There is no expiration date for warrants. No matter how old your warrant is, you will eventually have to get it lifted, or risk being picked up by the police and taken to jail.
You can hire an attorney to lift the warrant for you, or you can turn yourself in to the police and pay the bond. The cost of hiring an attorney to lift the warrant is usually much cheaper than the amount of the bond.
Why Was a Warrant Issued Against You?
Missouri courts issue arrest warrants for many reasons, but here are a few of the most common ones:
- you failed to pay the fine for a speeding ticket or other criminal offense
- you failed to pay child support payments
- you were on a payment plan with the court and you missed a payment
- you failed to appear in court for your court date
- you caused a car accident and didn’t pay for the damages to the other driver’s car
In addition to issuing a warrant, courts can also suspend your driver’s license for any of the offenses listed above.
To make matters worse, warrants sometimes show up on criminal background checks.
How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant in Missouri
You can hire a lawyer to find out if you have any warrants. You can also check online on casenet, or call the court and ask the court clerk if they have issued a warrant for your arrest.
When Will the Court Issue a Warrant?
Courts can issue a warrant immediately after the first missed court date or missed payment.
Most courts will not warn you before issuing a warrant.
Many courts will issue a Failure to Appear (FTA) charge after you miss your first court date, but they will wait until after your second missed court date before they issue a warrant and set the bond amount.
What is Bond?
The bond is the amount of money you must pay to the court to get your warrant cancelled and obtain a new court date. Bond amounts can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of the charges against you.
How to Avoid Paying the Bond After a Warrant is Issued
In many cases, an attorney can get your warrant cancelled (“lifted”), obtain a new court date for you, and negotiate a plea bargain to have your traffic violation or criminal charge reduced to a lesser offense. You won’t have to pay the bond amount to the court, but you will have to pay the fine and court costs, as well as any other fees, such as a warrant fee or FTA fee.
Some courts won’t cancel a warrant even if an attorney requests it. In those courts, your only option is to turn yourself in at the police department, where you will be booked. Then you will pay the bond to cancel the warrant and get a new court date. At that point, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can appear in court on your own. The bond will be applied to the amount of the fine and court costs that you owe to the court.
What to do if You Have Multiple Warrants
If you have warrants in several different courts and you are taken to jail for one of those warrants, as soon as you pay your bond in the first court, you will be sent to jail in the next court where you have a warrant. This process will be repeated in each court that has issued a warrant against you.
You will have to pay a separate bond in each municipality where you have a warrant. If you act quickly, an attorney may be able to get your warrants cancelled and prevent you from being transferred to the next jail.