05 December 2012

Traveling Arrestees

Its a considerable inconvenience to be arrested a thousand miles from home. As one goes hither and thither across this great country of ours one comes upon various constabularies all alert to the slightest infractions of the jurisdictions one traverses. Occasionally the traveler needs gas, food, refreshment, toilet or some such necessity and stops at a local establishment. It is good policy to pay for what you receive. Some don't and are then chased down, arrested, taken to jail, and required to post bond to continue on their way. Once gone it is difficult to return for the required court appearances, especially if one resides a thousand miles distant. The traveler, now the defendant, believes that the matter should be resolved without a return trip to the scene of the crime. The local judge and prosecutor, depending upon the seriousness of the infraction, believe otherwise and hence, we have a situation. With no defendant appearing in court at the appointed time, a warrant will issue and the bond forfeited. Now if the alleged infraction is not a felony, the warrant will be limited to Iowa-usually. However, this could also be rather inconvenient if the defendant is either an over-the-road truck driver or a frequent traveler on our Interstate 80. Detours can be expensive and time consuming. If, for instance, one is traveling from Chicago to Omaha, traveling around Iowa would add considerable distance to the trip. Of course, the defendant, now the absconder, will be just fine traveling through Iowa as long as he does not come to the attention of the authorities. I suggest he not drive, especially his own vehicle. As defense counsel to the absconder, one is compelled to tell him that the warrant will not exceed the limit of the state boundaries, or he can actually come back to the state and resolve the issue which by this time will more than likely entail spending some time in the county jail. Neither of these two solutions seems reasonable to the absconder who voices the opinion that his lawyer should just be able to take care of it with maybe a fine; that he is working and can not miss work; does not have a car that can go that far; is in the middle of a divorce and can not leave; or is now on probation in his state of residence and can not receive permission to come to Iowa. All very legitimate reasons for not presenting himself to the court, but not sufficient. In cases like these I don't expect ever to see my client again unless he is foolish enough to drive through and again come to the attention of the authorities. I just make sure that the money has arrived for his representation.