Today’s post is rather short. A question that we often run into in criminal law deals with warrants. This recent question on a law bulletin board we participate on is typical:
I have a parole violation warrant an would like to know how I should turn myself in. How do I do this?
Great question! There are generally three methods for resolving an outstanding warrant.
- (1) you are picked up by the police
- (2) you turn yourself in to the local police stations
- (3) you hire an attorney to make a motion on the docket of the local court, and ask that the arrest warrant be withdrawn (recalled, vacated, or dismissed) and a return date be given.
As you might imagine, option 1 is not desirable, as that almost always results in jail. In DC, I would always get an attorney to file on the docket (option 3). You don’t want to sit in jail awaiting a hearing date on your parole violation. This is especially true if you believe they may revoke parole. In that case, you’ll sit in jail until the actual parole violation hearing, likely you will not get another bond pending the trial on your parole violation (although, you can).
The term “return date” is legal jargon. It means a new date when you appear in Court for the judge to rule on the arrest warrant, and then to set the appropriate term of your continuing parole and/or violation hearing. Be cautious of the Bail Reform Act that can cause serious problems if you violate a return to court order. If you think that may have happened, you need to contact counsel immediately, as such a violation could result in up to 5 years in jail.