Have you ever felt like you are in a legal black hole that you can’t get out of because of numerous warrants out of various courts for traffic tickets and misdemeanors? Typically when you’ve gotten to this stage, it involves one or more tickets for driving with a suspended license.
Because it is almost impossible to get around in Southern California without a driver license, it becomes a tangled web of citations, failure to appears and warrants. This is where a good attorney can help you.
When clients come into my office in this predicament, I will make sure that all cases and warrants out of all courts and counties are addressed.
_ The first step is to make an appearance in each respective court and get the warrants recalled. By doing so, the threat of arrest is alleviated and many times this will enable the defendant to obtain a license.
_ Secondly, once the warrants are recalled on cases where the defendant has already plead guilty and has been sentenced, it is likely that the defendant owes on a fine or needs to submit proof of enrollment in a program such as a first offender alcohol program. In some situations, if the defendant is unable to pay the outstanding fine the court may convert the fine to community service. Judges want to help defendants who are willing to take responsibility and show a willingness to resolve their outstanding obligations to the court. The sooner you take the initiative and proactively address the matter in court through your attorney, the better. If multiple courts are involved, this process must happen in each court before the hold on the license is released and the defendant can obtain it…
_ Thirdly, if the outstanding warrant involves a case in which the defendant has failed to appear in court and is still an open case, the fact that the other warrants have been recalled and the defendant has been reinstated on probation on the other cases is a huge plus when addressing the new cases. Once the judge sees a good faith effort to address one case, he or she is more likely to offer a better deal to the defendant or in some cases, the District Attorney will even be willing to dismiss the new case or reduce it to an infraction so that the
defendant does not suffer any more points on his DMV record. That is why it is preferable to get the warrant recalled on the older cases first. Remember, you always have a right to a jury trial in an open misdemeanor case. That can be leverage when negotiating with the District Attorney.
_ Fourthly, what if you are unable to obtain your license for one reason or another and you want to resolve the new case and get the warrant recalled and stay out of jail? In these circumstances, it is still possible to get the case resolved with a favorable outcome. With the court’s permission, it is possible to plead guilty to the charge but put off sentencing sometimes for as long as six months to even a year. This requires the defendant to waive his right to be sentenced in a timely manner. By so doing, the court is, in essence, giving the defendant more time to complete any outstanding obligations in order for the defendant to obtain his license. At the sentencing six months later or any other designated time, if the defendant brings his license to court, the court will impose a pre-agreed upon a sentence which is substantially lighter than what otherwise would be imposed. In some cases, the court will even dismiss the case.
_ Finally, if there are infractions such as speeding tickets or other miscellaneous matters in warrant status, an attorney can appear for the defendant and ask the judge to recall these warrants also. The defendant does have a right to a bench trial by the judge and if traffic school is not an option, then setting the matter for trial may be the next best option. If the ticketing officer does not show up, your case will be dismissed. In the case that he does show up for trial, it may be possible to negotiate with the officer and the judge and have the charges or fine reduced.
In summary, when faced with multiple warrants in various courts for outstanding traffic matters, it is never too late to resolve the situation and get your life back on track. What may seem like an overwhelming situation is not insurmountable and the quicker you act,
For more info, please contact a professional criminal lawyer.