Not unlike, but often confused for an arrest warrant, a bench warrant is a different kind of arrest warrant that is issued more often than not when a defendant fails to show up to a scheduled court hearing. Should a defendant miss their day in court, a judge can issue a bench warrant so that authorities have the right to bring the defendant into court.
Reasons for a Bench Warrant
Bench warrants were created to to curb defendants from missing or actively avoiding their court orders. It is a form a punishment for failing to appear at a required court date. A common scenario involves a defendant committing some form of crime, such as a speeding violation, and being issued a court order, only to miss it later. But a violation or crime is not always necessary. Another common reason bench warrants are issued is failure to report for jury duty.
Dealing with a Bench Warrant
It is important to note that when a bench warrant is issued, official authorities will rarely actively bring the defendant into court. It could be possible that a person has a bench warrant without even knowing it. Once a person has been arrested on a bench warrant, they must post bail in order to be released. Once bail is posted, a new court date is given. It’s not uncommon for a judge to decide that a defendant will pose a risk of failing to appear yet again. In this case, bail may be denied altogether.
In many cases, a person learns they have a bench warrant out for them in the most inconvenient ways. Getting pulled over for speeding or having any encounter with a police officer could lead to being informed about a bench warrant.
It is important to know what your rights are if you have a bench warrant out for you. If you or a loved one has discovered they have a bench warrant, contact a criminal defense attorney who could help. Contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today to schedule your case evaluation.