Removing old default warrants in Massachusetts
Default warrants are warrants for arrest and are issued when a person fails to appear for court or has failed to satisfy conditions of probation. If the case was pending and bail had been in place it is usually forfeited.
As a Boston criminal lawyer I receive many calls from people out of state with old default warrants from years past which now have affected them by not allowing them to renew their license or cause an issue for purposes of immigration. A person usually has to return to Massachusetts and present himself to the court in which she has defaulted. If the case is open and was never resolved the prosecutor may request bail and time to look into the matter. The judge would consider placing a money bail or conditions of release depending on the reasons why a person has been in default. The Commonwealth is given the opportunity to see if they can still make the case against the defendant. The Commonwealth will attempt to prosecute the case and will not just drop the matter because of its age. The reason the Commonwealth pursues the case is because they do not want to award a person who has defaulted and missed court and now has come back to address the situation.
A client who is out of state would have to return to Massachusetts and it is strongly suggested they appear in court with a criminal attorney. The Issue of Bail will be addressed at the first hearing. If you are in state you must be very careful, if an officer runs your criminal history and sees that you are in default they would most likely take you into custody to be presented to the court where you defaulted. It is always much more advantageous to present yourself voluntarily then to come in on a default warrant in custody because the police happen to come across you.
Attorney Frank Fernandez has been successful at waiving his clients appearance for certain status dates after the initial appearance while the Commonwealth attempts to see if they can still make a case or not.
If the matter has been resolved and the default warrant is because of money owed or a failure to comply with probation then a probation violation hearing would be set. Probation violations usually have an initial appearance in which the probation officer serves the defendant with notice of the violations and request the court for final surrender date. Probation can request detention, there is no bail rather the judge decides whether a person may remain on release or be detained pending a final hearing. Probation violations are probable cause hearings where the rules of evidence are relaxed. Hearsay is allowed at a probation violation hearing, the probation officer usually testifies as to what conditions have not been met and if necessary would summons an officer to testify as to violations or any other failure to comply with the conditions of probation.
Frank Fernandez has had great success in removing default warrants and resolving old cases which are either still pending or in violation of probation. An attorney must be creative and find a way to resolve the case which is most favorable to the client. Many times if the case is still pending the Commonwealth is unable to produce witnesses or evidence to move forward on the matter. On the other hand attorney Fernandez has dealt with many cases that were over 10 years old in which the Commonwealth still had the evidence and witnesses needed to proceed against the defendant. Old drug cases may have evidence such as the drugs which have been destroyed and thus the Commonwealth is unable to proceed. Many victim crimes have old addresses and contact information for witnesses or victims which make it difficult for the Commonwealth to locate necessary witnesses.
If you have an old default warrant which is affecting your ability to get a driver’s license at the Registry of motor vehicles or somehow is affecting your immigration status it is important to speak with a criminal lawyer and get advice as to how to remove the default warrant and resolve the open matter. Feel free to call and speak with a Boston criminal lawyer about your specific situation. We offer free consultations 617-393-0250.