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Tsarnaev Mom's Shoplifting Warrant May Land Her in Jail

By Brett Snider, Esq. on April 25, 2013 1:30 PM

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of the Boston bombing suspects, may be facing jail time for shoplifting if and when she returns to the United States.

Tsarnaeva, 45, who now lives in Russia, has an outstanding warrant for her arrest based on a two-year-old charge for shoplifting, reports Bloomberg News.

With Tsarnaeva reportedly planning to return to the States to aid investigators and stand by her son Dzhokhar, it is possible that her old theft charges may land her in jail.

The Shoplifting Charge

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was charged with attempting to steal up to $1,600 in designer dresses from a Lord & Taylor boutique in Natick, Massachusetts, in June 2011, according to Bloomberg.

After failing to appear for her hearing later that year, a court issued a warrant for her arrest. That means police may choose to arrest her if she sets foot on U.S. soil, Russia's RT television reports.

Outstanding Warrants

This is not the first time that a bench warrant for an outstanding criminal charge has come back to haunt someone.

When a defendant is out on bail, a judge may issue a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear at a hearing for her case.

An arrest warrant authorizes police to lawfully arrest the individual named in the warrant for the crimes named in the warrant.

Although each state has different laws regarding arrest warrants for defendants failing to appear, these basic facts hold true:

  • A bench warrant for your arrest doesn't ever expire, and will remain on your record until it is resolved;
  • Failure to appear to a court date may be charged as an additional crime; and
  • A bench warrant typically carries its own additional bail amount.

If and When Tsarnaeva Returns

Authorities have not yet confirmed whether they will bring Tsarnaeva into custody if she returns to the United States.

But if she surrenders herself to Massachusetts authorities and is arraigned for her failure to appear for her shoplifting charges, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva may face a mandatory jail sentence, a fine of up to $50,000, and increased bail.

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