You were taken into custody for stealing from a store and then released on your own recognizance. Yet you fail to make the court date for your case. You could have a bench warrant issued for you. Keep reading to learn what this means and how to proceed. Then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
What is a bench warrant?
A bench warrant is a court order that directs the police to take a person into custody and hold them in detention until they can appear in court. A bench warrant is typically issued by a judge if a person misses a court date or violates their probation.
It should be noted that most jurisdictions consider you to have committed a new offense if you miss a court date. Failure to Appear (or “FTA”) is the name of the crime. Usually, FTA is classified as a minor infraction. If you think a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, you should turn yourself in, get in touch with the court that issued the warrant, or speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
If I have a bench warrant, should I try contacting the court?
If a judge has issued a bench warrant for your arrest, you might want to try calling the court that issued the warrant. A clerk might be able to provide you a new court date depending on the particulars of your case and the court’s rules.
When you get a new court date, you typically avoid the prospect of being arrested. You would then just show up for the new hearing and consult with the judge to determine what you needed to do to nullify or revoke the initial bench warrant.
Do you have to surrender yourself if you have a bench warrant?
In some circumstances, you can be required to surrender to assist with an outstanding bench warrant. If you do surrender, a police officer or other law enforcement official may assist you in setting up a new court appearance, release you on your own recognizance, or hold you in custody until you can go in front of a judge.
If you are detained, you might be able to post bail and be freed. But, if you are a flight risk or the warrant was issued in connection with a major felony conviction, bail may not be a possibility for you (as opposed to a misdemeanor case).
Should you speak with a criminal defense attorney if I have a bench warrant?
Normally, yes. If you are facing a bench warrant, it is frequently a good idea to get legal counsel from a criminal defense lawyer or law firm. This holds true even if a judge has issued a different kind of warrant against you (for example, an arrest warrant).
A defense lawyer can help in bench warrant instances by helping you turn yourself in to the police, attempting to keep you out of jail while you wait for a new hearing, making sure you don’t get charged with any new crimes, assisting you in keeping your criminal record as clear as possible, and representing you at a bench warrant hearing after the appointment of a new court date are all services that we can provide.
What is a bench warrant hearing?
A “bench warrant hearing” is typically used to refer to a court case in which you seek to revoke or invalidate an active bench warrant. If you have a bench warrant, you can either turn yourself in or you can be arrested and brought to court.
An attorney can frequently represent you at these sessions. But, in some circumstances (such as when facing significant criminal accusations), you will be required to attend the hearing in person with your attorney. You normally have to explain to a judge at these sessions why you missed your court date since a judge typically issues a bench warrant if you fail to appear in court.
You might work to demonstrate that you did not realize that a court case had been filed against you, did not receive notice of the court date, fulfilled with all court attendance requirements, had to attend to or deal with an emergency.
A judge will determine whether to revoke your arrest warrant and free you, or keep you behind bars. Be aware that bench warrants are rarely recalled on their own. This means that in order to try to have it thrown out, you normally have to request a hearing. Contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.