What to Do When There Is a Bench Warrant Out for Your Arrest

When a defendant fails to appear in court or otherwise violates the rules of the court in a criminal case or other type of proceeding, such as failing to appear in court to contest a traffic ticket, the judge may issue a “bench warrant” for their arrest. While traditional police-initiated arrest warrants spark immediate action from law enforcement to identify and arrest a defendant, bench warrants oftentimes do not cause the police to come and knock down a person’s door looking for them. Instead, the defendant’s name will be added to a statewide database accessible by the entire law enforcement community.

If the defendant becomes involved with the police in any capacity, including car accidents or other incidents that are not their fault, the police will take them into custody for the outstanding warrant. Once arrested, a defendant will not be released until they are able to post bond or until they are able to appear before a judge. Bail for bench warrants will be set at an amount to cover both the fines and court costs of the original offense and the failure to appear.

I Have a Bench Warrant – What Now?

If you know there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, you will usually be able to contact the clerk of the court or police department and arrange to pay the necessary bail amount to remove the warrant. Be sure to find out which types of payments are acceptable, as most municipalities will not accept checks or credit cards.

In many cases, any bail you may have paid for your initial offense will be forfeited at this point. However, if you are able to provide a very convincing reason as to why you missed your court date and did not contact the court, the judge may be willing to let you get your bail back or at least count the funds against your fines and penalties. Having a powerful criminal defense attorney by your side can be critical to your success.

If a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, contact the Riverside County criminal defense lawyer at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at once. Our powerful advocates have more than 50 years of combined legal experience and can provide the steadfast advocacy you need to help you secure the most desirable outcome possible for your situation.

The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can help. Call (951) 687-6003 today to discuss your defense options in detail.


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