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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    2

    Default Bench Warrant and Flying

    I was hitchhiking through California a little under two years ago when I was cited for "vagabonding" (ie sleeping in an abandoned freight wagon - there was no "no trespassing" sign or gate so how was I to know?). Being that I am not an American citizen and was just passing through on my way to Mexico, I never showed up for the court date.

    Now, I have to fly to Canada via NYC and Im a bit frightened that I might have a bench warrant for not having been able to make my court date (I wasnt even in the country at the time of the hearing!) . Even though the citation is associated with a different passport number Im fairly certain it would come up at customs - can they arrest me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    74,816

    Default Re: Bench Warrant and Flying

    It's theoretically possible, but highly unlikely. It's unlikely that California would have put out an interstate warrant over such a minor offense. The bigger risk, I would think, would be being turned back at the border.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Bench Warrant and Flying

    Seeing as Im just touching down, would they still deny me "entry"?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Bench Warrant and Flying

    If you were not arrested on the spot but instead got a ticket, it is a municipal ordinance violation. It is not even criminal. It is a civil violation and should not be reported outside of the state. That does happen but is not likely. They could issue a bench warrant for non-appearance, but unless that was reported to NCIC nobody outside of the state would know. I doubt you could be arrested on it outside of the issuance state and they would never extradite you for it.

    In addition, if you are just transferring international flights, you never have to actually enter the United States and go through customs. I doubt Canada would know or care. If it does come up, explain to them it was a civil violation and not criminal.

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