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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27050
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi Jacustomer,

There is really only one way to get rid of a fugitive warrant, and that is to have the judge who issued the warrant lift it. Unfortunately, he is not going to do that unless or until you turn up before him in his courtroom, either voluntarily or involuntarily, prepared to resolve your probation violation.

Warrants are always bad news situations, and there's no magic to make them good. On a violation of probation, you will be almost always facing jail or prison time, since unless you have a very compelling reason for your absence (you put yourself into long term residential drug treatment, for example, and having completed the program successfully, you're addressing your past mistakes) probation is not going to want to work with you any more and give you a second chance to get it right.

As you were likely told when you took your plea in the first place, your failure to successfully complete probation would allow you to be resentenced to anything on up to the maximum amount of time the statute would allow for the crime to which you pled guilty.

You should therefore have a lawyer with you when you return to do whatever damage control is possible under the circumstances and to see if there is any possible way (for example house arrest) that the court would let you avoid an incarceratory sentence.

I'm sorry for being the bearer of bad news.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I live more than 4000 miles from the state I have the conviction. I was only 17 when it happened and am now 32. I have a family and 4 kids. I phoned my probation officer and told her I was starving and freezing to death and going home to my mom in Hawaii. I am paying the restitution and haven't been arrested since. Is there any chance to go here in Hawaii to get probation transferred here? I'll do it. I just can't go back to Colorado. I don't know anyone there at all.


There's no possibility of a transfer while you are out of compliance with Colorado probation and no way of taking care of this without returning to Colorado.

It's commendable and in your favor that you made a successful and productive life for yourself despite your early difficulty, and this may get you some mileage with the court. Also, a voluntary return will get you more regard from the court than if you are brought back before the judge in cuffs. But the only way you can address it long distance is to retain a Colorado lawyer and see what he may be able to negotiate for you in advance of your return. If the prosecutor and probation were to agree, for example, to let you have some other non-incarceratory disposition, the judge may be willing to go along with it. If not, you then can decide for yourself whether to remain where you are and go forward with your life as it is or come in and vacate the warrant anyway.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the advise. One last question and I hate asking it. I have been led to believe that if I don't address this (which I should) then I would never be eligible for food stamps, unemployment or social security if I need them is that "escaped felon" is on my record. Is that right?


Yup. That's correct. Also government loans. And somewhere along the line, your driving privileges will be suspended as well if that hasn't been done already, and you won't be able to get a license anywhere until the warrant is lifted.

States have some not so subtle ways to make it clear you're going to have to return to clear this up.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Fran. I am heartbroken over this. I am actually his mom and I wanted to know for myself what can be done. A collection agency in Colorado contacted him and tried to tell him that he had to pay the full restitution before he could have things cleared. It's being paid monthly and I felt they were playing with him. I didn't know this happened to my son until it was done and he called me. I was going through a divorce after 17 years and he was heartbroken too and didn't want to upset me. I blame myself and want to help him. The truth is what I needed so I can walk with him through this. He is a wonderful man and it shouldn't have happened. Thank you. Now we begin the journey.


Awesome help!


Thanks for the kind words.

I sympathize here. Many a kid does something foolish but it takes a real adult to want to make something right after all of this time.

Much will depend on what was going on with probation -- how long he'd been in compliance before he gave it up, for example, the kind of relationship he had with his probation officer, the facts and circumstances of the underlying case, just to name a few. Paying off the restitution is critical and would be an important point in his favor.

I wish him and you the best of luck, and as I have said, sometimes, when the over-all circumstances are compelling enough, the worst case scenario can be avoided.