I am wanted on a warrant; what should I do?

I am wanted on a warrant; what should I do?

The worst thing to do is NOTHING. One time, I had a person call me whose husband was an inmate in the Cook County Jail. That is Chicago. That is a rough jail. A bad place to be.

“What happened?” I asked her.

She told me that her husband left from Chicago with his boss on a trip to Toronto. When they went through customs at the airport, the Canadian authorities stopped him, detained him, told him he had a warrant (in front of his boss!), and then shipped him back to Chicago.

When he arrived at Chicago, he was arrested by the Chicago Police Department on the warrant and shipped to the jail. He waited there, in jail, for over TWO WEEKS before he was extradited to the state that issued the warrant.

The real shame was that the warrant was issued because of a failure to pay only a few hundred dollars in outstanding costs. Two weeks in jail for only a few hundred dollars.

So you have a warrant for your arrest – what should you do? Call an attorney. That’s a good start. Most – including me – will help you do basic work without charge. If you do not want to call an attorney, you should contact the county in the state that issued the warrant. Speak to the sheriff. Ask them if the warrant is active or not.
Ask them if the warrant is extraditable and, if so, from where. In other words, if I am arrested on the warrant, will you come and get me? If the court that issued the warrant is in a county in Oregon and you live in Pennsylvania, chances are that Oregon is not going to come get you unless it’s for something really serious: robbery, arson, murder, etc.

Warrants from local courts are a big problem. The BEST thing to do is contact an attorney to help you guide you through the process of handling the warrant on YOUR TERMS. The WORST thing to do, as I said above is NOTHING.


If you do nothing, then the warrant is handled NOT on your terms: by a sheriff arresting you, at your home, maybe in front of your wife and kids. Or a police officer arresting you on learning of the warrant after you sped through a red light, made a turn on red when you cannot turn on red, or when you were just a passenger in a car stopped for something.

If you have a warrant – or even just think you do – call (215) 752-0600 and speak to me. I will help you through the process.