It happens. Sometimes people charged with a criminal offense forget about a court appearance and need help “recalling warrants” or striking an Order for Arrest.
You may have even been scared and decided not to appear in court on the assigned date, later realizing that only made a bad situation worse.
It’s also possible to have multiple cases pending in the same or even different jurisdictions, making it hard to keep track of everything. Missing court can happen for a lot of very good reasons and is not terribly unusual.
While not unusual, it is very serious.
If you have an outstanding Order for Arrest or a bond forfeiture has been issued, call a defense lawyer NOW.
Take action. Your freedom may count on it.
Striking an Order for Arrest and/or recalling warrants normally require a really good reason to do so.
Judges, prosecutors, and the court system take action when you miss court.
It may not matter whether it’s a serious felony or misdemeanor criminal charge, a failure to appear or “FTA” may result in the issuance of process.
Bond Hearings in North Carolina
That “process” may, in fact, be an Order for Arrest or what criminal defense attorneys commonly refer to as an “OFA.”
A Warrant for Arrest, depending on the facts and circumstances of the charge and whether a Grand Jury issued a True Bill of Indictment, is different from an Order for Arrest.
If you or a loved one (or even a bondsman paid a bond to get you out of jail), bail may be revoked pursuant to an OFA and new terms and conditions set for release. That too has its own acronym which is OOF for “Order of Forfeiture.”
If you “skipped bond,” not only will law enforcement be looking for you, so will your bonding company or bondsman. They don’t want to be out the bond or have to pay the amount held in security or pledge on bail.
In fact, if there is an Order for your arrest, the bonding company will likely actively work to return you to jail and “go off the bond.”
Law enforcement serve outstanding Orders for Arrest and Warrants on a daily basis. But the bonding company often responds most quickly. They have money on the line and will come get you – Bill Powers, Criminal Defense Attorney
Recalling a Warrant
Recalling a Warrant or criminal summons is subject to North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 15A-301. Recalling “process” is normally a judicial determination, addressing whether a warrant was improvidently issued or lacked sufficient probable cause.
As such, recalling warrants or recalling criminal summonses are technically different than setting aside an Order for Arrest and/or Order of Forfeiture due to a failure to appear and missing court.
In North Carolina, criminal lawyers normally describe “striking” an Order for Arrest and Order of Forfeiture. Some jurisdictions may call it “recalling a warrant,” really meaning recalling an Order for Arrest or striking an Order for Arrest.
Frankly, while there are important technical differences, it doesn’t much matter what you call it.
The point is to take action without delay. If you have legitimate grounds to set aside an OFA, make that a priority in your life. Seek the assistance of a defense attorney. Don’t wait.
There are instances when the reason for missing a court appearance may not be very good, but the Court may still accept your honest apology and promise not to repeat the mistake in the future. Each case is different.
As you might understand, the Court (and the prosecutor) will be highly critical of any subsequent failure to appear in court and/or handle the legal matter in a timely fashion.
Striking an Order of Forfeiture
Many if not most conditions of release and Release Orders require some sort of monetary bond or promise to pay money if you fail to attend court.
While you may not have been required to pay a cash bond or post a secured bond in order to get released from jail pending trial, there very well may be some sort of a monetary penalty imposed if you miss court.
That’s true even if you were released on an “unsecured bond” or a written promise to appear. Obviously, bond forfeitures and increased bond amounts are in addition to an outstanding Order for Arrest directing your return to the custody of the Sheriff (jail).
An OFA is a formal court order. It orders law enforcement officers to actively seek the person facing criminal charges, directing the Defendant to be taken into custody. In the event the Order for Arrest is served, where an Order of Forfeiture was also issued, that bond may be “forfeited.”
Except for a very limited number of circumstances, once the bond is forfeited, it may not be possible to recover those funds. The money held in pledge or already paid to secure release is subject to forfeiture.
As such, in addition to striking an Order for Arrest, defense counsel is often careful to ask the Court/Judge also strike the Order of Forfeiture.
Depending on the particular jurisdiction, there may be established protocols to set the matter on for hearing, requesting the Court strike the Order for Arrest and Order of Forfeiture. That may also be referred to as recalling the Order for Arrest.
It’s imperative to act without delay if you have an outstanding Order for Arrest. Speak to an experienced criminal lawyer to determine your legal options.
Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Powers
The attorneys at the Powers Law Firm PA who constitute the criminal practice group are experienced handling legal matters in the Charlotte-Metro region. Whether you have an Order for Arrest in Mecklenburg, Union, Iredell, Stanly, or Gaston County, we’re here to help.
Recalling Warrants or striking an Order for Arrest is by no mean a foregone conclusion. Don’t wait, call us immediately if you have warrants out – Bill Powers, Criminal Defense Lawyer