Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

I have a bench warrant: What do I do? 

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

California courts issue different types of warrants. One of these is the bench warrant. Unlike other warrants, a bench warrant can be issued against you without your knowledge. In fact, it can take a minor infraction with the law to learn about an active bench warrant against you. 

By learning about bench warrants, you will be better equipped to avoid situations that can lead to the court issuing one against you. Additionally, you will know how to respond to a bench warrant and ensure a favorable outcome for your case. 

Understanding a bench warrant

This is an arrest warrant that allows law enforcement to apprehend and bring you to court. However, it is important to understand that law enforcement might not actively pursue you when there is an active bench warrant on you. Rather, an encounter with the police can lead to the discovery of the warrant and, thus, an arrest. 

So when can the court issue a bench warrant against you?

Any arrest warrant is a big deal. That said, the court will likely issue a bench warrant against you under the following circumstances:

  • When you fail to honor a traffic citation 
  • When you fail to comply with a custody order
  • When you violate the terms of an order of protection
  • When you fail to appear in court for your trial 
  • Responding to a bench warrant

It is important to know what to do when the court issues a bench warrant against you. Depending on the facts of your case, you might want to contact the court that issued the warrant so the clerk can issue a new court date. This will eliminate the possibility of an arrest. 

You can also turn yourself in so you can address the matter. In this case, the police might help you schedule a new court date or detain you until you can be arraigned in court. Whatever decision you make, be sure to know your legal options so you can safeguard your rights.