In March we found out that I had a warrant for my arrest from our adoption worker. Aaagh! I was stopped for speeding in 2009 and totally forgot about it. Apparently, it turned into a failure to appear and bench warrant in 2010. The adoption worker said that we couldn’t move forward with the adoption while I had a warrant.
When I first heard about the warrant i freaked out! I wasn’t sure what to do, so I Googled, “failure to appear warrant” and tons of pages from attorneys came up. All the pages said that you have to get an attorney when you have a warrant because if you even show up to pay it you can be arrested.
The First Play
I went down to the courthouse to see if I could just pay it. The transit clerk told me that I couldn’t pay it because I had a bench warrant out. She scheduled me to appear in court December 26th. Yes, that’s December …. as in 9 months away from March! I asked her if I could do anything about the warrant at least and she said that there was nothing that she could do. A judge would have to vacate the warrant. Ugh! I needed it done before that so we could move on with the adoption.
The Second Option
The first attorney I called said that he could get the warrant vacated and everything taken care of for $3,500. He said that he would have to make a call to get it “on the calendar” and …. I don’t remember. As soon as I heard, “$3,500″ I stopped listening.
The second attorney I called said that she could get the warrant vacated and everything taken care of for, “$2,000 … most likely”. Hmmm …
We have a friend from college that has three sisters that are attorneys. As soon as He told him the deal, he suggested that we call one of his sisters. After I told her about the speeding, failure to appear and warrant she told me to show up at the court and pay it. She laughed when I mentioned that I could be arrested. She said that of course I could be arrested, but they have more important matters to deal with.
I went down to the courthouse again on Thursday. After standing in line for about an hour, I reached the transit clerk. This time I spoke with a AWESOME guy that told me that to be seen the same day I needed to:
1) Have some kind of paperwork that proved that I needed to be seen asap.
2) Be one of the first 5 people in line to be tacked on to the day’s proceedings.
We went home and planned to leave the house at 3:30am to make it to the line by 5am. When we arrived it was pitch black and we were the first in line! YES! When we went up to the counter, we got a different transit clerk that told us:
1) The warrant had be vacated in March when I set the appointment to see the judge. He actually laughed and said that of course they’d have to vacate the warrant, because if not I could be arrested if I was ever stopped.
2) They could get me in today after all the scheduled folks.
There were 80 scheduled folks. It took about an hour for me to be called. The judge asked me how I pled and I said, “No contest”. He reduced the failure to appear from $700 to $25. With all the fines and fees I had to pay $555.
I walked back to the transit clerk that I spoke with on Thursday and paid my fine. He gave me a piece of paper that had the information from the judge on it and receipt.I asked him to give me a printout saying that the warrant had been vacated and he looked at me like I was stupid. He said that the warrant had been vacated since MARCH when I scheduled the court date!
Done and done. That’s it. They were gonna charge me between $2,000 and $3.500 for …. ?? PLUS, as officers of the court they had to know that I didn’t have an active warrant when I called because I told them that I had already scheduled a court appearance.
Also, the first clerk that scheduled the date should have know, no? UGH!
I’m SUPER glad that we didn’t end up shelling out for an attorney for no reason. I’m SUPER glad that this is taken care of. I’m SUPER glad that we are one step closer to having a little on in our home.