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dkennedy, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 6009
Experience:  J.D. degree, 15 years practice
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How to fight/get rid of/expunge a bench warrant that was issued

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How to fight/get rid of/expunge a bench warrant that was issued for failure to appear on protection order violation (misdemeanor) when I wasn't served for it and had no clue about it and therefore had no chance to defend myself?

My ex-wife filed a temporary protection order almost 2 years ago with the sole purpose to have me evicted from the matrimonial home so she could take what she wanted out of the house. I should add that she flew to Washington state from Canada the day after agreeing to be served with divorced papers by my divorce lawyer's process server later that week (ie. she lied to the process server).

Two weeks later, just before the hearing to determine if the order would be extended for a year, my ex signed an agreement to dismiss the order and allow me to return to the matrimonial home and that I would have sole possession/ownership of it until the divorce was finalized (ie. resume everything as per normal as we had been separated for almost two years prior to the start of the divorce and I had been making all of the house payments).

Two months after the order was dismissed, she must have filed this bogus protection order violation with the hearing for it set a month later, but I never served nor informed about it. My fiance was with me during this whole time and she could verify there was never any notice mailed nor was I served at the house.

Since I didn't know about the hearing, I failed to show and a bench warrant was issued. I never knew about any this until a potential employer did a background check and to my surprise, this came up.

What are my options at this point to get rid of/expunge/fight it?

Hello, Is the bench warrant then in Canada or in Washington?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It's in Washington.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It's in Washington, where the matrimonial home is located.

The record of whether it was properly served or not would be recorded at the courthouse in the County in Washington where the protection order was filed. You need to take care of this by going to the county attorney at the courthouse, turning yourself in, and asking for the whole matter to be dismissed due to your not being served. This happens frequently. It's just a paperwork mix up but should be remedied ASAP. Please follow up with any questions you have.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I should add, the protection order was filed in county court, but the "violation" was filed in municipal court two months after the county court order was dismissed.


Would I go to the municipal court to get it dismissed?

That doesn't matter. Whoever you go to will have the information about the court ordered arrest warrant. I would start out at county court. They should have the information and the county attorney can go to a judge and have it dropped because the county attorney would have been the one who asked for the warrant anyway.
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How did the matter work out at the courthouse about that bench warrant? Did you get it taken care of? Can I be of any further assistance?