Hi: I was arrested in Pa back in Jan. 2012 on the charge of a DUI after having had an accident. The arresting officer found a bottle of Klonapin (which I clearly wasn't hiding) on my console and had me taken to the hospital for a blood test. I was prescribed the med due to intense anxiety attacks I suffer from. I have no priors and have clean driving record.I went to court today and was granted Accelerated Rehabilitation which involves paying a $1,400 fine, doing community services (how much TBD), attending two DUI classes on 2 consecutive weekends (at a cost of $200), and the revocation of my license for a month. My next court date is September 4th. While $1,600 may not seem like a lot of money, I lost over $400,000--my entire life savings--in a gold scam (which is why I was put on anti-anxiety medication), lost the use of my vehicle which I needed for my work (mobile dog groomer), now have no money and no job. My questions are as follows:If I don't make my next court appearance on Sept. 4th, a bench warrant will be issued for my arrest. As I'm no longer living in PA, does that warrant have any power outside the State of PA? For example, if I got pulled over by the police in another state, would I be held for extradition to PA? How long to bench warrants remain in effect?If I have a license from another state, can the police confiscate that license?Not trying to avoid my responsibility but this does smack of a money-making racket from what I've observed. The courts/state/powers to be really don't want to put a first time offender like me in jail because I'm sure they have bigger fish to fry. But I want to know what I can expect from this.Thank you,Kathy
State/Country relating to question: Pennsylvania
Nothing. You're my first attempt to get an answer as I can't afford legal help.
Hello.If a warrant is issued for your arrest, it can be served on you in any state. It is unlikely the police will track you down and serve it, but if you are ever pulled over or interact with law enforcement, they will probably find the warrant and arrest you. A bench warrant never expires so it is out there until it is quashed (the court terminates it) or the case is over. If you are arrested on a bench warrant, the home state has 30 days to decide whether to get you and you can be held in jail for that time (which can be extended to 60 days for good cause). The police won't confiscate your license, but if you are revoked in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania will share that information with most any other state and that could have consequences for your license in your home state. In addition, you will lose your ARD status and you can be prosecuted to the point where you will have a record. So, avoiding your responsibilities has a lot of negative consequences for you and will probably end up costing you far more than the fines you have been assessed in the long run.Realistically, if you do everything else that is part of your probation and you have been unable to pay back all the fines because of economic hardship, a judge is not likely to strike the ARD. If you otherwise perform well and you find yourself coming up on the date of court, you can try to file a motion with the court to either extend the time for you to pay the fines or to convert the remaining fines into community service. If you are communicative with the court about your issues and are otherwise compliant, judges are usually understanding of someone's economic circumstances and are not interested in punishing someone merely because they have financial hardship. If you are proactive and open with the court, it will usually benefit you more than fleeing the jurisdiction and failing to comply will. Obviously, it is your decision, but I have had a lot of experience trying to help people clear up bench warrants that are older and it is a much bigger hassle than you would imagine. In my experience, it is better to deal with the issue up front then trying to clean it up later (and the court is far more understanding as well).
8 years legal experience, primarily in criminal justice
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