A bench warrant is an order issued by a judge for the attachment or arrest of a person.
The name of a process sometimes given to an attachment issued by
order of a court, against an individual for some contempt, or for the purpose of
arresting a person accused. There are many reasons why a judge may issue a bench warrant. Including:
FAILURES TO APPEAR:
A Judge will issue a bench warrant for failure to
appear in Court (otherwise known as an "FTA") when you have promised to do
so. The bench warrant is then entered into the Department of Justice computer
system. Be careful! If you are stopped by a police officer, a systems check by
your California driver's license number will reveal the warrant and you will be
arrested and brought before the Court. Very often, bail will be denied when you
have failed to appear on prior occasions.
**This can even happen in a traffic case!
- FAILURE TO PAY FINES: A Judge will issue a bench warrant for failure to pay
a fine. Again, if you are stopped by a police officer, he will locate the warrant in
the system and you can be arrested and brought before a Judge.
- FAILURE TO SHOW PROOF OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
- FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR SENTENCING OR CONVICTION (that the warrant
could have been issued after there was a plea or trial but before sentence was
- If you choose to represent yourself in these types of matters, you are at a huge
disadvantage. First of all, you may be arrested and taken into custody as soon
as you walk into court. An experienced attorney will be able to recall the warrant
and in many cases avoid you being taken into custody.
Generally, in a misdemeanor case your appearance is not requred and I can
appear on your behalf if retained. If you did not appear (and you did not hire an
attorney) and failed to appear, I can appear for you to request that the bench
warrant be stayed or recalled. Once the bench warrant is recalled, I can
arraign you on the charges that are pending and set a pre-trial date to discuss
your case with the District Attorney. Having the bench warrant recalled or set
aside will avoid having the Judge taking you into custody.
In a felony case, your presence will be required for me to request that the
Judge recall the bench warrant. If the warrant is recalled in front of the Judge,
he may want you to post bail since you have shown him that you will not appear
on your written promise.
A bench warrant may result iny our license being suspended by theDepartment
of Motor Vehicles ("DMV"). Once the FTA is cleared, you will have to pay a fee to
get an abstract from the clerk of the court. An abstract is a document issued by
the clerk of the court and submitted to DMV to show proof of that the FTA is
cleared (by recalling the bench warrant). DMV may also charge you a fee to
reinstate your license.
*An Arrest Warrant is different than a Bench Warrant. In an arrest warrant the
police obtain a formal document signed by a judge requesting the arrest of a
person. An arrest warrant is generated after an investigation by law
enforcement whereby they have a reasonable suspicion that some criminal
activity has occurred.
Call me at (408)876-7448 for legal guidance. I am available 24 hours a day.