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How Long Do Arrest Warrants Last in New York City? Time Limits

How Long Do Arrest Warrants Last in New York City? Time Limits

Arrest warrants in New York City can last for years if they remain active and unserved. However, there are certain time limitations and restrictions around NYC warrants that are important to understand.

Time Limits for Serving NYC Arrest Warrants

In New York, arrest warrants do not expire and can remain valid indefinitely[1]. However, there are some time restrictions:

  • Felony warrants – Felony warrants in NYC do not expire and can be enforced at any time, no matter how long ago they were issued[2].
  • Misdemeanor warrants – Misdemeanor warrants generally must be served within 5 years. After 5 years, the statute of limitations expires and the warrant becomes invalid[3].
  • Bench warrants – Bench warrants issued for failure to appear in court do not have a statute of limitations and can be enforced indefinitely[4].

So while felony and bench warrants do not expire in NYC, misdemeanor warrants generally become invalid after 5 years. The clock starts ticking from the date the warrant is issued.

Getting an Arrest Warrant Vacated in New York City

Even though some NYC arrest warrants do not expire, it is possible to get them vacated under certain circumstances[5]. Common reasons warrants are vacated include:

  • Surrendering – Defendants can surrender themselves to the court that issued the warrant. They may be eligible for release or have bail set.
  • Negotiating surrender – Defense attorneys can negotiate a surrender that imposes the least restrictions on their client.
  • Showing up to court – If the warrant was issued for failure to appear, showing up in court and explaining mitigating circumstances may convince the judge to vacate the warrant.
  • Providing exculpatory evidence – New evidence showing innocence may lead to warrants being vacated.
  • Successful motion to vacate – Defendants or their lawyers can file motions to vacate if there are legal issues with the warrant or subsequent procedural violations.

Getting an active NYC warrant vacated removes the threat of arrest and detention. However, the underlying charges still need to be resolved.

What Happens After an NYC Arrest Warrant is Served?

If authorities successfully locate and detain someone with an active NYC warrant, there is a strict protocol that follows[6]:

  • The defendant is fingerprinted and photographed. Identifying information is collected.
  • The warrant charges are read. The defendant is informed of what they have been charged with.
  • Bail or bond is set. Conditions of release are determined, if applicable.
  • A detention hearing may occur. The court decides if the defendant can be safely released.
  • Arraignment follows. The defendant appears before a judge, enters a plea, and proceedings continue.

Defendants arrested on warrants are typically held until arraignment. Those unable to post bail may be detained even longer.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
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Bee L
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Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer when being arrested on a warrant can be extremely beneficial. They can advocate for the least restrictive bail terms or negotiated surrender.

Finding Active Warrants in New York City

There are a few ways to check if you have an active NYC arrest warrant:

  • Contact the county clerk – The county clerk’s office that services the court which issued the warrant will have the most up-to-date information.
  • Contact a criminal defense lawyer – Experienced lawyers have resources to quickly check for active warrants.
  • Use online warrant search websites – Some private online databases let you search for warrants by name or other details[7]. However, they may not have complete or fully up-to-date information.

Having an outstanding warrant in New York City can complicate things like applying for jobs, housing, loans etc. Getting warrants vacated or addressed quickly is important.

What Should You Do if You Have a NYC Arrest Warrant?

If you discover you have an active warrant in NYC, here are some steps to take:

  • Consult with a criminal lawyer – Experienced attorneys can advise if surrendering is best or if vacating the warrant is possible. They can also negotiate the terms of surrender.
  • Consider voluntary surrender – In some cases, arranged surrender may lead to more favorable outcomes than being unexpectedly detained. Defense lawyers can facilitate.
  • Get legal defenses ready – Start gathering exculpatory evidence, lining up witnesses, and preparing your legal defenses. Your lawyer can file motions contesting the charges or warrant validity.
  • Address the underlying charges – Even if a warrant is vacated, the accusations still need to be handled via plea negotiations, dismissal motions, or trial. Develop a legal strategy.

Actively avoiding an unresolved warrant can compound legal troubles. Speaking to a qualified NYC defense lawyer is highly recommended to understand how warrants work and the best options available.

Why Retaining a Lawyer is Crucial When Facing Arrest Warrants

Trying to navigate NYC arrest warrant time limitations and processes without professional legal help can be extremely precarious. Criminal defense lawyers are vital for many reasons:

They understand warrant technicalities – Warrant expiration policies, vacatur options, and enforcement processes are complex. Lawyers help manage risks.

They can negotiate surrenders – Negotiated, peaceful surrenders are better than being unexpectedly detained. Lawyers work out best terms.

They defend your rights – Defendants with warrants can face bail denial, booking delays, questioning without counsel etc. Lawyers prevent violations.

They can contest warrants – Invalid warrants, failures to notify, procedural errors etc. can lead to warrants being vacated. Lawyers identify issues.

They resolve underlying cases – Warrants arise from unresolved accusations. Skilled lawyers work toward dismissals, favorable pleas, or acquittals.

Relying on public defenders or going it alone when dealing with open arrest warrants often backfires. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer in New York City is strongly recommended.

Conclusion: Act Fast When Facing NYC Arrest Warrants

Arrest warrants issued in New York City can remain open and actionable for years depending on the charges and circumstances. Felony and bench warrants have no expiration, while misdemeanor warrants expire after 5 years. Getting active warrants vacated requires legal maneuvers like surrender negotiations, appearing in court, and filing motions. Once a warrant is served, defendants go through processing and arraignment before the case can proceed.

Discovering an outstanding warrant in NYC warrants immediately consulting with a criminal defense attorney. They can advise on the best strategies for vacating warrants, negotiating orderly surrenders, defending your rights and resolving the underlying case through motions, pleas or trial. Allowing warrants to linger unaddressed for too long severely reduces positive outcomes. Connecting with knowledgeable NYC defense lawyers promptly is key.


Articles for Further Reading:

What Everyone Should Know About Arrest Warrants in New York City

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Bench Warrants in NYC

How to Remove a Warrant in New York

Videos Explaining NYC Arrest Warrants:

What You Need to Know About Warrants in NYC

Removing Criminal Warrants in New York

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