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A. Stewart
A. Stewart, Barrister
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What is the expiry date on an arrest warrant for non-payment

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What is the expiry date on an arrest warrant for non-payment of a court fine (I paid only the first 2 installments of a fine, leaving an unpaid balance of about £1000)? Is it 12 months or 5 years ? What would be the expiry date on a failure to attend police bail (on a fairly minor issue, credit card misuse - my own) back in 1991 - Could I still be charged with this minor offense after all these years ?

Hi

A warrant to arrest remains in force until it is executed or withdrawn, except where a bail date is given. A warrant not executed by a given bail date becomes invalid.

It is unlikely that you will be charged for this minor offence after 17 years and I'm sure it has been 'cleared up' by the police because the time limit of commencing prosecution within 6 months has been exceeded.

Hope this helps.

Regards.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for that..

 

So just to clarify - the minor offense was a potential deception as I'd continued to use my credit card after being told not to do so by the bank. I'm presuming from what you're saying there would be an effective statute of limitations on this kind of matter after a certain period so there would no longer be any active arrest warrant for me on this?

Re the half-paid court fine, this was also from 1991. I'm presuming when I didn't pay the court would have issued a warrant for my arrest. Could I still be arrested for non-payment after all these years, or would this matter have expired ?

 

Many thanks for your assistance with this..

Hi

 

Yes, I can confirm that for both the cases, the matter would have expired and cleared up, and there would be no active arrest warrant and no arrest warrants for your arrest would be issued to you now.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Regards.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

That's very helpful..

 

To clarify for the final time - The reason I asked is that I'm due back in court on a civil matter, and I know the claimant will try to check my criminal record. I thought it very likely that they would find some trace of an outstanding warrant for non-payment of the fine and some trace of a warrant for failure to attend police bail on the credit card deception. No doubt they are there in some from on my record? Then they'd seek to have me re-arrested on these two matters when I attend court.

 

Are you 100% sure that this could not happen ?

 

Thanks again...

 

 

Hi

 

Thanks for the additional information.

 

I'm afraid that if the claimants dig up your records and decide to pursue it and,if the warrants have not been withdrawn, you can still be arrested because in general, there is no statute of limitations for them.

 

If they have withdrawn, there is no way that it would still be in your records and hence, the claimant will find no records under your name. Even if they find one and it has been withdrawn, I'm afraid they cannot do anything about it now.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Regards.

 

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes, it does - what you're saying I think is that any warrant for failure to attend the police station on police bail for the potential credit card deception would likely have been withdrawn by the police in time because there is a statute of limitation (of 6 years?) on these sort of relatively minor deception/fraud offenses? The police would have had to re-activate the warrant regularly, and they wouldn't have bothered after a set time ?

 

Similarly, any warrant issued by the court in 1991 for failure to pay the whole fine would similarly have been withdrawn in time as they woudn't have kept actively trying to execute it. (In fact, the whole sentence was a fine of £2000 and 28 days in prison suspended for two years.)

 

Sorry to appear pedantic - but I need to be 100% clear. Thanks again for clearing this up..

Hi

 

Ok, let me quote the original text of the law for your reference:

 

''Where a person fails to answer Police bail, proceedings must be commenced within six months of the alleged failure to answer bail, or within three months of the person surrendering to custody or being arrested or brought before a court for the Bail Act offence or the offence for which he was granted bail. It is important to ensure that local Police stations have satisfactory arrangements for the laying of an information within the six month time limit. The decision to continue any charge preferred by the Police under Section 6 of the Act should be made by the Prosecutor''.

 

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/section14/chapter_l.html#28

 

So, it all depends upon the decision of the prosecutor(assuming the credit card company or the police) whether he wants to continue with it or withdraw it.I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have bothered after a set time and hence it would have been withdrawn.

 

And, regarding the arrest warrant,the overriding principle is that all warrants should be executed as quickly as possible. The decision to withdraw a warrant is a judicial one.

All outstanding warrants should be reviewed on a regular basis by the police (or court enforcement officers). The purpose of such a review is to consider what action has been taken to execute a warrant and decide what further action is necessary to execute the warrant.

 

If no execution is possible after a couple of attempts, this warrant would have similarly been withdrawn by the CPS.

 

Regards.

 

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