If you do not attend a criminal proceeding, Massachusetts Courts will issue a warrant for your arrest.
Most envision a person with a warrant on the run from the law, hiding out, keeping a low profile. Sometimes, this is actually the case, where a criminal defendant purposely fled after the arraignment to avoid facing a likely punishment.
A different scenario occurs when someone mixes up a court date, and is not present on a scheduled date.
A third scenerio occurs in situations where a summons for a show cause or arraignment was sent out, however the defendant never received the summons. This occurs frequently in criminal motor vehicle cases where the address was incorrect with the registry or the person moving between receiving a criminal citation and the date for the hearing getting mailed out.
If a warrant issues, typically, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license. You will usually receive a notice from the RMV and be prompted to clear the warrant. If an out of state driver receives the warrant, it may not initially suspend a license but eventually, the home state will discover the warrant and prevent the driver from renewing the license.
A large number of warrants that we deal with at Broadbent & Taylor involve criminal motor vehicle summonses from 15-20 years ago that never reached the defendant. The defendant learns of the outstanding criminal charges when they are told they are not able to renew their driver’s license.
If you discover that you have an outstanding warrant (or if you know you have one and want to clear it up), it is smart to first consult an attorney. A court will allow you to walk in to clear up the warrant, but depending on the charge and the circumstances behind the missed date, the court may revoke bail, or order bail to let you go free. An attorney is key to trying to resolve the old charges in the most favorable manner.
If you have an outstanding warrant in Massachusetts that you are looking to clear up, contact Broadbent & Taylor at (508)438-1198 to discuss the options.
THIS BLOG IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. IT IS NOT MEANT TO FORM AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP