The District of Columbia Superior Court is hosting a virtual event this summer called the Virtual DC Safe Surrender 2021. Safe Surrender allows individuals with misdemeanor bench warrants in the District of Columbia to surrender themselves without having to physically appear in court. This is a very unique opportunity to take control and clear a bench warrant that makes you live in fear of getting arrested at any given time.
What is the Virtual DC Safe Surrender 2021 Event?
If you have an active bench warrant, there is the possibility that a routine traffic stop can lead to an arrest because an active bench warrant will show up in the law enforcement database. Law enforcement, including the United States Marshal Service, also has the power to execute active bench warrants and arrest you for not surrendering voluntarily. It is imperative to get your name cleared of a bench warrant, and you have the power to do so through the Virtual DC Safe Surrender 2021 event.
For the first time, the Court will hold this event virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a virtual event, it is very accessible and in previous years the Court required individuals to physically surrender themselves at the Superior Court. So, it is crucial to register and take action, surrender yourself, and have your active bench warrant quashed. Prosecutors will also give individuals credit for surrendering themselves to reward the responsible choice to handle their bench warrants. In addition, the government has also agreed not to charge anyone who surrenders themselves during Safe Surrender with a Bail Reform Act Violation.
The D.C. Superior Court only holds this type of event every few years. Accordingly, It is important to surrender voluntarily to minimize the chance of getting arrested, and the DC Superior Court is giving this opportunity to do so this July, 2021.
This two weekend event takes place on the following dates:
- Friday July 9th 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
- Saturday July 10th from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm,
- Friday July 16th from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
- Saturday July 17th from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
To surrender yourself, you must register on the DC courts website. The registration process takes about 3 to 5 minutes to complete. Because this is a virtual event, anyone possessing a device with a camera cannot be arrested. Once registered, individuals will be contacted with a set time and date within the given time and date slots. A photo ID with a name and date of birth is required. If someone does not have a photo ID, they will have an attorney appointed to them to help as well as an in-person court date.
What is a bench warrant?
A bench warrant in the District of Columbia is a warrant issued by a judge to arrest an individual who has failed to appear in court on their set date.
How do I know if I have a bench warrant?
If a person is unsure if they missed their court date, they can visit the DC courts website , and search the “active warrant list” to determine whether there is an active bench warrant listed for that individual.
What if I have a bench warrant in a felony case?
Please note that this event is for misdemeanor bench warrants. But, if a person registers for this event and does not qualify, the Safe Surrender link will generate further instructions on next steps for non-misdemeanor bench warrants. It is still important to register for this event, because you will still be able to take action and receive instructions on what to do next through the registration link. In either case, you should absolutely consult with a DC criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate surrendering yourself outside of this program.
What if I want to voluntarily surrender before July 9th?
If a person would like to surrender before the dates listed above, they should communicate with their attorney to set up a time to handle the warrant in person earlier than July 9th. Scrofano Law PC has dealt with hundreds of warrant cases in which clients with bench warrants are able to walk into court and successfully walk out of court without the client spending a night in jail.
Even if you do not participate in this program, it is always better to surrender yourself to the Court rather than get arrested on the warrant and then brought through lockup. Voluntarily surrendering yourself increases the chances you will not be held in jail significantly.
If you or anyone you know has an active bench warrant, you should contact an experienced D.C. criminal defense lawyer. At Scrofano Law PC, we have lifted the heavy burden of being a fugitive off many clients’ shoulders. Whether you speak to an attorney in advance or not, you should absolutely take advantage of this program especially this year because it’s virtual.