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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Customer Question

I was told by a collection agency they had filed a failure to appear warrant against me. Is that possible?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.

Hello there:

Thank you for your questions. To rephrase, the question is whether a private entity or person can file an arrest warrant for failure to appear. I will start by saying that, because the nuances of every case are different, you should not rely on this information as advice or apply it to a specific situation without a more thorough consultation with counsel. But that said, the answer is no. "Failure to appear" is a crime where a criminal defendant who has been lawfully summoned or ordered to appear in court fails to do so. A warrant may be issued by the court or by law enforcement, but a private individual or company does not have the state's power to decide for someone to be arrested. Frankly, even if it was possible, why tell the person who is to be arrested? Why not just have them arrested? Why give them any warning? It it not legally possible, and warning the person would not make sense anyway. In a word, the answer is "no."

 

Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What if the collection agency claims they asked the court to issue the warrant, but the court has not informed me of any action as such?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is the court required to inform me of a failure to appear warrant?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.

I appreciate the new question, but it does not change the answer. "Failure to appear" is a crime where a criminal defendant who has been lawfully summoned or ordered to appear in court fails to do so. If there is no summons or order to appear, there is no warrant, period.

 

Hypothetically, if you did fail to appear for a mandatory court appearance, the sheriff's office would call you to let you know except for some serious crimes.

 

If there are any lingering doubts, it is possible to just call the sheriff's office in the county where the warrant allegedly issued and ask if there is an outstanding warrant. They are usually glad to tell you for a low-level offense if there is because people oftentimes turn themselves in and it saves them a trip.

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