How an outstanding arrest warrant can be handled.
If you have a warrant for your arrest, or even if you don’t, you should find out. However, you need to follow certain procedures. You could do this on your own, but I would be very cautious especially if you have any unpaid or outstanding fines, past failures to appear (FTA’s) in court, any violations of probation (VOP’s) from a previous conviction or in some cases if you are not a citizen . If none of these apply to you, then you may consider appearing in person at the Sonoma County Superior Court, 600 Administration Drive, Room 105-J in Santa Rosa. If you have not hired counsel to clear your warrant then you must present yourself at the window in Room 105-J at 8:00 a.m., Monday through Friday.
Please keep in mind that, “The decision to recall the warrant or “clear” the warrant is up to the judge.” Not every judge is sympathetic or willing to just clear or recall the warrant. You have a good likelihood of being remanded (to jail) right there on the spot. Therefore, it is probably in your best interest to hire counsel who skillfully and more conveniently can set the matter downstairs with the clerk for a specific time and date for the clear warrant calendar. Please also keep in mind that if you are released from jail on a bail bond, you must submit a letter of Reassumption of Liability from the Bonding Agency.
Clear Warrants Yourself – Taking a Risk!
Please be aware that if you do go downstairs to Room 105-J to clear your warrant at the window, the clerk on duty may not allow you to clear the warrant if it states on the Court Minute Sheet or somewhere on the record that they are not to re-calendar.
The clerk can reject your ability to clear the warrant because of your untimeliness. If you present yourself after 8:30 a.m., they will deny your request and may not tell the reason.
If you have a no bail situation or have any other failures to appear on your record, you may be rejected and have to hire an attorney. Do not take any chances. Instead, consult with Michael A. Fiumara to advise you and clear your warrant so that you are not remanded to jail in an embarrassing situation before dozens of onlookers in court.
Fiumara Law, PC will do the following for you if you retain the firm to clear your outstanding DUI misdemeanor or felony warrant:
- We will speak with the clerk in Room 105-J to match your case with your date of birth and make certain that you are given a courtroom to appear on the clear warrant calendar the very next day or as soon as possible before a CHP officer comes to arrest you at your home or place of work.
- We obtain a copy of the paperwork and slip which contains all the information for the very next day’s appearance so that there is proof.
- We prepare each defendant for what the bailiff might do, and for any argument that the district attorney may pose in order to remand the defendant into custody.
- We will advise you on how to dress, what to say, and how to present yourself should the judge ask you direct questions as to why you were not present for court and/or didn’t sign up for a particular program, or pay a fine or perform any other term or condition of your sentence or probation. Being thorough and prepared is key.
- We will also work with your medical providers and/or employer to develop a good relationship with either the district attorney, or the judge, to keep you out of custody until your case is actually resolved or tried. A letter from your doctor about illness or disability, letters and references from employers will be helpful for counsel to be able to show the court that you are worthy of the warrant being cleared and staying out of jail until your case is either dismissed, settled or tried.
If you decide to clear your warrant on your own, please be mindful that each county has its own particular rules, protocol, customs and practices. In Sonoma County you must appear in person as stated above, and there are certain hours that you need to be present at the window or you will not get the date to clear your warrant and you will have to come back the next day or two. This is subject to change.
Without counsel you are in danger of not being adequately prepared to answer the judge or the district attorney. You may also encounter a hostile bailiff or court officer that may not be sympathetic to your case. You may also have to wait the entire day because the clear warrant calendar does not have priority.
However, if you decide to hire private council like myself, I will expedite getting through the morning calendar quickly and efficiently with a much less likelihood of you being remanded into custody. Of course, there are no guarantees, but hiring private counsel makes a world of difference with clearing warrants. This is especially true now when, according to statewide traffic records for 2008, 790 people were killed in collisions where alcohol or drugs were a factor. In that year, more than 217,000 DUI arrests were made by law enforcement agencies. Hence, the DUI enforcement sweep will send California Highway Patrol Officers into your neighbor and arrest you especially if you have a DUI felony or misdemeanor arrest warrant hanging over your head.
This DUI enforcement sweep will take place because it is being funded by a $311,568 Federal Highway Safety Grant according to a recent March 6th, 2010 Press Democrat newspaper article (view here).