to appear in court, should I get an attorney to help with the warrant?”
Failure to Appear Warrant – When a person fails to appear in court, it is considered contempt of court. If people did not appear in court when ordered to, the legal system (and consequently, society at large to a great extent) would fall apart. If that happens, people would have to take all matters into their own hands, and violence would eventually ensue. Society has decided that it should not be allowed to occur.
After you are arrested, contempt of court can result in a monetary fine and jail. If you are arrested on the street for an outstanding warrant that a judge has reason to believe you knew about, you will soon be face-to-face with a judge whom you have challenged and insulted; not an appealing circumstance. The judge will set a bond that will typically be high enough based on your economic circumstances so that you will most likely stay in jail until your court date. The judge will want to make sure you appear, and it will seem that you’ve already proven they cannot trust you to appear.
“A warrant was issued for my arrest. Is it best to get an attorney to help with the warrant?”
Arrest Warrant – If the police obtained an arrest warrant and you do not know of it, you might be arrested at any time. If you are arrested, you would have to appear for arraignment while you are in custody. If you know of the warrant and plan to plead ignorance, that is a losing strategy that can result in your long-term incarceration. Merely “hoping for the best” is a risky and typically losing strategy. When you know that you are under investigation, it is best to hire reputable counsel immediately so that they can determine if you are subject to arrest.
Your best strategy to stay out of jail is to be proactive.
If you have been involved in some illegal activity and you believe the police may know about it and know your identity, your best strategy is to immediately retain an expert criminal defense attorney to see if there is an outstanding warrant. Promptly retaining counsel is also best if you suspect someone has accused you of criminal activity. If you look into it, the first thing a police officer will say to you is they want to talk to you and get “your side of the story.” This type of trickery is a common ploy used to obtain statements from you that can be used as evidence in court. It is never, under any circumstances, wise to talk to the police yourself.
An attorney can find out if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, make contact with the officer in charge of your case, and file an appearance with the court that issued the warrant. If an attorney files an appearance, the court will generally take the warrant out of the system because the court knows you will appear; otherwise, you would not have wasted your money hiring an attorney.
What if I didn’t know there was a warrant out for me?
Of course, there are times when people honestly have no idea they have a warrant out for them. A warrant can issue for a person’s arrest without their knowledge when false charges are alleged by someone with a sinister motive, such as revenge. For example, many domestic violence cases are based on false allegations made by an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend after a painful breakup or by a former spouse to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. If you were unaware that you were charged, your attorney would be able to show the judge that you did not know there was a warrant for your arrest. Your lack of awareness is even more likely when you are completely innocent; the party who led the police to obtain the warrant had an illegal motive and lied to the police. Showing some evidence that the complainant had an improper motive may result in a successful disposition in court.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best time to turn yourself in?
It is essential that your attorney coordinate with the police department or court before you surrender yourself on a warrant. Some courts handle arraignments in the morning, and others do them in the afternoon. Turning yourself into the court or police department at the wrong time can result in unnecessarily prolonged time in custody. An experienced attorney will know the particulars of the court and help you minimize or avoid time in custody.
How do I deal with a warrant in Michigan?
It is best to deal with a warrant as soon as possible to avoid an unnecessary arrest and time in jail. Do not turn yourself in on a warrant without a lawyer! If you are unrepresented, it can take a couple of days for your matter to be scheduled for arraignment, and the judge will be less inclined to grant a low or personal bond.
How long do warrants last in Michigan?
Felony and misdemeanor warrants never expire and last forever in Michigan.
How do you check for warrants in Michigan?
It can be challenging to determine if you have a warrant. If you check your criminal history with the Michigan State Police, information regarding an outstanding warrant might be contained in that record. Otherwise, your lawyer might have to directly check with police departments or courts to get warrant information.
How do you get a warrant lifted in Michigan?
The court will only lift most warrants if the defendant personally appears for an arraignment hearing. Under limited circumstances, a criminal defense lawyer can enter their appearance (a document stating a defendant has hired them) with the court and request the dismissal of the warrant. If a defendant cannot personally appear, the lawyer can file a motion with the court and seek an accommodation from the presiding judge.
What does surrender to the court mean?
Surrender to the court means walking into the court and presenting oneself for arraignment on a warrant. Most courts have set times for arraignment, so it is vital to only appear at the appropriate time.
What is a voluntary surrender?
Voluntary surrender means turning oneself into the court or police station voluntarily. It is advisable to make arrangements with the court or police department for a voluntary surrender time to minimize the time in custody. A judge or magistrate will be inclined to grant a low or personal bond for someone who voluntarily surrenders.
How do I get rid of a warrant in Michigan?
The two options for getting rid of a warrant are (1) turn yourself into the issuing court, or police department or (2) hire a lawyer. If you hire an attorney, they can either get the warrant canceled or make arrangements for you to surrender and get a low or a personal bond.
How long does a misdemeanor warrant stay active in Michigan?
Misdemeanor warrants never expire and stay in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) until canceled by a court.
What is a bench warrant in MI?
A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant signed by a judge for a defendant who failed to appear in court for a scheduled hearing.
How do I deal with a warrant in Michigan?
It is best not to deal with a warrant on your own. If a warrant has been issued for your arrest, it is best to hire a reputable, skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to assist you and get the warrant canceled.
How do I clear a warrant in Michigan?
The only way to clear a warrant is to get it set aside or canceled by the issuing court. Your options are to self-surrender or hire legal counsel for help.
Premier Criminal Defense Attorneys for Addressing Outstanding Warrants
The top-rated attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully and proactively helped clients turn themselves in on outstanding warrants for decades in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties and throughout Michigan, as well as in federal courts. We know all aspects of the process and have many astute strategies to address every circumstance. We will make the process as painless as possible and protect you every step of the way. Our attorneys will tenaciously act on your behalf to obtain the best result possible.
Give us a call, and one of our expert attorneys will take the time to explain the process, answer all of your questions, and devise a strategy to make things right with the court, letting you move on with peace of mind.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.