Is Air Travel affected by my arrest warrant?

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Old Mar 31, 08, 7:04 am
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Is Air Travel affected by my arrest warrant?

I am now wanted by the law - there is a warrant out for my arrest for failure to pay the fines of a speeding ticket in Pennsylvania while driving a rental car in January.

"The information contained in this arrest warrant is now available to all law enforcement personnel nationwide. It is also being made available to...The National Security Agency".

I've been traveling for the last 4 weeks. Flew home Friday, where this letter was waiting, and I fly out again today.

Of course this provides a huge incentive for me to pay the darned fine. In the meantime, can anyone provide some insight to my questions below:

Can a speeding ticket in PA affect my ability to fly from Virginia to Minnesota?
Is Big Brother watching? More importantly, does Big Brother care about a speeding ticket?

I'm a newbie to the life of crime, and livin' on the wrong side of the law...

Should I expect to be detained and arrested when I show up at the airport today???!!!
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Old Mar 31, 08, 8:18 am
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While this doesn't help you, a question comes to mind: why didn't you just pay the fine or dispute the citation?

That said, I know someone who has an open arrest warrant in Florida from many years ago, but who regularly flies to and from Florida without incident. I can't speak for a PA warrant or a more recent warrant though.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 8:18 am
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If you are flying domestic, probably not - unless you appear nervous and one of the infamous TSA SPOTs pick you out, refer you to law enforcement for "acting suspicious", and they pull up the warrant. TSA themselves would not have access to that information, although I am sure they are working on that.

International could be a problem on your return since Immigration probably can see the warrant.

Personally I would mail a check ASAP, keep a copy of the check and the letter on the off chance someone does stop you.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 8:21 am
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From my previous experience in the business (and this info is rather dated and may have to be updated by others who are more current) the offense is only reported to locales where the issuing jurisdiction is willing to enforce a governors warrant (extradition request) and travel to the locale where the subject is located and detained at the moment. The severity of the offense, the cost involved, and the publicity involved all seem to have an affect. A perp walk from MN to PA may be highly unlikely but others feel free to chime in.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 10:10 am
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Originally Posted by tev9999 View Post
If you are flying domestic, probably not - unless you appear nervous and one of the infamous TSA SPOTs pick you out, refer you to law enforcement for "acting suspicious", and they pull up the warrant. TSA themselves would not have access to that information, although I am sure they are working on that.
Yep...what tev9999 said!
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Old Mar 31, 08, 11:24 am
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....more than likely the Goon checking yur ID or scanning yur bags has a warrant

the DHS guy that was into kiddie porn,,2933,190604,00.html

or the four TSO's arrested for stealing,

or the TSO that kidnapped a 10 yr. old,

or the TSA Director exposing his "stuff", you do not have to worry about being nervous, 'cause you know the "good" guys ain't so good....have a nice flight!
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Old Mar 31, 08, 11:55 am
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You should be able to fly no problem how ever the speeding ticket will affect your credit score.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 12:21 pm
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You have to remember that the TSA actively looks for ANYONE to nail, whether in or out of their scope. They don't care if you have a warrant for a speeding ticket or you're OBL himself, they will not hesitate to use you as a trophy for their "usefulness."

Holding some copy of a check isn't going to mean squat to a TSAer or even an LEO. The fact of the matter is, you could have just copied it without sending it. If I were a cop, I wouldn't care about some copy

If you are as worried as you seem to be about this (otherwise, why would you post), you shouldn't be posing this question here, but rather you should be doing the right thing.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by tev9999 View Post
Personally I would mail a check ASAP, keep a copy of the check and the letter on the off chance someone does stop you.
What good would that do? I would at least send it certified & return receipt. Better yet use Express Mail and follow up with a call to make sure that the check is processed.

I am not a lawyer, so I can't say that this is the correct thing to do.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 12:48 pm
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A bench warrant (which is what this probably is) gets issued when a defendant doesn't appear at a trial or hearing. Technically, the warrant is for the non-appearance at court, not for the non-payment of the fine. I don't know whether payment of the original traffic fine would necessarily fix the problem. If the court is sending out notice letters, I'm sure it included either a phone number or instructions on how to fix it. Call the phone number, follow the instructions, or contact a lawyer in Pennsylvania.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 12:58 pm
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PTravel is right.

That said, as a practical matter you're probably OK. Your bigger risk is that you get pulled over or otherwise arrested and they see the outstanding warrant. Point about extradition above comes into play here.

Best practice is not to skip out on a summons.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 1:01 pm
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As stated above, simply paying the fine won't solve the problem. I would get a lawyer to negotiate terms so you won't have to actually be arrested and sit in jail or a holding cell. If you don't know any lawyers, contact the Bar Association in your county. You can find the phone numbers here.

You shouldn't have any problems flying unless an LEO checks your record. However, if you are in Pennsylvania, you can expect to get pulled over and then arrested.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 1:50 pm
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When you get a traffic citation in PA you have to respond within 10 days. This is what didn't happen and why the warrant was issued. PA citations do not have a hearing date generated automatically. You can plead guilty or not guilty by mail, though either way you have to come up with the original fine (and in fact an extra 5 bucks if you plead not guilty). There is some provision arrange to enter the not guilty plea in person if you can't afford to front the fine, but AFAIK this doesn't fly unless you really can't come up with the cash. Paying in the money is to insure your appearance at the hearing. Only after you enter a not guilty plea will the hearing be scheduled.

Some info on citations in PA here:

As far as the warrant goes:

What If I Do Not Respond To A Citation?
If you do not answer a citation within 10 days, you can be arrested. This arrest is usually made by a local constable. When the constable appears with the arrest warrant, you can avoid arrest by 1)paying the amount of the fine plus an additional $5 and costs as security for your appearance at hearing; or 2) pleading guilty and paying the fines and costs.
The constable will return the warrant and the security money to the district justice, who will then send out a notice of the date and time of the hearing to you and the police if a not guilty plea has been made. If you do not pay the security money to the constable, you can be arrested and taken before the district justice.
Doesn't sound too serious, can't imagine it affects your ability to fly. It'll mainly affect dealings in PA I would think. But you should get it taken care of. It looks like it'll just go away if you pay the ticket (follow the instructions included with the letter; I assume there were some), although it appears you can still have your day in court if you want. (Two days, really, at least: if you lose the first round, you can appeal to the next level with a brand new trial. When I fought my ticket the district justice lowered my offense to one with no points and a lower fine; I got a refund of the fine difference in the mail.) It doesn't sound like you have time for this though.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 2:05 pm
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PTravel is conveying relatievly straight "skiiny". I would worry far less about TSA than about any of many local LEAs....

First, the "bench" warrant out for your arrest is not for speeding, but for failure to appear, just as if you had jumped bail and fled.

I sho' would be careful traveling in the Common Wobblies of Pennsylvania, where you are a "fugitive on the run".

Auto travel would scare me more than flying, for all it takes is an accident or a simple stop for a defective tailight, and it's 'cuffs anda trip to the local calaboose, athough whether or not bench warrants are transmitted to the NCIC for access by all jurisdictions is subject to question. Obviously, the QuakerStaters are unlikely to extradite you from Arizona, but next door New Jersey? Who knows?

One thing of which you may be entirely sure. This speeding ticket is going to cost you a great deal more than (a) you bargained for, and (b) more than would it have cost to enter aplea by phone or mail and send a check.

.....Better to fork over the cash than to risk a weekend of soy loaf or baloney sammitches at the Greybar Hotel in Altoona.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 3:58 pm
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A stupid question - but to the OP...

Would you have felt nervous if privately contracted workers were checking ID's, not TSA? Or would there have been no difference?
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