Am I A Fugutive?
August 9, 2010 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I was issued two citations for speeding from New York State Police in the mid 90's. I never paid them. When I got the second one, I assumed that the officer would arrest me or at least mention the first but he did not. I have never had a New York State driver's license and I have had licenses renewed by the state of which I was a resident at the time and the one in which I have resided for ten years. Nor any problems with insurance. Should I do anything about this?

So far it has been as though neither was ever issued. I have no idea which counties they were issued in, nor even exactly which years they were issued (before 1997). Is this worth looking into or is it likely to just wake the dead? How would I go about finding information?
posted by Willy Wombat to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Generally what happens is that a warrant gets issued for your arrest, but for such minor things they are generally only serviceable in the county they were issued in (no one want to pay to ship you back to NY for a failure to appear on a speeding ticket). If you never plan on going back to NY, and you haven't had any problems, I would not worry about it.

If you ARE planning on going back to NY, you can go to your local police and ask them to run you to see if you have any warrants in NY. If you do, I'd phone the relevant people and make arrangements to fix the problem (probably by paying the fines).
posted by Menthol at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2010

Yeahhhh, knowing my local cops, I'd ask an attorney to do this for you, or something. I don't know if I'd want my local cops knowing I had a warrant out. No, they probably wouldn't take you in, but if they wanted to be dicks, they could harass you a bit about it.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 4:26 PM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Highly recommend having an attorney take care of this; marching down there yourself to talk to the police can end up with you in lockup. I know someone who was denied a job after a routine background check turned up a warrant, and when they went to the police to find out what the hell was up, they were placed under arrest. Funny thing—the warrant turned out to be completely in error (something was input wrong in a computer in the next county over), but they still ended up spending the night in jail.
posted by limeonaire at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2010

I wonder if the statute of limitations has expired?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:49 PM on August 9, 2010

Chocolate Pickle: generally, the clock on the statue of limitations stops running if you flee the jurisdiction and bench warrants don't usually expire. Even if the statue of limitations on the original tickets expired (and it may well not have if the OP left the state), a failure to appear charge and accompanying warrant, if one exists, probably still stands. IANAL.

You might consider getting your NYS Record to see if anything comes up, though it's not cheap and requires fingerprints.
posted by zachlipton at 8:25 PM on August 9, 2010

You could check the National Driver Registry to see if there are warrants outstanding.
posted by TDIpod at 8:52 PM on August 9, 2010

You can have an attorney do this for you if you want, but really, I run people with non-serviceable warrants fairly often and it's not a big deal.
posted by Menthol at 11:48 PM on August 9, 2010

It may prevent you from applying for a new or renewed license in the future. DMVs are interacting more now, and more people are showing up in court because they found out about an out of state warrant on a traffic ticket and it's preventing them from getting a license. Some employers won't hire you if you have an active warrant out, even if it can't be executed in your new state. It's worth handling this now, when it's not a pressing problem.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:11 AM on August 10, 2010

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