Arrest Warrant vs Bench Warrant

money for bench warrant

Understanding Your Options

Let’s begin this article by answering the question, “What is a warrant?” and then we can discuss the differences between Bench warrant vs arrest warrant. A warrant in terms of the law is a writ issued by a judge that permits law enforcement personnel to arrest a person suspected of some crime, perform an evidence search of a specific location, or seize property that has suspected ties to a legal case. 

What is a bench warrant?

A judge issues a bench warrant authorizing the arrest of a person accused of a crime or for failure to appear in court. It is called this because it is issued from the bench by the judge while in the court. 

Is there a difference between Bench warrant vs arrest warrant? Yes, an arrest warrant is issued when there is reason to believe a person has committed a crime after a proper investigation has been performed. This formal document is issued by a judge and given to law enforcement to arrest the person stated on the warrant. Unlike a bench warrant, the person named on the arrest warrant may or may not be advised.  

A bench warrant is typically issued by a judge sitting on the bench for any of the following:

  • Failure to pay a previously determined fine.
  • Failure to appear in court at a date and time determined previously. 
  • Failure to appear in court after a personal order by an attorney and judge.
  • Failure to appear in court to provide proof of enrollment, completion, or progress of community service; and
  • Failure to appear in court as dictated on a citation issued by a police officer.

A judge will have set bail when they issue a bench warrant, meaning this amount must be paid when the defendant appears in court or post bail. Retaining a criminal defense law firm as soon as you are arrested is always recommended. 

bench warrant arrest

Can you go to jail if you have a warrant?

Yes, that is one of the reasons a judge issues an arrest warrant or bench warrant. It is a legal document that authorizes law enforcement to take a person into custody for violating the law or the rules of a court. Generally speaking, it’s usually issued when the defendant does not show up for their court date.

How do you find out if you have an arrest warrant in Indianapolis?

A current arrest warrant or bench warrant information is available on the website, with exceptions of the courts indicating the warrant is confidential. A summary of the case is listed on this site of all criminal cases.  

Other ways to find out if a person has an arrest warrant or bench warrant is calling the judicial location where a warrant is suspected, like a city or county jail. An attorney or bail bondsman can make inquiries of arrest warrants on behalf of a person, usually for a fee.  Or anyone that wants to see if an arrest warrant or bench warrant has been issued for them can go to the closest jail and inquire. There is a chance of being arrested and taken into custody. 

How long do you get for failure to appear?

In the state of Indiana, missing a scheduled criminal court date is a serious matter resulting in an additional criminal offense charge for failure to appear. You can expect additional jail time and additional fines to be imposed that are separate from any original charges with a bench warrant issued for your arrest.

Any additional charges and fines imposed will depend on the original charge. If the original charge were a misdemeanor, the additional charge and fine won’t be as severe as they would be if the original were a felony charge. A battery charge would make the additional charge more severe than misdemeanor charges.

  • Failure to Appear Misdemeanor
    • If your original charge were a misdemeanor, the failure to appear would be a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanor is subject to punishment up to twelve months behind bars plus a fine not exceed $5,000.
  • Failure to Appear Felony
    • If the original charge was a felony, a failure to appear is a Class D felony. A Class D felony can be punished with six months to three years in prison with a fine not to exceed $10,000.

With a misdemeanor or felony failure to appear, the sooner you turn yourself in, the more room for bargaining you may have, especially with the services of a defense attorney. 

Does failure to appear to go on your record?

Yes, a failure to appear will result in a bench warrant for your arrest, making the failure to appear a criminal offense. As we stated earlier, depending on if the original charge were a felony or misdemeanor would determine what your punishment will be for the failure to appear. 

bench warrant

Last Words on Bench Warrant Issued

Is there bail for bench warrants? A bench warrant is like an arrest warrant, giving law enforcement authority and directions to arrest a person and take them into custody. They will be presented to the judge, and at that point, the judge will determine if bail is possible or not. Since the person was no-show for the original court date, without a good solid reason for missing that court date, the judge is unlikely going to state bail. 

To find out How to get a bench warrant dismissed, contact a criminal defense attorney. They can file a motion with the courts, and in most cases, if the defendant doesn’t have an extensive criminal history, they will probably be successful.