Do Arrest Warrants Expire in Tennessee?

By Elizabeth (Lisa)Thompson
Arrest warrants do not expire in Tennessee.

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In the state of Tennessee, if you miss a court appearance, the judge issues an arrest warrant for failure to appear. You still face the original charges, whether it be for assault, a traffic ticket or something as serious as murder.

Failure to Appear

A "failure to appear" warrant does not disappear. Law enforcement does not usually pursue people actively for failure to appear, but the warrant remains in the system permanently.

Resolution

Most lawyers recommend that you turn yourself in, to address the failure to appear charges. Sometimes, the courts will grant you leniency for showing responsibility in facing your case. By turning yourself in, you do not have to worry about the charges showing up later in your life.

Penalites

In Tennessee, if your original crime was a felony or a class "A" misdemeanor, the arrest warrant for failure to appear will be a class "E" felony. The penalty may include one to six years in prison, along with fines of up to $3,000. If the original crime was a misdemeanor, the failure to appear is a also a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

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