What Is a Bench Warrant?
Most people think that getting arrested or accused of a crime will never happen in their lifetime, but did you know that you could be arrested for simply not showing up to a traffic ticket court date? Though that may seem extreme, some judges will issue a bench warrant that allows officers to arrest the defendant. Most people don’t realize what bench warrants are and what type of authority they give to law enforcement. Basically, a bench warrant is issued when you fail to follow the orders of the court.
Some of the most common examples include:
- Not showing up to a hearing or court date
- Failing to follow the conditions of your probation
- Not showing up to a jury summons
If you are not facing serious criminal charges, law enforcement probably won’t be knocking on your door the next morning. However, your name will be included in a database that serves the entire law enforcement community. If you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop, involved in a fender bender, or have any type of run in with police, you will be arrested and jailed for your outstanding warrant. Unfortunately, you will have to post bail before you can be released from jail. After that, you will receive a new court date. If you posted bail before the missed court date, you will likely have forfeited that money.
What should I do if I know a bench warrant is issued in my name?
If you know that you missed a court date or violated your probation and that there is likely a bench warrant out for your name, you should turn yourself in as soon as possible. Prior to doing this though, it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney if you did not already have one. They will be able to help you argue you case to the judge and demonstrate why you missed your previous court date or violated your probation. If you wait to get arrested by law enforcement, you will likely not receive as much leniency from a judge.
Do not wait to take action! Protect your name and your future by contacting my firm today for counsel.