Travelling to the US to Settle Arrest Warrants

Old Nov 21, 17, 4:14 am
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Travelling to the US to Settle Arrest Warrants

Hi, I am from Ireland and am travelling to palm beach Florida to appear in court to settle a warrant for my arrest due to failure of turning up in court 8 years ago for a first time dui. I am looking for advice from this forum in relation to my inexperience on the matter. I have an attorney who is dealing with the matter but he has just informed me that I may be picked up at airport when go through customs processing. I am landing on Friday evening in miami and am getting train to palm beach where I will be staying with my friends uncle until I have to appear in court on Monday morning at 8.15 am. I have been to states at least 5-6 times since my dui 8 years ago and abviously have been pulled in about the matter and told I need to get it sorted, note: I have not been to florida since. My question is, is there anyway of avoiding being picked up i.e possibly having court date on paper and a written letter from my attorney to show customs in miami, I really feel anxious about being taken when I land and spending wkend in jail more so when it was a minor misdemeanour. I really would appreciate the help as I am feeling huge pressure on this matter. Thanks
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Old Nov 21, 17, 7:23 am
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Welcome to FlyerTalk.

In my experience, if you’re flying directly from Ireland to the USA, e.g. DUB or SNN, you will actually process US Immigration and Customs in Ireland prior to flying - if your flight arrives in MIA, you should be arriving as if on a domestic flight, as you’ll have been “processed” beforehand.

Whilst I believe it’s admirable you’re flying to the USA to clear this issue, the DHS personnel may be guided by regulations. In my opinion, and I’m not a legal professional nor am I employed by the US Department of Homeland Security, I’d arrive at least an hour earlier to your departure airport with your US court documents. I’d not initially volunteer any information in case the warrant hasn’t been, but be prepared to verify your court appointment and intent to clear this issue. You may well be denied boarding, in my opinion, if the warrant has been recorded by USDHS; your documentation may make an impact and let you fly.

Good luck.

Note: I’ve moved your question from the Technical Support and Feedback forum to the best forum to get your questions answered unofficially. /Moderator
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Old Nov 21, 17, 7:35 am
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Thanks for replying, my issue is that I am flying from Cork so I won't be able to go through customs until in miami
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Old Nov 21, 17, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
Thanks for replying, my issue is that I am flying from Cork so I won't be able to go through customs until in miami
Arriving in Florida with an outstanding Florida bench warrant could well result Customs and Border Patrol officials referring you to local Florida law enforcement who will want to take you into custody. Perhaps you can change your itinerary to arrive in the US not near Florida (say, NY or DC) and then take other some other mode of transportation (bus, train, rental car) to Miami as it is unlikely that Palm Beach County will want to go through the expense of extradition from a far away arrival location.

If you cant change your itinerary, as JDiver said, you should definitely have copies of any court documents, especially any showing the docket (court schedule) with your case scheduled for that Monday and correspondence from your attorney regarding the hearing for Monday. If you are detained the documents might help convince the local officials that you will actually show since you are here solely to address the issue. But even with those documents be prepared that they will detain you anyway as the local jail receives funding based on census counts so they like to keep their cells as full as possible if not to "teach you a lesson" about not properly respecting the judicial process.

Good luck! Let us know what happens.
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Old Nov 21, 17, 9:57 am
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I'll echo what Section 107 has written.

I'll add the following. Have your attorney go to court and try to have the bail on the warrant set at an amount that you can afford to post. Upon arrival in the US be prepared to post cash bail to be released from custody pending the court hearing. In the alternative, have your attorney make arrangements with a bail bondsman to post a bond on you behalf. If you post cash bail, you can expect to have it applied towards the fine that will be imposed as part of the sentence or conditions of probation. The bail bond fee is generally not refundable. If you are detained upon arrival pending the court hearing, you will receive credit for the time that you spent in custody against any jail time that may be imposed by the court and/or may have the amount of the fine reduced.

Lastly, even though I am an attorney experienced in criminal matters, let me caution you that you should trust your attorney's advice over that given by anonymous posters on an internet bulletin board.

And, BTW, in the US, a DUI is not a considered to be a minor misdemeanor. Do not say anything in court that will give that judge the impression that you do not consider this to be a serious offense.

Last edited by TWA884; Nov 21, 17 at 10:55 am Reason: Add "not"
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Old Nov 21, 17, 10:52 am
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Thanks for replying everyone , and in relation to it being minor offence i apologise as I was comparing it to drugs or assault, picking up on your points TWA884, if I am held in custody in miami does that mean I'm held there for wkend or am I transferred up to palm beach after a few hours?
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Old Nov 21, 17, 11:09 am
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Wonder if changing the itin to depart from DUB would affect the likely outcome in any way?

Since the officers working preclearance only have two real choices - deny boarding or not - it seems that they might be a more receptive audience to your documentation. The officers in Florida have the third choice - turning you over to the local cops - which is the one you want to avoid.

(I mean, DHS in Ireland could also detain you I suppose, but what would they do with you? They wouldn't want you for long, I wouldn't think....not for an 8-year-old local issue, which I also would have guessed was a misdemeanor prior to reading this thread.)
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Old Nov 21, 17, 11:19 am
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If there is an active warrant for DUI, it will likely be in the federal database which amalgamates federal and state arrest warrants, NCIC. That will routinely be checked in the background by DHS (CBP for this purpose) and OP will be flagged for secondary.

If he is traveling through DUB or SNN (won't matter that he originating at ORK if he is connecting at one of the two), CBP will most likely simply deny entry and OP will never even board his flight to the US. That is the easiest choice for CBP.

If OP enters at a Florida airport, he will initially be detained by CBP and, presuming that the agency holding the warrant is prepared to pick him up, CBP will either hold OP at the port of entry or drop him at the local county jail for the airport in question for transport by the Palm Beach County agency. How long all of this takes will depend on the day of the week, time of day and how busy everyone is. Could be a few hours or days. No way to tell.

If OP enters at a non-Florida airport, he will still be initially detained until CBP can verify that Florida won't extradite (which it won't likely do). At that point, CBP may either admit OP or may deny admission and ship him back to Ireland.

The chances that CBP simply ignores an active warrant are slim. It is not what gets Officers promoted, especially if OP does something else while in the US which will said to have been preventable had he not been admitted in the first place.

Bottom line is that there is no prediction possible. Best approach is to ask the lawyer whether he might be able to move the court to withdraw the warrant on OP's promise to appear (and presentation of ticket receipts and the like) with the understanding that the warrant will be reissued if OP does not appear. Depending on the lawyer's relationship with the Palm Beach sheriff, the lawyer would then verify that the warrant is actually cancelled out of Florida's system and NCIC, so that the OP is not wanted and will turn up in the US as "clean".
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Old Nov 21, 17, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
Thanks for replying everyone , and in relation to it being minor offence i apologise as I was comparing it to drugs or assault, picking up on your points TWA884, if I am held in custody in miami does that mean I'm held there for wkend or am I transferred up to palm beach after a few hours?
I practice in California and am not familiar with how inter county transfers of persons in custody take place in Florida. Here, it can take a few days until the regularly scheduled statewide transfer of persons in custody between counties takes place or for the other county to come and pick up the detained person if they don't use the statewide inmate transport system.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
If there is an active warrant for DUI, it will likely be in the federal database which amalgamates federal and state arrest warrants, NCIC. That will routinely be checked in the background by DHS (CBP for this purpose) and OP will be flagged for secondary.

<snip>

If OP enters at a non-Florida airport, he will still be initially detained until CBP can verify that Florida won't extradite (which it won't likely do). At that point, CBP may either admit OP or may deny admission and ship him back to Ireland.

The chances that CBP simply ignores an active warrant are slim. It is not what gets Officers promoted, especially if OP does something else while in the US which will said to have been preventable had he not been admitted in the first place.

<snip>
The OP has already entered the US at non-Florida airports several times since that warrant was issued:

Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
I have been to states at least 5-6 times since my dui 8 years ago and abviously have been pulled in about the matter and told I need to get it sorted, note: I have not been to florida since.

Last edited by TWA884; Jan 28, 18 at 11:20 am
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Old Nov 21, 17, 11:44 am
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Most of the above makes sense to me but I am not a lawyer.

What I did want to comment on is the DUI not being a 'minor misdemeanour'. Not to beat you up about your comment but to let you know that it is a serious enough offense that it does in fact make you ineligible for entry to Canada ( I don't know about other countries where it may also be the case).

http://www.canadianimmigration.net/c...-canada-entry/

It is quite common for someone to arrive in Canada and then discover that they are ineligible for entry because of that drunk driving conviction they had 8 years ago. What many people don't realize is that a criminal conviction follows you on your travels, not just where it happened.
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Old Nov 21, 17, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
I have to appear in court on Monday morning at 8.15 am.
My only comment would be to move your appearance to Tuesday. If you do get picked up by the local authorities over the weekend, the chances of being released in time to make your appearance Monday at 8:15am may be dubious. I.e. weekends are not a good time to be lockup.
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Old Nov 21, 17, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
Hi, I am from Ireland and am travelling to palm beach Florida to appear in court to settle a warrant for my arrest due to failure of turning up in court 8 years ago for a first time dui. I am looking for advice from this forum in relation to my inexperience on the matter. I have an attorney who is dealing with the matter but he has just informed me that I may be picked up at airport when go through customs processing. I am landing on Friday evening in miami and am getting train to palm beach where I will be staying with my friends uncle until I have to appear in court on Monday morning at 8.15 am. I have been to states at least 5-6 times since my dui 8 years ago and abviously have been pulled in about the matter and told I need to get it sorted, note: I have not been to florida since. My question is, is there anyway of avoiding being picked up i.e possibly having court date on paper and a written letter from my attorney to show customs in miami, I really feel anxious about being taken when I land and spending wkend in jail more so when it was a minor misdemeanour. I really would appreciate the help as I am feeling huge pressure on this matter. Thanks

While its great that you want to come here to the USA to clean up your previous criminal history I would consult with an International Lawyer who can assist you with this issue. As you have a warrant it could come up in the system and you would not be allowed to enter the USA. As Dublin is pre-clearance you may be denied boarding due to having a prior criminal history. I would think a DUI has greater weight than a shoplifting charge yet we hear of MIsdemeanor Charges committed years ago by a foreign citizen and banned entry.

If a US Citizen commits a crime abroad they would be processed and asked to pay the fine and even do jail time and be deported back to the USA and not be allowed entry for 10 years or for life.

What may happen is if you get arrested here in the USA for a previous warrant that has not been taken care of for all this time is that the first question they may ask you is " Why did you not resolve this issue sooner"? followed by "Why didn't you retain a lawyer abroad to deal with this and petition with your local US Embassy? With today's heightened security I am afraid you may have a harder time clearing this. I am not a lawyer but I can only suggest you retain a lawyer that knows international law.

Please keep us posted.
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Old Nov 21, 17, 3:20 pm
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My friends uncles are living in palm beach and I had planned on staying with them over wkend until court date, would this hold any weight in miami
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Old Nov 21, 17, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Irish flyer View Post
Thanks for replying everyone , and in relation to it being minor offence i apologise as I was comparing it to drugs or assault, picking up on your points TWA884, if I am held in custody in miami does that mean I'm held there for wkend or am I transferred up to palm beach after a few hours?
It could be either, but the detention may end up meaning stuck in Miami until the weekend is over and possibly even missing the court appearance.

My suggestion would be to fly into BOS or JFK as your US airport of entry and then fly into Florida from BOS or JFK/LGA/EWR on a separate ticket on its own record locator.
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Old Nov 21, 17, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
Arriving in Florida with an outstanding Florida bench warrant could well result Customs and Border Patrol officials referring you to local Florida law enforcement who will want to take you into custody. Perhaps you can change your itinerary to arrive in the US not near Florida (say, NY or DC) and then take other some other mode of transportation (bus, train, rental car) to Miami as it is unlikely that Palm Beach County will want to go through the expense of extradition from a far away arrival location.
Why take some other mode of transportation? They're not going to intercept a domestic arrival, are they?
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