A common dilemma I get called about frequently is what to do when an arrest warrant is issued for you in Idaho, but you live in another state.
This occurs under a couple different scenarios. Some Defendant’s get placed on probation in Idaho, and receive a probation violation either before or after leaving Idaho. A warrant is issued for the Defendant’s arrest. The other example is when someone obtains a new criminal charge and then leaves the State of Idaho after being charged and fails to appear for their next court date.
Will they arrest me out of State on the warrant?
The first question people have is, will I be arrested on the warrant while I am out of Idaho. If it is a felony warrant then they probably will arrest you out of Idaho. I have seen a few cases where Idaho issued a warrant that will only be served in Idaho. Other times, Idaho decided not to pay for the transport back to Idaho after the Defendant is arrested out Idaho, so the other State lets the Defendant go. This is usually because the felony is a relatively minor offense. The State does not want to waste resources on it. Also sometimes Idaho will allow you to post bond on the warrant out of State. That way you will not have to be transported to Idaho to post bond.
On the other hand, if it is a misdemeanor, Idaho rarely (if ever) issues an interstate warrant for misdemeanors. I have never seen a misdemeanor warrant issued out of State. I hesitate to say it never happens because there is no law I know of that says it cannot be done.
You do not want to take the position that you can just avoid Idaho for the rest of your life and never have the warrant cause you problems. Having a warrant out of Idaho can still effect you out of State, even if you never get served with the warrant. For example potential employers will see the warrant show up on a back ground check. It can disqualify you from certain benefits. One way or another the warrant will come back to haunt you. Time and time again I get phone calls from people with pending misdemeanor warrants that feel the negative effects of a warrant. It is better to take care of it now, rather than face the music later.
Is there a way to handle the case without making the trip back to Idaho?
Another issue I run into frequently is that my client wants to take care of the warrant, but does not want to drive all the way to Idaho to take care of something minor like a driving without privileges warrant, or an inattentive driving ticket. If the warrant is for a felony, the answer is easy, yes you have to come back, no exceptions.
If it is a misdemeanor, you may not have to. There are ways of taking care of these warrants without returning to Idaho, although there are no guaranteed methods. One possibility is making a motion to the court to allow you to appear by counsel. What this means is you will not have to appear in court as long as your attorney appears in your behalf. The granting of these motions is discretionary with the court. Your attorney will have to convince the court to allow this, but it can be done.
Another possibility is that your attorney can make a motion to quash the warrant. This won’t necessarily make it so you never have to return, but it could help you avoid returning just to turn yourself in on the warrant and bond right out. You may still have to appear for your court date, but this saves you multiple trips to Idaho.