I was arrested in 1998 for a DUI in Maryland. In beginning of 2000 I moved back to Holland without getting my day in court. The summer of 2000 I received a letter from the court saying that I received a court date in MD, but I was not able to travel to the States. I called the court in MD and told them I was not able to come to the US, and I was told that if would not show up then they would issue a warrant for my arrest. Now 13 years later, I would like to travel to Florida on a vacation (Disney World) with my family. I checked online and my case is listed as ACTIVE. Will I be arrested in Customs? Does it matter if I fly through NY or any other state than MD? Please help me, I am worried that I will be arrested in front of my child and ruin our vacation. What can I do?
3 Answers from Attorneys
No one can guarantee how thorough the customs authorities might be, regardless of where you enter United States. In addition any law-enforcement officer in the United States, who learns your identity and that you might have a warrant, may arrest you. If you are in a different state then Maryland, then it is likely you would be held for a period of time in order for the arresting state to inquire whether Maryland will pay the cost to extradite you. If not, then you would be released, but this scenario might happen repeatedly. You should either make arrangements to appear and resolve the matter or surrender. An attorney can assist you with evaluating the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. If you were to be found guilty, then an attorney can assist you with presenting mitigation, allocution, and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. Consider seeking a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Beware that online posts are not confidential. If somehow the prosecution were to find your post, then it might be used in evidence against you.
I believe it's fairly unlikely that you'd be arrested at customs, but it is DEFINITELY possible. But to avoid that chance, Mr Welch is right, you should get an attorney to file a motion to set a new trial date. You can then come back here and take care of it before attempting to travel to Florida. One thing is for sure, that you don't want to spend a month in jail in NY or FL waiting for Maryland to come get you.
You don't say in what county in Maryland you got the charge. You should employ a lawyer in that County to petition the Court to lift the bench warrant and set the case in for a hearing.
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