You realize you have an old charge pending in court… now what?
You may know that you had a charge filed against you in the past, or you may have just discovered that you were charged, perhaps years ago, and you never knew about it until now. What do you do now? What if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest?
Sometimes, for whatever reasons they may have, people who were charged with a crime decide not to face the case, and they do not appear for court when ordered. And sometimes, people move, maybe out of state, and actually never know that a charge is pending against them. Whatever the case may be, neither a felony or a misdemeanor charge will never go away by itself, no matter how old it is.
The problem with having an outstanding charge is that if you are ever stopped by the police for a traffic ticket, or if you apply for certain jobs, or if you apply for certain licenses, you can be arrested at any time on the spot. You may even be arrested at the point of entry or departure at an airport or border crossing. If the charge is serious enough, even if you are in another state or country, you may be extradited back to where the charge arose. The appropriate and smart way to deal with an old case is to hire an attorney and have the attorney make arrangements to turn yourself in, and deal with it. In some cases, the lawyer can get the warrant set aside and resolve a case without you having to personally appear.
Why do I need an attorney if I cooperate and turn myself in?
The fact of the matter is that if you face any criminal charge, you need an attorney. You especially need an attorney for an old outstanding case because when you get to court the judge will be deciding what your bond will be, and the fact that you were an absconder for a long time will lead the judge to believe he or she should set a high bond to make sure you stay in jail or you will show up when ordered. Even if you did not know the charge was out there, often times judges and prosecutors assume you did know about it and treat you like a person who deliberately ignored court orders. This is particularly true if you are picked up rather than turning yourself in.
An experienced, smart attorney will know how to explain to the judge your circumstances so that a personal or low bond may be imposed. A top-rated attorney knows what is important to a judge as reasons for failure to appear, and can organize evidence that may exist to explain your failure to appear. Throwing yourself upon the mercy of the court is often a bad idea. You want to have a hand in how such mercy may be dealt out, and it should be your attorney who plays a role in how it is dealt, not you. Having a retained attorney alone will say volumes about your sincerity.
What are the steps involved in surrendering myself?
Once you have retained a reputable, top-rated attorney, the attorney will arrange everything. The attorney will first identify and contact the officer currently in charge of your case and inform the officer that you are represented and you intend to surrender. This action is critical because it will prevent you from being arrested anywhere anytime, and it will go a long way to get a recommendation from the officer of a personal or low bond, depending on the nature of the charge, of course. At very least, the officer may leave bond up to the discretion of the judge, which will greatly impress the judge. Why would the officer help in this way? Because you have made the officer’s life easier, and you have done the honorable thing by attempting to address the case. In some cases, it may be possible to post a sum of money to get a warrant set aside. If a bond gets posted in cash, it is generally returned at the end of the case.
The next step will be a court date where the prosecutor decides if he still has enough evidence to proceed in the case. With old cases, evidence sometimes gets lost and witnesses sometimes disappear or forget things. All of this will often help get the case dismissed or lead to a very favorable, amicable resolution.
A power law firm to lead you successfully through the process
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are widely known and respected by prosecutors and judges alike as being prepared and aggressive, yet honorable and reputable: precisely who you want by your side when you surrender.
The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. We also have strong relationships and are well respected by officers, prosecutors and judges throughout Michigan, This helps us get the best possible results for our clients. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.
“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!“
– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.