What is a bench warrant and what do I do if there is one for me? 19 Answers as of January 14, 2013

I missed a court date and now supposedly there's a "bench warrant" out against me. What does this mean and what am I supposed to do now?

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Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
It means that there is a warrant out for your arrest. Hire an attorney to make arrangements to turn yourself in before you are picked up by the police.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/14/2013
The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
A bench warrant is when the Judge announces that he is issuing a warrant from the bench. It is most often done because of not appearing for Court when required. The best option for you now is to obtain a lawyer and get them to file a Motion to Recall the warrant, set a hearing and turn yourself in. Most likely, depending on what the original charge was, the Court will have you processed, set a bond and release you. If your case is in the Tampa Bay area and you would like further consultation, please contact me at the email address or telephone number attached to this response.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/11/2013
Law Office of Eric S. Lumberg | Eric S. Lumberg
You are subject to arrest at any time. Hire an attorney to resolve this matter and review all possible options and resolutions.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/10/2013
Natty Shafer Law
Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
It means you could be arrested any time you encounter a police officer. Many judges will withdraw the bench warrant if you appear in court. If you are at all worried, hire a lawyer to help you get the bench warrant withdrawn.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 1/10/2013
Andersen Law PLLC
Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
A bench warrant is a warrant for one's arrest issued by a judge. It authorizes the apprehension and booking of the defendant. You need to contact the issuing court. They will tell you what you need to do.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/10/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    A warrant for your arrest, because you missed court. You will be arrested on the warrant, IF you do not turn yourself in.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    If you missed court, there is a warrant for you. You must post a bond or you will be arrested at some point.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You should turn yourself into the court as soon as possible, before the authorities come and arrest you.Ask the judge to recall the warrant and vacate the bond forfeiture. Depending on the nature of the case, your background, and reason for missing the court date, the judge may grant your request, or take you into custody until you post new bail.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    It is a warrant for arrest ordered by a judge while on the bench when there is a non appearance by the defendant on a scheduled court date. You can post a bond and get a new court date or get a lawyer to try to get the warrant set aside and set a new date.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    That means you have a warrant for your arrest and you will be taken into custody if the police find you. Failing to appear at a required court appearance is contempt of court, especially if you are the defendant in a criminal charge. In some situations, failing to appear may result in a person forfeiting their bond. You'd get a chance to explain what happened to the judge. They essentially arraign the person on the failing to appear. In some situations, such as medical emergencies, etc., the judge won't impose any additional sanctions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    You should seek a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Perhaps there is not a warrant, or perhaps the court might be persuaded to recall the warrant, if your reason for missing your appearance is good enough.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    When you miss a court date, the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This warrant allows any law enforcement officer to take you into custody until you are taken to court. Normally you would be in jail for three days. If you have a bench warrant out on you, go to the courthouse that issued the warrant (the one you did not show up to) and ask the clerk to have your case called that day.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    File a motion to quash
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    You missed a court date, you will be arrested for doing that per the warrant from the judge. You can turn yourself in or wait to be arrested. The sooner you face the consequences generally it is better.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney. A bench warrant means the Court has ordered your arrest due to the missed court date.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It is a warrant that is issued from the bench. You can go to the court and turn yourself in and explain why you missed the date. Take your attorney with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It's a warrant for your arrest. You should hire a lawyer to recall it. A lawyer can do this without you present in court. That's a lot less risky than you showing up by yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2013
    Law Office of Evan E. Zelig
    Law Office of Evan E. Zelig | Evan E. Zelig
    A bench warrant is a warrant for your arrest issued by the Judge in a case. It is usually issued after a failure to appear in court on your case. If a warrant has been issued you need to clear that up. You should contact an attorney in your area for assistance and they will be able to help you clear up the warrant and handle your criminal case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2013
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