AN UNRESOLVED CRIMINAL CASE ON YOUR RECORD CAN CAUSE BIG PROBLEMS
As a Spanish speaking criminal and DUI defense attorney in the Seattle area, I speak with a lot of clients who have old warrants for their arrest that sometimes have been outstanding for many years. These can be a major problem for my clients. Many times my clients are not even aware they have a warrant from a previous criminal case or arrest until we run a record check from my office. Often times,
I get calls from people who are applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or other immigration status changes, who learned they have a warrant for their arrest that needs to be cleared up. These old warrants should be cleared up if you are applying for a change in immigration status.
An arrest warrant can be issued by a Judge on a criminal case where a person charged with a crime or on probation, does not appear at a court hearing. It can also be issued based on an arrest warrant ordered by a Judge. Often, my clients have no idea there was a court hearing they were supposed to appear for because they never received the notice in the mail. At times, the court sends the notice of the court date to a different or an incorrect address. Other times, people are placed on probation and they are required to complete certain tasks such as getting an alcohol evaluation and following through with recommendations. If the court does not receive proof that these things are completed they will schedule a hearing and if the person does not appear a warrant will be issued for their arrest. I have seen many occasions where someone is arrested and released that same night then months later, a notice is sent out for a court hearing and the person never receives the notice because they have moved or have been deported. In fact, if the police arrest someone, place them in jail and they are deported before a court hearing on the criminal charge, the Judge normally will still issue a warrant for their arrest even if they know that they have been deported. The idea is that if they reenter the country they will be arrested when they have any contact with the police. Many times people are pulled over for speeding and arrested on an old warrant they never knew existed. Frequently, they do not even know they were charged with a crime. And if they go to jail on this warrant they risk having contact with ICE again and being deported again. I see this sometimes as an endless cycle and it can have a devastating impact on the Latino community and their families. Finally, sometimes the warrant does not show up on an initial check because very regularly the courts incorrectly write Latino names (for example they place the first and last names in the wrong order). This can be a problem because the warrant will generally show up later during an immigration hearing.
If you would like to check your record to ensure there are not old warrants please call me at my office at 206-621-1554. I can go over your records and check for any old warrants. If there is a warrant often it can be quashed very easily and taken care of. Many of these cases could have been closed years ago without a warrant being issued based on a simple resolution. The main thing is to take action to resolve it. Many people know there may be a warrant but are afraid to come forward to deal with it out of fear they will go to jail and be deported. Although these fears are very real, it is typically best to move forward proactively to quash the warrant. Once the police arrest someone on a warrant they will certainly be placed in jail for some time until they see a Judge or get a bond and this can be a problem.
This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.