Can I still have a warrant for my arrest after 7 years?

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Can I still have a warrant for my arrest after 7 years?

I was charged with petty theft 9 years ago when I was a resident of CA. When I talked to my public defense she assured I had nothing to worry about and it would be taken care of. I unfortunately had to leave CA when I had a death in the family and now almost 10 years later after running a background check I see this on my record. What do I do?

Asked on June 4, 2019 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There is something called the "statute of limitations". In criminal law, this has to do with the time in which charges must be brought. If they are not filed within the statutory time period then the state is barred from filing them later. However, once a warrant is issued, the statute no longer applies. Accordingly, warrants do not expire so you'll have to go to court to clear this up. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local criminal law attorney who can best advise you further.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Believe it or not, arrest warrants never go away unless a judge (the court which issued them) cancels or dismisses them; they do not have a statute of limitations. The court will only cancel or dismiss them if you appear before it and face the consequences. You are strongly encouraged to retain an attorney to help you resolve this--you will have to go to that court, but you want a lawyer with you when you do so.


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