How Do Bench Warrants Work?

A Judge Can Issue a Bench Warrant If You Fail to Show Up For Court.

What is the difference between a warrant and a bench warrant?

While both a warrant and a bench warrants allow peace officers to arrest you, they are different types of warrants. If you are suspected of a crime police can request an arrest warrant from a judge to arrest you if the police offer enough evidence to the judge to issue the warrant. Bench warrants, on the other hand, are usually issued by the judge or magistrate because you failed to appear in court at an appointed date and time.

Bench warrant vs. arrest warrant

Here is a list of basic differences between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant:

Bench warrant

  • Used in both civil and criminal cases
  • Issued by judge when defendant does not show up for appointed court date for a prior charge.
  • In some cases, bench warrants are issued if a person is a no-show for jury duty.
  • Used in child support cases when other means of receiving payment have been unsuccessful.

Arrest warrant

  • Normally issued only in criminal cases.
  • Issued by judge when law enforcement or credible witness presents judge with sufficient evidence for probable cause.
  • Also issued if a grand jury indicts you for a crime.

Bench warrants are serious business. If a bench warrant has been issued, you can be held in jail until the next court appearance, but you may be able to bond out. If you need bench warrant assistance make sure to get help from Indiana Bail Bonds. Give us a call at 317-423-9300.

Bench warrant with no bond

If you arrested on a bench warrant, it’s possible you can be held in jail until your next court date. You can be bonded out of jail, but it’s very likely that not only will additional charges be made, your bail amount will be higher this time around. You may also have to forfeit your bail bond. If you had been previously charged with a felony you may be ineligible for bail.

Bench warrant example

Let’s say you have DUI charges and were bonded out of jail after agreeing to appear in court. If you fail to appear in court on your scheduled date, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Will I go to jail if I turn myself in for a bench warrant?

Turning yourself in on a bench warrant and making an appearance before the judge will not automatically prevent you from going to jail on failure to appear charges. In fact, before you turn yourself in you may want to arrange some way of posting bail. You can do this by talking to a bail bondsman beforehand or talking with a family member or friend who can arrange to pay the bond.

How do you get rid of a bench warrant?

To get rid of a bench warrant, you either have to turn yourself in, get stopped and arrested by the police or have an attorney make an agreement with the judge over the terms of the warrant. If you turn yourself in you need to make arrangements for posting bail on failure to appear charges. If you call the court clerk or the police beforehand, you can arrange to come in and pay bail to get the warrant released.

Can a bench warrant be dropped?

Generally, the only way for a bench warrant to be dropped is by turning yourself in and appearing before the judge. When you appear before the judge, you will still have to explain why you missed your court date in the first place. If the explanation is accepted, the court date will be rescheduled, otherwise you may be fined or taken into custody.

Can you have a warrant without knowing?

Yes, you can have a warrant without knowing it. A judge can issue a warrant at any time if probable cause merits it without you or even law enforcement knowing it until they receive the warrant. Arrest warrants for instance normally have no advance notice to prevent the suspect from fleeing.

If You Appear Before The Judge a Bench Warrant May Be Dropped But You Can Still Go To Jail on Failure to Appear Charges.

Bench warrant to issue

If a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, this is a serious matter. It usually means you have failed to appear in court for a prior charge. A bench warrant can also be issued if you have failed to make child support payments or fail to show up for jury duty. Although a warrant for arrest has been issued law enforcement does not normally actively search for the person, unless the offense is very serious. You can get arrested, however, at any time you have an interaction with law enforcement, including traffic stops. You can also be jailed on failure to appear charges once you are arrested on the bench warrant.

If you have been arrested on a bench warrant in Avon and Indianapolis, IN and need help bonding out, make sure to contact Indiana Bail Bonds. We are ready to help. Give us a call at 317-423-9300.