Is There a Warrant Issued
For Your Arrest?
If you currently have a criminal warrant in San Diego County
Contact me immediately so I can help you!
In California, bench warrants are the most common type of warrant issued. It gets the name "bench" because a judge or the bench gives it in court. If you currently have a bench warrant issued for your arrest, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal attorney. Although bench warrants are not issued for a crime committed, they are issued for violation of a court ruling. They should be considered serious and will be treated as an arrest warrant by law enforcement.
Judge’s often finding defendants that fail to appear in Contempt of Court, which includes willful disobedience or disregard of a court order and interferes with a judge’s ability to administer justice. The consequences of being in contempt can equal jail or prison time, expensive fines, and often driver's license suspension.
Bench warrants do not expire and stay effective until recalled by a judge. All this to say, you should expect to be arrested at some point. It appears much better to turn yourself in with an attorney by your side. In some cases, the warrant may be dismissed with a new court date issued. You and your defense lawyer determine how to approach the court, so your outcome is as favorable as possible. The judge has complete authority over the bench warrant from beginning to end, so the sooner you can face the judge, the better.
It is a mistake to think a bench warrant can be avoided and will eventually go away.
Bench warrants are issued when the rules of the court have been violated. Most issued bench warrants are due to failure to appear for a court date hearing but also include failure to appear for jury duty, pay fines, or failure to obey another court order. If a court hearing is missed, whether intentionally or not, the judge will issue a bench warrant. This type of warrant authorizes arrest and is often issued with an accompanying amount for bond. Once issued, a bench warrant is handled by law enforcement just like an arrest warrant and grants permission to place the named under arrest. It is not in anyone’s best interest to try to avoid a bench warrant. The best course of action is to hire a reputable defense lawyer who can represent you before the judge and work to get the best outcome for your hearing. Avoidance will only lead to a less favorable ruling, increased fines, and, very possibly, incarceration.
Once issued, the bench warrant will be given to local law enforcement, and their job at that point is to find you and arrest you. Depending on how busy the load is for local police, this process may happen immediately, or it could take days or even weeks. However, you will eventually be arrested and taken directly to court. It is left to the judge’s discretion to give a warning and put in place renewed court orders or to incarcerate you. Several factors are considered in this decision, including past criminal history, what led to the warrant, and flight risk. Flight risk is how likely the defendant is to leave the area or country before trial.
Arrests are unpleasant and even scary, causing anxiety and stress. If you are pulled over in your vehicle while there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, your car would likely be impounded, and you would be arrested on the spot. In the case of any type of warrant in California, it is best to face the judge because the longer you delay, the more severe the consequences, and it does not look favorable to the court.
Suppose you choose to wait until after your arrest. In that case, it is even more critical to reach out to a criminal defense attorney before going in front of the judge. Experienced attorneys know how the courts work and how the courts have ruled on similar cases. It is strongly advised not to attempt to fight these charges and warrants on your own. In addition to the emotional rollercoaster that follows an arrest, an attorney brings knowledge and insight to laws and your rights, with details easily missed if you represent yourself. Please don't leave it to chance, and allow an attorney with local knowledge and expertise to guide you through these challenging times.
Today, most reputable defense lawyers offer a free phone consultation. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to assist in keeping your freedom and avoid being incarcerated. The longer you wait to deal with the warrant, the more you significantly increase the likelihood that you will be arrested, lose your freedom, and face hefty fines. It is better to resolve any outstanding warrants as soon as possible and work with a defense lawyer that has a proven success record with similar cases in your area.