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Default Warrant Removal

What is a Default Warrant?

Dealing with the justice system can be a daunting experience. It can be tempting to ignore all communications from a court, pretend they never existed, and hope that life resumes as it once was. However, failure to attend a court date related to a criminal case can have severely adverse consequences to a defendant. In Massachusetts, if a person does not make a court appearance when requested, a defaultwarrant can be issued. While the underlying basis for a default warrant differs from that of an arrest warrant, the resulting action is essentially the same – with both warrants, the police have the power to arrest the defendant. Once a warrant has been issued by a court, the original case which brought the defendant to court in the first place is temporarily suspended until the defendant returns to court to remove the warrant.

Are Defendants Given Notice That a Default Warrant Has Been Issued?

Yes. Massachusetts law mandates that a person must be notified within 30 days if a default warrant has been issued. The notice is required to include the charge for which the warrant is being issued as well as a description of how the person may clear the warrant. Courts are not required to physically locate the defendant to give the notice, or even to confirm that notice was received. Instead, notice is deemed satisfactory if it is mailed to his or her last known address. Moreover, once the default enters in court the police can arrest you. In other words, there is no requirement that they wait for you to be notified before you are arrested.

A defendant should never make the mistake of thinking that the state of Massachusetts has forgotten about the warrant. Rest assured, if a court date was missed, a default warrant has been issued.

What Are the Effects of a Default Warrant?

Every warrant issued in Massachusetts is entered into a database known as the Warrant Management System. Not only does this warrant information go onto a defendant’s criminal record, but it is also passed on to all law enforcement agencies in the country and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Even if you are an out-of-state resident who was issued a warrant in the state of Massachusetts, these consequences will still apply.

As a result, in addition to a potential arrest, a defendant must also deal with the possibility that his driver’s license may be suspended. (Similarly, the presence of a default warrant can also bar a defendant from acquiring or renewing his or her license.) This can compound a defendant’s legal troubles – not only can he or she be arrested on the default warrant, but charges might also be added for driving with a suspended license.

Another consequence to having a default warrant is the termination of government benefits, including such benefits as Medicare, unemployment, and worker’s compensation benefits. In fact, the Social Security Act provides that no benefits will be paid to any individual who has a warrant for his or her arrest for either a felony or a misdemeanor, or for violations of probation or parole. A default warrant may even result in the forfeiture of a tax refund.

Finally, a default warrant that is not resolved within a short period of time might be used by the prosecutor as a reason for requesting a higher bail, or even that the defendant be he held without bail, depending on the original charges. A judge could agree that a defendant who failed to appear in court the first time might also be less inclined to return for another court date, and therefore impose a stiffer penalty as a result.

In other words, the effects of a default warrant can be quite costly to an unsuspecting defendant, especially one who unintentionally missed a court date because he or she simply forgot.

How Can a Default Warrant Be Removed?

Many courts will require a defendant to appear before the court in order to remove a default warrant. Sometimes, particularly with an old, forgotten warrant, the defendant has long since left the state. Unfortunately, even for a minor offense, a court is still within its power to require a defendant to personally appear before it to get a default warrant removed. This can create an extra burden on out-of-state defendants, who will have to take time out of their schedules and absorb the costs of travel back to the state of Massachusetts. This does not mean that a defendant, neither in-state nor out-of-state, who missed a court date should casually show up in court at a later date without legal representation to try to rectify the situation – in fact, because a default warrant has likely already been issued, the defendant could be arrested simply upon showing up in court!

There may also be costs associated with default warrant removal. First, there will be a fee for removing the warrant. If the defendant was actually arrested on the warrant, he or she can be assessed another fee for the police having to use resources to make the arrest. In some cases, an attorney may be able to get the court to waive the default removal fees, depending on the reason why the defendant missed the court date. The longer a defendant waits to clear up a default warrant, however, the more likely a court is going to enforce any and all fees associated with removal of the warrant.

The safest way to begin the process of taking care of a default warrant is to contact a reputable attorney with experience in default warrant removal. At the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, we are uncompromising in our pursuit to achieve the best results for each one of our clients, regardless of whether he or she is an out-of-state or a Massachusetts defendant. It may even be possible to obtain a result that allows us to stand in for the defendant to remove the default warrant, saving our clients the time of having to appear personally in court (and the cost of travel for our out-of-state clients).

If a default warrant has been issued for you, time is of the essence. Do not procrastinate in seeking legal help! Call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman today for your free telephone consultation at 617-263-6800. We will work to remove your default warrant so that you can get back to your life.

Case Results >> Default Warrant Removal
  • Default Removed From 1995 on Major Drug Trafficking Case

    In 1995 our client was arrested and charged with trafficking heroin, a class A substance in excess of 100 grams, G.L. c. 94C section 32E and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, a class B substance, G.L. c. 94C section 32A. Our office did not represent her at that time. Fearing a conviction and facing a minimum 10 year sentence, our client defaulted and fled to another state where she remained for 27 years. Always living in fear of getting caught she finally decided to come into court and face the charges. She hired our office to represent her. Today, Attorney Neyman brought her into court to have the default removed and the warrant recalled. While doing so, we were able to get her personal recognizance. 

    Read More in Bail 

  • Default Warrant Removed

    Our client is facing charges of drug possession under G.L. c. 94C section 34. She missed a court date and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She contacted our office to represent her on the case and to have the default removed and the warrant vacated. Today, we went into court, made the judge aware of our intentions to defend the case and successfully had the warrant recalled. 

    Read More in Default Removal

  • Default Removed and Charges of Larceny Over $250 Dismissed

    The defendant is twenty-three years old. She recently graduated a prestigious local university and obtained employment. In 2012 she was arrested for stealing from a story and charged with larceny over $250, a violation of G.L. c. 266 Section 30. This is a felony. The woman defaulted on her pretrial date and ignored the matter for six years. Last week, fearing that this case would be discovered, the woman contacted Attorney Neyman for help. In one day we went into court for her, removed the default and got all charges dismissed.

    Read More in Default Removals

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
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"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts