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Old Sep 18, 12, 1:38 am   #1
 
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Entering the US with outstanding misdemeanor warrant(s)

I've searched previous FT threads and Google for an answer to this, but get mostly unresponsive information.

My question is: "Will you certainly be, or likely be, arrested upon return to the US if you are a US citizen and have an outstanding state misdemeanor warrant in the same state as your port of entry?"

To clarify my question and exclude all of the non-responsive answers that came up in my searches, I am NOT referring to any of the following:

- What happens upon entering a country other than the United States.
- What happens when leaving the United States.
- What happens to someone that's not a US citizen.
- What happens if it's a federal warrant.
- What happens if it's a state felony warrant.
- Advice that warrants should be taken care of before int'l travel.
- Arrest records
- Conviction records

Generally speaking, state misdemeanor warrants are not entered into NCIC, and therefore jurisdictions at the federal level or in other states are generally unaware of them. My question relates ONLY to state misdemeanor warrants in the same state as the port of entry.

So, this leaves the following questions:

1. Does the CBP officer at the port of entry have direct and automatic access to state records? That is, will a standard passport scan that returns no hits in NCIC or other federal databases nonetheless alert the CBP officer if there is an outstanding misdemeanor warrant? If so, is this limited to the state where the port of entry is located, or does it extend to multiple states or all states?

2. If the answer to 1) is Yes, even if it's only for the state where the port of entry is located, does CBP routinely take into custody those that have such outstanding warrants?
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Old Sep 18, 12, 2:13 am   #2
 
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1) I don't really know(but wouldn't think so), because federal/state systems don't interface too well and, can you imagine the IT work in tying in 50 disparate non-NCIC databases?

2) No idea.

3) Take the above with a grain of salt, contact a lawyer and not an internet forum.

Last edited by essxjay; Oct 7, 12 at 9:43 pm. Reason: wholesale quoting unnecessary
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Old Sep 18, 12, 10:06 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
To clarify my question and exclude all of the non-responsive answers that came up in my searches, I am NOT referring to any of the following:

- Advice that warrants should be taken care of before int'l travel.
I don't see why this is bad advice?
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Old Sep 18, 12, 11:32 am   #4
 
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I didn't say it was bad advice - it's simply non-responsive to my question.

Last edited by essxjay; Oct 7, 12 at 9:43 pm. Reason: readability
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Old Sep 18, 12, 11:43 am   #5
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1. Not sure where you got the "state misdemeanor warrants not entered thing." First, untrue and second, there are many more systems than NCIC out there and third, they do work together sort of.

2. A good chance you are arrested. Possible you slip through the cracks. What happens depends on your status.

3. If you are a USN, you will be detained pending notification of the agency which holds the warrant. Depending on the seriousness of the misdemeanor, the relative distances and local policies, they may or may not pursue you. If they do, you will be held by CBP as a courtesy pending the arrival of the agency holding the warrant. This can take anywhere from hours to a couple of days.

4. If you are not a USN, you will likely be excluded and returned to wherever you're from.

There's no great rhyme or reason to the system, but the real downside is that once flagged, you will wind up being pulled out forever more both by CBP and other countries with whom the USA shares information. Worse, people miscode items and your misdemeanor gets miscoded as some huge deal.

All of this said, presuming that this isn't hypothetical, the sole solid piece of advice is to get a real lawyer. The only thing dumber than not clearing up the underlying mess is relying on what you're told on an Internet forum.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 12:43 pm   #6
 
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As Often1 said it usually comes down to how bad the jurisdiction wants you. Back in the day when I was engaged in that kind of work I seem to remember that we were not to enter anything into NCIS for wanted, warrants etc. unless we were willing to send someone to pick you up, Having said this the state (Connecticut) had a similiar dbase with similar requirements. While flying to California to pick someone up on a misdemeanor was pretty remote, taking a drive down to New Haven was not out of the question. It just comes down to how bad they want you.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 3:07 pm   #7
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+1 - And not to forget, it's not unheard of for a local agency to figure that if CBP holds you for 2-3 days while the "consider their decision" that's more time than you would serve anyway. So, they just let you sit and then eventually they let you go.

As I understand it, CBP does not award stay credit, bonus points or the like, but you do get all 3 meals included for the price of the room.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 3:41 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
1. Not sure where you got the "state misdemeanor warrants not entered thing." First, untrue and second, there are many more systems than NCIC out there and third, they do work together sort of.

2. A good chance you are arrested. Possible you slip through the cracks. What happens depends on your status.

3. If you are a USN, you will be detained pending notification of the agency which holds the warrant. Depending on the seriousness of the misdemeanor, the relative distances and local policies, they may or may not pursue you. If they do, you will be held by CBP as a courtesy pending the arrival of the agency holding the warrant. This can take anywhere from hours to a couple of days.

4. If you are not a USN, you will likely be excluded and returned to wherever you're from.

There's no great rhyme or reason to the system, but the real downside is that once flagged, you will wind up being pulled out forever more both by CBP and other countries with whom the USA shares information. Worse, people miscode items and your misdemeanor gets miscoded as some huge deal.
The above, while possible, is far from certain and more than one of the outcomes noted above has different probabilities of occurrence than may be suggested above.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 5:05 pm   #9
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I never said it was certain. If OP wants certainty, his only option is to clear up the old warrant. If he wants to play Russian roulette -- a game where the odds don't really matter because the bad outcome is really, really bad -- he now knows what may or may not happen.

Last edited by essxjay; Oct 7, 12 at 9:44 pm. Reason: readability
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Old Sep 18, 12, 9:08 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
To clarify my question and exclude all of the non-responsive answers that came up in my searches, I am NOT referring to any of the following:

. . .

What happens to someone that's not a US citizen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
3. If you are a USN, you will be detained pending notification of the agency which holds the warrant. Depending on the seriousness of the misdemeanor, the relative distances and local policies, they may or may not pursue you. If they do, you will be held by CBP as a courtesy pending the arrival of the agency holding the warrant. This can take anywhere from hours to a couple of days.

4. If you are not a USN, you will likely be excluded and returned to wherever you're from.
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Old Sep 19, 12, 11:50 am   #11
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Originally Posted by Ari View Post
OP's question related to citizenship. I specifically referred to nationality. Being precise sometimes matters.
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Old Sep 19, 12, 12:09 pm   #12
 
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An acquaintance (US citizen) once traveled to Switzerland and returned with a past-due misdemeanor Boston traffic warrant (unpaid speeding ticket I believe) and he was detained in shackles at Logan airport until his roommate bailed him out.

I was surprised when I heard about this (circa 10 years ago), but apparently some of these jurisdictions treat scofflaws aggressively.
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Old Sep 19, 12, 2:09 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
OP's question related to citizenship. I specifically referred to nationality. Being precise sometimes matters.
Aren't all citizens nationals, thus anything relating to non-nationals is irrelevant?
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Old Sep 19, 12, 5:27 pm   #14
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Aren't all citizens nationals, thus anything relating to non-nationals is irrelevant?
All US citizens are US nationals but not all US nationals are US citizens. That post attempting to contrast US nationals to non-US nationals with regard to what may happen at a US POE is a post that is best not regarded as anything close to authoritative.
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Old Sep 19, 12, 5:30 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastflyer View Post
An acquaintance (US citizen) once traveled to Switzerland and returned with a past-due misdemeanor Boston traffic warrant (unpaid speeding ticket I believe) and he was detained in shackles at Logan airport until his roommate bailed him out.

I was surprised when I heard about this (circa 10 years ago), but apparently some of these jurisdictions treat scofflaws aggressively.
This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. In that case, access to local records would have been required in order for it to happen, as I think it unlikely that a traffic warrant was in NCIC. I also suspect that had the person arrived at, say MIA, that anything would have happened, as Boston would be unlikely to pay to have someone transported from MIA to BOS to satisfy a traffic warrant.

So I think the risk of being arrested has to take into consideration how serious the crime is and how far away from the warrant's issuing jurisdiction you are, both of which will affect the issuing agency's willingness to pay to have you transported.
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