How To Quash A Criminal Warrant In Arizona
A very common question that we get regarding criminal cases is what happens if I miss my court date and I have a warrant. It’s a very common thing that happens. We’re all extremely busy, everybody has a lot going on.
Sometimes you’ll get a traffic ticket or you’ll get a court date and you’ll just miss it, you’ll just forget about it. You’re busy with your family, you’re busy with your job, whatever it is, you happen to miss your court date. Now, the court has issued a warrant for your arrest and they’ve suspended your license.
So, what can you do? Well, some people will ask us, “Well what if I just continue to ignore it.” You can do that, you can continue to ignore it. Nothing’s going to happen to your case.
There’s no expiration date for a warrant. A warrant just puts the case on hold. It’s saying, “This case has been charged, “it’s going to be pending.” But there is no statute of limitations or anything like that on it. It’s basically saying, “We’re going to put this case on hold “until this individual makes contact with the court, “or that person is arrested “and brought in front of the judge.”
So it stops the case. Everything is done. So, we’ve had people come to us with warrants from 20 years ago, the case still exists. Just because it’s been 20 years doesn’t mean that the case gets thrown out. Now, 20 years later, that officer may not be around, anybody who was involved in the case at all may not be around or they may have moved jobs, or retired, or passed away, who knows, but the case is still there.
The court is still going to wait for that individual to make contact with the court so the case can continue to progress. The other big issue is that when you have a warrant, it suspends your license, and Arizona is a state that notifies all of the other states.
So, I can’t tell you what other states are going to do with that, but Arizona, as soon as the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department knows that you have a warrant, the court notifies the MVD. As soon as the MVD notices that, they’re going to send that information around to throughout the rest of the country. So if you’re driving in Texas or California or some of these other states, they may or may not have an issue with that, it depends on the charge, it depends on specifically what they want to do with it, but some of them, they won’t have an issue with it and you should be free to drive until you have to go to renew your license.
Then, when you do that, then they’re going to have an issue. They’re going to say, “You have to clear up that warrant “out of Arizona.” Some other states, it’s immediate. We’ve spoken with people from other places like Colorado, or Oregon, or Seattle, or Washington, and the license suspension is essentially immediate.
It just kind of depends on how the MVD’s and how the states are communicating with one another, but obviously that’s a big problem. If you miss your court date and you want to ignore it, at some point you’re going to have a licensing issue when you’re out of state.
There’s what’s called an interstate compact, the states communicate with one another and so you’re not going to be able to just leave Arizona and get around it forever.
The way that you quash a warrant, or the way that you deal with a warrant, is by quashing a warrant. It’s called a quash with a Q.
Some people say “squash”, which is not. That’s a delicious vegetable. But what we’re talking about here is quashing a warrant. You want to take that warrant and quash it. You want to revert the case back to as it would have been if you had not missed your court date.
So we want to take it back and say “this is what happened. “We’re sorry that the court date was missed, “it was an oversight. “There was a medical or family emergency. “Something happened where that court date was missed, “but now, we’re reaching back out. “We want to rectify the situation. “We want to reestablish contact with the court.” Generally, in a criminal case, it depends on the charge as to whether or not the court is going to automatically quash that warrant or if they’re going to require something of you.
Many judges and depending on the length of the time, the length of time that the warrant has been active, some judges may want you to come back and personally appear in court, or they may want you to post a bond.
So they may say “okay since you live out of state “and you have missed your court date, “we want you to post a $2000 bond “or a $5000 bond for a smaller misdemeanor case.” If this is a felony, in order to basically get that warrant quashed in a major felony case, you’re going to have to come back.
You’re going to have to post a bond. You’re going to have to post a lot of money to secure your appearance, or if it’s something that’s very basic, like the summons, the notice of your felony case was sent to the wrong address, you can just quash that warrant pretty quickly and just reset it for your initial appearance.
This happens all the time where they’ll mail a summons to somebody’s wrong address.
So there’s a lot of different variables, as to how judges will treat a warrant case and so you should definitely consult with an attorney. If you decide you have a warrant and you want to see what’s going to happen in it, but generally it’s going to require one of a couple of things.
One, you personally appear. Two, you post a bond. Or three, you have a very good cause or you have an attorney to explain that cause on your behalf. In our experience, judges like to see that you have a lawyer on it.
They generally know who we are. They know that we are reputable. They know that we’re local. They know, they’ve dealt with us before and so as soon as they see that we’re representing you, they quash the warrant.
They may not even require you to post a bond depending on the nature of the charge. So the solution to having a warrant, you need to file a motion to quash the warrant. If they’re suspending your license, which they will be, you want to ask them to lift the suspension on your license as well. It’s called a motion to quash. Quash with a Q not squash with an S. Quash the warrant, and ask the judge to revert the case back to as it would have been had you not missed that court date. So ask them to reset an arraignment for you, or vacate the arraignment and schedule it for a pretrial conference the next court date, or a status conference in a felony case.
It really depends on what is the charge that you’ve been charged with and what you want to ask the judge to do, but you have to quash the warrant in order for the case to be reopened. So I hope you found that helpful.
If you have any questions about the process, if you’re facing a warrant and you want to get it resolved quickly, We move very quickly on these cases,
So, from the time that you bring us on board to help, we can generally have a warrant, a motion to quash filed that same day, but sometimes it is, it can take ten days for the government to respond to that motion.
Sometimes it takes a while depending on the judge to actually quash the warrant and read it. Some small jurisdictions move slowly and it just sits on the judge’s desk for a little bit. That’s about as good as we can do. We can expedite the motion.
We’ve got a lot of good contacts with judicial assistants and bailiffs and other people who work in the courts to say “hey, we need you to nudge that judge a little bit “and get them to make a ruling on our motion to quash, “because this person’s coming back into the country “and they can’t get in. “Or this person needs to drive to work “and they gotta get this warrant quashed “so they can get their license back.” There are ways that we get it done quickly, but if you have a question about it, feel free to call our office on any type of a warrant case.
We’re happy to sit down with you and review your options. Thanks for watching.
There is a myriad of different reasons why someone might miss a court date. Amid the stresses of everyday life, staying on top of a case can be a challenge. As a result, it can be very easy to accidentally miss a court date. It is a very common occurrence. When this happens, people tend to worry about the consequences of missing the court date, and generally have a lot of questions. The main questions asked are: what are the consequences of missing a court date, and what can be done about them?
After someone misses a court date, the court will issue a warrant for that person’s arrest and suspend their license. At this point, the case will essentially be put on hold until that person contacts the court in some capacity. While this may not necessarily hurt your case, it certainly does not help it in any way. Because the charges have already been filed, statutes of limitations do not apply. In other words, a case could theoretically sit in limbo forever. This doesn’t mean that the case is thrown out or dismissed in any way, it just hasn’t moved forward from the point of the missed court date. While it may be tempting to simply ignore the issue after a court date has been missed, it does not make the problem disappear.
The state of Arizona notifies all of the other states when someone’s license is suspended. How each state handles that information may vary. Some states may choose to do nothing, while others may have certain restrictions. Some states will allow you to drive until it comes time to renew your license. At that point, you will need to take care of the Arizona suspension in order to get an out of state license. Sooner or later, the Arizona warrant will need to be addressed in order to avoid licensing issues in any state.
How a warrant is dealt with once it has been issued is by “quashing” it. Quashing a warrant essentially means reverting the case back to the way it was before the court date was missed. In criminal cases, whether or not a court will automatically quash a warrant is generally dependent on the nature of the original charge. A quash is requested of a court by means of legal motion, often drafted by an attorney.
Another factor in determining whether a warrant will be quashed is the length of time between when the warrant was issued and what the quash was requested. Some judges may require defendants to physically appear in court or post a bond. Sometimes, in order to quash a warrant, a judge will require a substantially viable reason for missing the court date.
There are many variables in how judges handle warrant cases, which is why it is extremely important to consult an attorney if there is a warrant against you. If you have a suspended license because you missed a court date, contact us immediately. We offer free case evaluations and will be able to put a plan together that will best suit your case.