Bench Warrants and the Statute of Limitations

We have received this question several times and we have never posted it, but since I have seen it around now from many different folks, it must be a question that a lot in the community have, so here goes:

I got arrested in 1995 for criminal mischief as a misdemeanor in Philadelphia County. I didn't do it, so I figured, screw it. I never went to court because it was nonsense. I moved to Los Angeles. Now 15 years have passed. Is the case over? Did the statute of limitations run on the case? Can I still be prosecuted?

Unless I am missing something, you intentionally did not show up for court, so you got a bench warrant. The bench warrant tolls the statute of limitation and all of your speedy trial rights in favor of the district attorney. Of course you can still be prosecuted. In fact, if you get arrested or stopped in California by the police, they can hold you as a fugitive of justice and wait to see if Pennsylvania chooses to have you extradited--you could spend 90 days in jail waiting for Pennsylvania to come get you. You should come to Philly and have the bench warrant lifted immediately.

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