If there’s a bench warrant out for your arrest, you’re now facing the risk of being arrested at any time and taken into custody. If arrested, you may be released on higher bail or denied bail altogether. You could face even more criminal charges if you fail to comply with a court order or don’t appear in court. A warrant can negatively impact your future housing, employment, and other opportunities.
If you suspect or become aware that there has been a bench warrant issued for your arrest, it’s critical that you immediately contact a reliable San Diego criminal defense lawyer. They can help you determine if a bench warrant is out against you. They can also help you fight for your legal rights.
What Is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is a court order for failure to comply with another court order, failure to appear in court, or failure to pay a fine. Once the judge issues the bench warrant, law enforcement can treat it in the same way they would an arrest warrant. Once there’s a bench warrant issued on you, police officers can come to your home, work, or anywhere else and arrest you at any time.
It’s at a judge’s sole discretion whether or not to issue a bench warrant. A bench warrant, unlike an arrest warrant, isn’t issued because of suspected criminal activity. It is generally issued if an individual:
- Failed to show up for court
- Failed to pay a fine
- Failed to appear for a progress report
- Failed to appear on a subpoena
- Failed to pay a traffic ticket/citation
- Failed to obey another court order
- Violated probation
- Failed to pay child support or alimony
A bench warrant typically doesn’t expire. It stays in effect until the judge recalls it or until you appear in court. Essentially, it stays active indefinitely, and it doesn’t matter when it was issued or where you are currently located in the world.
How to Find Out If You Have One
In the state of California, you can find out if you have an active warrant against you by:
- Visiting the Superior Court website or the appropriate County Sheriff’s website and do a search on your name.
- Visiting the private CaliforniaArrests.org site and running a search.
- Visiting the California AG’s site and order your criminal history record. This will require you to pay a $25 fee and submit your fingerprints.
- Paying a fee to a third-party service and have them do a background check on you.
- Having your attorney contact the San Diego police department.
After the judge issues a warrant against you, the court clerk will enter it into the law enforcement site or court. It will then be accessible through the U.S. Department of Justice’s site.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Dod Law Today
Chances are, if there’s a bench warrant out against you, you’ll receive notification in the mail, but not always. However, once it’s out and has your name on it, law enforcement can arrest you anywhere and at any time. If you failed to follow a court order or you missed your scheduled court date, it’s in your best interest to contact one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers here at Dod Law.