In Illinois, Failure to Appear is the legal term for not showing up when you have a criminal court date. If you miss a court date it is very likely a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. However, if this is your first missed court appointment, there is a good chance that your attorney will be able to ask the judge to lift the warrant without you having to turn yourself in.
But it is critical to act quickly, before anything else happens, and before you are picked up on an outstanding warrant. You will lose nearly all your leverage if you are arrested as a “fugitive”, even for a minor mistake.
If you have previously missed a court date and miss another one, there is a possibility that you can remain outside of custody while your case is pending if you can prove that it wasn’t your fault that you missed court. A judge is not as likely to lift the warrant for your arrest if you have a history of missing court dates.
Your criminal court dates are very important and the only reason why you should ever miss one is because of an extreme emergency. When you miss court you risk being taken into custody until your case gets resolved. If you posted bail you also risk losing your bail money. It is much easier for both you and your attorney to resolve your case when you are out of jail.
Failing to appear at a trial is considered to be worse than failing to appear at a normal court appearance. If you fail to appear at trial your bail will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you fail to turn yourself in within 30 days and are eventually picked up on your outstanding warrant, the judge can decide not to allow you to even have the ability to bail yourself out again.
Whatever happened, that caused you to fail to appear for your court date – whether it was a mix-up, a mistake, or just a moment of panic, please act now to fix this problem by calling us for a free consultation. There are many things we can do to try to fix this before it gets out of hand. But our options are seriously limited if you are arrested and put in jail for failure to appear.
(See Illinois Criminal Procedure Laws, article 110)
I’m not in Illinois but found out there is a warrant for me there. What do I do?
This happens all the time. You state DMV might find out about an out of state warrant in Illinois and notify you when it’s time to renew your license. Sometimes the data catches up with you.
You might not even have known about the warrant. It is very possible you weren’t notified or missed the notification when you moved.
You still are going to need a lawyer in Illinois to clear this up for you. You may or may not have to ultimately appear in court here to get it cleared up, but you definitely want it cleared.
What is an Outstanding Warrant?
An outstanding warrant, or bench warrant, is usually issued by a judge when you fail to appear for a court appearance. If a warrant is issued you will likely be arrested and taken into custody if you have any encounters with police officers. A judge can also issue a warrant if there is enough evidence to show that someone is about to commit a crime, as part of a criminal investigation by the police.
(See Illinois Criminal Procedure Laws, article 110a)
Can you help me with an Outstanding Warrant in Illinois?
If you have an outstanding bench warrant you probably are scared and you may not know what to do or what could happen to you if you turn yourself in. It is very normal to feel this way. We frequently counsel people who are in the same situation. During a free consultation, we will be able to speak with you about the specifics of your case and explain to you exactly what would happen if you decided to take care of your warrant.
Many of our clients decide to turn themselves in because they the pressures of living life and always avoiding the police get in the way with improving their living situations. It can be difficult to find a job or work. It is stressful to live knowing that at any moment you can be stopped for a speeding ticket and arrested on your warrant. Police even have technology where they can punch in your license plate or even automatically scan cars driving by to see if it pulls up a warrant. You can get pulled over and arrested, even if you were driving perfectly.
Making the decision to face your past and clear up any outstanding warrants is one that takes courage, but it is a smart decision. We are here to help you every step of the way. We will explain your options and guide you through until your case is completely finished.
If you have an old Illinois warrant from years ago, for any charge or missed court date, from driving on a suspended license to more serious criminal offenses, you can’t just expect it to go away. There is no “statute of limitations” on warrants. If you are considered a fugitive, it is an open and active case. And with new interconnected law enforcement computers everywhere, that old warrant can come back and bit you anywhere and anytime.
But the good news is that, with old cases, the prosecution may not be able to prove the underlying charges anymore. We may be able to easily get your charges dismissed in many cases.
It’s up to you to start the process by giving us a call and setting up a free consultation. Find out exactly what we can do you help you finally put this stressful problem behind you, once and for all.