If you've missed court due to an illness, confusion as to your next court date, simply forgot your court date, or arrived to court late; then it's likely the Judge has issued a warrant for your arrest. In the event you have an outstanding warrant you must take the steps necessary to ensure the warrant is recalled. It's always best to get any warrant recalled as soon as possible; first, so you don't have to look over your shoulder at every turn; next, so you have control over the date and time your warrant is handled; and finally so it doesn't interfere with work, child care, etc. I've personally handled cases where Clients are picked up on Bench Warrants and subsequently lose their jobs and housing because of incarceration. Warrants are recalled more often when you appear in court on your own accord versus being arrested on the warrant and brought into court by Police or Deputies. Judge's see you as being more credible regarding the reason you missed court, when you show initiative and the responsibility of appearing in court as soon as you are made aware of an outstanding warrant.
The foregoing applies to Misdemeanor Cases only. Should you have a felony case and miss court, you could be facing a bond revocation and new charge of Failure to Appear in a Felony Case, which is an "E" Felony that carries 1-6 years in jail and is governed under Tennessee Code Annotated 39-16-609. Warrant recalls in Criminal Court are very difficult, so its best to be aware of your court date and plan accordingly so you can make it to court before 9am.
Bench Warrant Recall Procedures
The best method of having a Bench Warrant recalled is to retain the services of an Attorney. Any Attorney who regularly practices in the Shelby County General Sessions Courts where the warrant has been issued, will be knowledgeable regarding the procedures to follow in that particular court, know the Judge's temperament, and the chances of a successful Bench Warrant recall.
Once you have retained an Attorney, she can address the Judge for permission to have the matter added to the Court's Docket. Once the Judge approves the matter being added to the Docket, your Attorney will:
1) Order your Case Jacket from the Clerk's Office,
2) Have the Courtroom Clerk add the Case to the docket,
3) Add your Case information to the Ticket Request Sheet
located outside the Attorney General's Office in the lower
4) Complete a Bench Warrant Recall Form which includes
the reason you missed court.
Please be aware that only valid justifiable reasons will result in the recall of a Bench Warrant. Also, the Judge could very well ask you demanding questions regarding this situation, so its best to tell the truth and stick with it. Attorneys can only say so much in your defense and often Judges will address those with warrants directly before deciding whether or not to recall the warrant. Be aware that the longer the warrant is outstanding the more difficult it will be to get the warrant recalled.
Also, in the event you can't or don't want to retain an Attorney to assist with your Bench Warrant Recall, it is permissible to go it alone and address the Judge on your own behalf. In my opinion, your chances of a successful Bench Warrant recall happens most often when an Attorney is addressing the Court on your behalf.
Should you find yourself facing criminal charges, contact an experienced and reliable Law Office, Tawanda Williams Law Office, PLLC at 901-206-8200.