Warrant Recalls in San Diego
Imagine that you are pulled over by the San Diego Police for having an outstanding warrant. What if you did not know? Maybe you failed to make a court appearance? Or perhaps you have been deemed in contempt of court? What is the difference between the two? How do you recall and quash this warrant? If you find yourself with an active warrant for your arrest it is essential that you contact a warrant recall criminal defense lawyer. At Monder Law Group, our firm prides itself on our extensive knowledge and experience handling warrant recalls in San Diego. We understand that it is your liberty and livelihood at stake and will work quickly and effectively to recall your warrant and get you back in good standing with the court. Whether you have been picked or are afraid of getting picked up on an outstanding warrant, give us a call today at (619)405-0063, so we may take control of the situation by discussing the options available to you.
Arrest Warrant vs. Bench Warrant
In California law enforcement is authorized to make an arrest without a warrant for criminal conduct personally witnessed by the arresting officer. An arrest warrant is required when law enforcement only has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. To request an arrest warrant, law enforcement must file a complaint with the court in the jurisdiction where the alleged criminal activity took place. To issue an arrest warrant, the judge must find that law enforcement provided probable cause that the person named in the warrant committed a crime. Probable cause requires that law enforcement have evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that you have in fact committed a crime. In essence, an arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement to arrest you and incarcerate you. On the other hand, a bench warrant is issued by a judge based on failure to appear in court or activity considered to be in contempt of court. Once the judge issues the bench warrant against you, the court clerk will ensure that law enforcement enters your warrant into the National Crime Information Center to effectuate your arrest. In California a bench warrant authorizes law enforcement to arrest you and bring you directly before court that issued the bench warrant.
How can I find out if I have an outstanding warrant?
If you think you might have an outstanding warrant issued out of a San Diego Superior Court, you can look it up online at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department website. They have an online warrant information database for criminal defendant warrants that is updated every 24 hours. You will need to provide the following information to search the warrant information database:
- Your last name;
- Your first name;
- Your middle name; and
- The year you were born.
Do I need to appear in court to recall a bench warrant?
If your bench warrant arose from a misdemeanor offense, you do not have to appear in court to have your warrant recalled. You may retain a warrant recall attorney to represent you and appear in court on your behalf. However, if your bench warrant arose from a felony offense, the court will require that you personally appear in court to have your warrant recalled. You should still retain a warrant recall attorney to represent you and explain your personal circumstances to the court.
Why do I need an attorney to clear a bench warrant?
To clear a bench warrant you should retain a warrant recall attorney to schedule a hearing to recall the warrant and arrange to have you turn yourself over in court. At the hearing a knowledgeable warrant recall attorney will be better equipped to explain your personal circumstances and address the judge’s concerns. With the help of an experienced warrant recall attorney you may avoid going into custody altogether. However, if you do have to go into custody your attorney will let you know ahead of time to get your affairs in order and post your bail prior to going into custody. Without a warrant recall attorney, nothing can prevent law enforcement from randomly arresting you. Once you are arrested on a bench warrant you may very well go straight from court to jail where you will remain until you can post bail. If you need to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, you will certainly need a criminal defense attorney.
Understanding Penal Code Section 978.5
In San Diego failure to appear in court is governed by Penal Code section 978.5, the law states that any person who is required by law to appear in court and fails to make a court appearance may be issued a bench warrant for arrest and charged with a misdemeanor. It is important to note that you are required by law to appear in court at a specific time and place whenever a court orders you to personally appear.
When are you required by law to appear in court?
- When you have been released from arrest upon citation by a peace officer and you signed a promise to personally appear.
- When an indictment has been filed against you in the superior court and the court has ordered you to personally appear for your arraignment.
- When you have been released from custody on bail and ordered by the judge to personally appear.
- When you have been released from custody on your own recognizance and promised to personally appear.
- When you have been released from custody on probation and ordered by the judge to personally appear for your progress report hearing.
- When you have been released from custody on probation and ordered by the judge to personally appear in court to show proof of enrollment or completion of a condition.
What must a prosecutor prove for a failure to appear in court?
To be convicted under PC 978.5, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The court ordered you to personally appear;
- You knew about the scheduled court date;
- You had the ability to appear in court;
- You willfully evaded the process of the court.
What are the penalties for failure to appear in court?
A violation of Penal Code section 978.5 is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted for failure to appear in court, you may face up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and informal probation.
What are the defenses for failure to appear in court?
The prosecution has the burden of proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you were required by law to make a court appearance and failed to appear. If a single element of the offense is missing, then you cannot be convicted under Penal Code section 978.5. These are some of the defenses that can be used to avoid a misdemeanor conviction for failure to appear in court.
- You were not intentionally failing to appear in court.
- You did not receive a notice to appear in court.
- You lacked the ability to appear in court.
Understanding Penal Code Section 166
In San Diego contempt of court is governed by Penal Code section 166, the law states that any person in contempt of court may be issued a bench warrant and charged with a misdemeanor.
What are examples of contempt of court?
- Willful Violation of a Court Order
- Disorderly Conduct in the Presence of the Court
Willful Resistance to the Process of the Court
- Willful Disobedience to be Sworn or Answer a Material Question
What type of court orders are regulated by penal code section 166?
California Penal Code section 166 regulates the willful violation of restraining orders, protective orders, and stay away orders issued by a court.
What type of court orders are not regulated by penal code section 166?
Penal Code section 166 does not apply to the violation of probation conditions set forth by a court. This is a separate offense in California and will be regulated by Penal Code Section 1203.2.
What must a prosecutor prove for a violation of a court order?
To be convicted under PC 166, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The court issued you a written order;
- You knew about the court order;
- You had the ability to follow the court order; and
- You willfully violated the court order.
What are the penalties for contempt of court?
A violation of Penal Code section 166 is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted for contempt of court, you may face up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and informal probation.
What are the defenses for contempt of court?
The prosecution has the burden of proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in contempt of court. If a single element of the offense is missing, then you cannot be convicted under Penal Code section 166. These are some of the defenses that can be used to avoid a misdemeanor conviction for contempt of court.
- You were not intentionally in contempt if the court.
- You were not aware that the court issued you an order.
- You lacked the ability to follow the court order.
Warrant Recalls Criminal Lawyer in San Diego
Failure to comply with a court order may result in a bench warrant for your arrest. Outstanding warrants can carry serious consequences when not handled properly. You need to retain an experienced warrant recall criminal defense attorney who understands the implications of a bench warrant. Attorney Monder handles warrant recall cases every day and has a great reputation in the legal community of San Diego. He will protect your liberty by taking control of the situation, recalling the warrant with the issuing court, communicating with law enforcement to arrange for you to voluntarily turn yourself in, and explaining to the judge the special circumstances that bring you before the court. If you also need your previous record expunged, Monder Criminal Lawyer Group is the place to go. Ensure your best defense by contacting San Diego warrant recall defense attorney Vik Monder at (619)405-0063!