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  1. #1
    driven is offline Junior Member
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    Misdemeanor Charge leads to VOP - now 14 years later

    What is the name of your state? FL

    In the summer of 1993, I was down visiting my father in Florida (I did not live there, just visiting). I was 18 years old and admittedly, not too responsible. While there, my friend and I got into a minor traffic accident and of course the police were called to write up the incident. My friend was drinking and had me drive his car. I didn't want to drive (but did anyway) because my license was suspended due to a traffic related issue back home. So fearing that I would get into trouble for driving with a suspended license, I gave the officer a false name. Yeah yeah I know that was probably worse than just owning up to driving on a suspended license but that's history know. I was arrested for resisting arrest without violence (sounds absurd) but that's what they call it in FL.

    I later went to court on the charge and plead guilty. They gave me a small fine and 1 year probation, which included community service. I did about 10 hours of it and then left Florida to return home out of state.

    So fast forward to November 2007. I learned that I have a warrant out for me in Florida for violation of probation. I called various legal entities and heard everything from "well if you don’t live in FL then don't worry about it" (a Sheriff's Department staff member actually told me that LOL) to "just turn yourself in and go back to court on it" (well, that's not an option as I have a professional career, a family and can't just pick up and go to jail). The best advice I received though, was from a nice person at the Misdemeanor Courts offices. She instructed me to write a letter to the Judge and then gave me the complete contact information of the Judge's office including his fax number, etc.

    So, I wrote a letter the other day stating what had happened. I included information about the incident and the fact that after I had left Florida, I went on to college and graduated 4 years later. That I'm now married and have lead a straight forward lifestyle since then. I also stated that I had not been in any kind of trouble with law enforcement in any State since the misdemeanor charge in 1993, other than a speeding ticket or two.

    My question is this - after some 14 years and not being in any kind of trouble since then, will I have much of a problem? I'm hoping that they will have me just pay any existing fines, court costs, etc. Additionally, I am also wondering if I made the correct decision on asking for a Plea In Absentia? I was instructed to do it this way since I can't actually be there. I called the Judge’s office and they confirmed that they had received the letter and that it was to be heard next week.

    Anyone in the know, please advice your thoughts. Thanks
    Last edited by driven; 12-01-2007 at 01:49 PM. Reason: typos
  2. #2
    driven is offline Junior Member
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    Anyone got a recommendation based on the above?
  3. #3
    driven is offline Junior Member
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    Update:

    I spoke to an attorney earlier. He said that I should go to the county jail in Florida and turn myself in. Since I don't live there then it will be a long ways down. Then post bail and I'm free. Said I should only be there (jail) for a couple of hours. Then go to court and appear on the date that I initiated already or reschedule it and return at a later time. He said that I won't be able to do anything towards getting this warrant resolved unless I turn myself in or get caught first, which would be even worse.

    Any comments?
  4. #4
    mike_lee is offline Member
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    Were it me Id look up Florida expungement lawyers and hire one, They take credit cards it's a very easy process. I'd want to have the record expunged
  5. #5
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_lee View Post
    Were it me Id look up Florida expungement lawyers and hire one, They take credit cards it's a very easy process. I'd want to have the record expunged
    An expunction of what? The original charge? He skipped out on his sentence for that one. Are you seriously suggesting he can get it expunged?

    Driven: once there is a warrant, it must be served. You will be arrested and processed, and probably released once you make bail. You will be given a court date and once you are before the judge you can plead your case and hope for the best. Or, better yet, appear with your attorney and let him represent you.

    Skipping out on your probation and leaving the state might tag you as a flight risk and affect your chances of even making bail, but I wouldn't want to even venture a guess on that. The attorney you spoke to seems to think you'd only be held for a couple of hours, and his opinion certainly trumps mine.

    Either way, there's only one way to take care of this warrant, and warrants don't go away. The sooner you face it, the better the rest of your life will be.
  6. #6
    mike_lee is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clt747 View Post
    An expunction of what? The original charge? He skipped out on his sentence for that one. Are you seriously suggesting he can get it expunged?

    Driven: once there is a warrant, it must be served. You will be arrested and processed, and probably released once you make bail. You will be given a court date and once you are before the judge you can plead your case and hope for the best. Or, better yet, appear with your attorney and let him represent you.

    Skipping out on your probation and leaving the state might tag you as a flight risk and affect your chances of even making bail, but I wouldn't want to even venture a guess on that. The attorney you spoke to seems to think you'd only be held for a couple of hours, and his opinion certainly trumps mine.

    Either way, there's only one way to take care of this warrant, and warrants don't go away. The sooner you face it, the better the rest of your life will be.
    1. The defendant refused to give his name to the officer prior to being arrested. He was charged with resisting arrest without violence in violation of 843.02. The appeals court concluded that this conduct does not support a finding of resisting arrest without violence. J.R. v. State, 627 So.2d 126 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993).
    . The defendant was stopped for riding a bicycle without a headlight, gave a false name which the officer ran through the computer. Immediately thereafter the defendant reasoned that the false identification had not interfered with the officer's performance of his duties "other than causing a relatively insignificant loss of time." In so doing, the court reversed the defendants conviction for resisting an officer without violence to his person. C.T. v. State, 481 So.2d 9 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985).

    You need to believe in the power of the suits. The suits love you and have a wonderful plan for your life.
    He's got wiggle-room if he can convince the court he did not intentionally skip town to avoid probation his charge is a misdemeanor. I chose an expungement lawyer because I thought they would be best equipped for this situation. He may have to go back to Florida or, if it never goes before a judge, he may not.
    Last edited by mike_lee; 12-04-2007 at 11:43 PM.
  7. #7
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    I can't help but notice that in both of those examples it was not the defendant that decided to reverse the conviction. I don't think defendants can do that in any state. I will suspend my belief on that until OP can come back to inform us whether or not the court thanked him for saving them all that paperwork.

    He might be able to convince the court he did not intentionally skip town to avoid his probation if he can get around the facts that a) he skipped town and b) he avoided his probation.
  8. #8
    mike_lee is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clt747 View Post

    He might be able to convince the court he did not intentionally skip town to avoid his probation if he can get around the facts that a) he skipped town and b) he avoided his probation.
    If this were a fresh case I would agree but I'm factoring in the case was mostly settled, he was 18 and still dependent on his parents for food and shelter. He didn't know how to proceed so like most 18 year old' he took the path of least resistance. 14 years has past and he has had no trouble with the law, is now a successful bread winner with kids and a mortgage. Then factor in the minor nature of the charge and I can't see what more Florida would want other then a fresh fine. Plus, I'm an opptomist
  9. #9
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    Well, we do agree on the part about being optomistic. I'd be surprised if the OP walked away from this with a resolution that wasn't relatively pain-free. But I'm still not quite clear on what it is, exactly, that you're advising him to expunge. A warrant can't be expunged. Once everything is said and done he may be able to get the conviction expunged, but his case has not yet been resolved. Plus, if I understand the nature of an expunction correctly, it doesn't even require procedural errors or an appellate decision--such as those shown in your example--it only requires that the conviction itself meets certain conditions (no felonies, for instance). Are you sure you don't mean a dismissal?

    In any case, Driven, my advice still stands. You're going to have to turn yourself in to get this warrant taken care of, but I'd be very surprised if that wasn't a quick and perfunctory procedure, and once you get into a courtroom I hardly think you're going to get 20 to life. You said you've spoken to an attorney, so really the best thing you can do at this point is to ignore us and listen to him.

    Good luck.
  10. #10
    driven is offline Junior Member
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    clt747 -

    What do you mean by "I'd be surprised if the OP walked away from this with a resolution that wasn't relatively pain-free."? Well it was community service, a small fine and probation. What else can I say?

    Anyway, thanks for the replies. As was said, SOOOOOOO much has happened between now and then. Honestly, there's not much of a comparison of how my life then and now. I don't hide behind religion or claim to be the best person, but I have not committed any crimes, I have held professional jobs, graduated college, etc etc. It was a MISDEMEANOR when I was 18 years old!

    The attorney said that the problem was that not doing as the court said is seen as an contempt of court. They do not like this apparently as it's like a slap in the face. His recommendations were to enroll in a probatition program and do free work outside of the court. Then, turn myself in, get the arraignment, and present to the court that my intentions to satisfy the court are there.

    The problem is time and logistics. I can not simply just go to jail LOL! I do not think that even if I flew down that I can bail myself out (I likely need another person to do this, i.e. not myself). By the way, I have spoken to so many people that say "well if you ever get stopped for a traffic violation you'll be arrested". I have had speeding tickets, etc and no problems. Either they saw the data and didn't care or they don't see it at all. I'm inclined to think they don't see it at all. Now in the state of FL, it would be a completely different story I'm very certain of this

    Concerning expungement. Well, I've already investigated that. Yes I can get this situation expunged. There are certain crimes only that can not be expunged but mine is NOT one of them. I need to get the warrant taken care of first before I can do anything. Freakin' sucks!!!

    Additionally, I cancelled the hearing that I had made the other day. What's afew more days/weeks on top of 14 years.
    Last edited by driven; 12-07-2007 at 11:13 PM.
  11. #11
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    What do you mean by "I'd be surprised if the OP walked away from this with a resolution that wasn't relatively pain-free."?
    I meant that, after turning yourself in, I would expect your ultimate punishment for running out on your probation to be relatively easy to deal with. I suppose "relatively easy" is a matter of perspective. I have no professional frame of reference for that opinion (I'm not a lawyer), it's just a layman's guess.

    The problem is time and logistics. I can not simply just go to jail LOL!
    What you mean is that you don't want to go to jail. Unfortunately, you chose to commit an act for which the punishment might be some jail time. You can deal with it sooner or later, but you're going to have to deal with it. I'm sure turning yourself in in an effort to do the right thing will have some impact on your sentencing. This isn't an oil change or a dental appointment that depends on your convenience, this is a warrant for your arrest.

    Concerning expungement. Yes I can get this situation expunged.
    I didn't mean to imply that you could not eventually have this expunged, I just meant that that is not an option for taking care of the warrant.
  12. #12
    driven is offline Junior Member
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    clt -

    Thanks for clarifying. The attornery said that I have two options. They are;

    1.) Take care of the 10 hrs of probation (maybe 15 hrs or more for due diligence) prior to turning myself in. Then have enough money for the fines and or/court costs that I should be able to walk into court with money in hand, paperwork showing that I completed the ten hours and show the kind of person that I am today (I haven't been in any trouble since then, college graduate, successful). I will most likely walk without issue, or

    2.) Probabition management (third party) has changed companies for this particular county 'many' years ago. He said that they (the court) may not be able to prove that I didn't complete the time. Essentially, it could have been misreported. If they can't prove the allegation, then the warrant was incorrect and would be dismissed. As well, I would simply turn myself and bond out for the warrant before hand demonstrating that I had no disrespect for the court.
  13. #13
    INJDBFL is offline Junior Member
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    So Driven what ended up happening? Would love an update...
  14. #14
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by INJDBFL View Post
    So Driven what ended up happening? Would love an update...
    Did you really need to bring up a dead thread

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