What is a Bench Warrant?
Bench Warrants are when someone violets the rules of the courts. Typically this happens when someone misses a court hearing. When this happens the judge will authorize the police to bring you back to the courts. However, the police will first bring you to jail, then you will appear in court.
Keep in mind that each area around the United States may have different rules and regulations on the process of how bench warrants are processed.
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A common question we get is will the police actively look for me with a bench warrant open on me? The answer is no, the police will not actively be knocking down your door looking for. Most get caught on routine traffic stops. When a bench warrant is out for your arrest your name is put into a statewide database. When a stop is made your name is searched for any open warrants. When the officer sees that your name is on the list for an open warrant you will be arrested and brought to jail.
Here are some reasons a bench warrant could be issued:
- Not paying a fine
- Violating probation
- Failing to show at a court-ordered program
- Committing crime when out on bail
- Not complying to conditions of a bail
Will Bench Warrants Expire?
No, typically bench warrants will not expire. In fact, it will probably last until death unless you get caught or take care of the bench warrant.
We suggest that you take care of this warrant as soon as possible. If you have the means to hire an attorney to help navigate the warrant we suggest you do so. An attorney can help eliminate jail time and remove the warrant as quickly as possible.
What Happens When The Police Pull You Over
Do Not Argue
The first rule is to comply, don’t argue, it will not get you to know anywhere. Your name is put into a statewide database and when the officer runs your name he or she will see that you have an active bench warrant out for you.
Remember, the officer is only following what he or she sees when running your name into the computer. It is not their fault that you have a bench warrant open. Be nice, and cooperate with the officer. Arguing and fighting back will only make the situation worse.
Comply At The Station
When you are brought into the police station for booking do what you’re told. This will make the process easier and quicker. Once in jail, you will have the ability to post bail and be released. Typically, the fines will cover the original offense and any other admin fees.
Once the process of paying the fines have been done a new court date will be made and you would be released from jail.
However, if the judge feels you could be a flight risk there is the chance that you will not be permitted bail and you would then stay in custody until your court date.
Bench Warrant Check
Do you know for sure that you are free of warrants? If not, then you can do a bench warrant on check on yourself or anyone else. Making sure your free of warrants is important. If you have an open bench warrant on you and you get pulled over, you will be heading to jail.
Local Courthouse Search
Start by accessing your local courthouse online to see if you can search warrants. Most courthouses have an area where you can search for records directly online. If you cannot find this information we suggest you call directly and ask how you can search for open warrants.
Local Sheriff’s websites
Access the local Sheriff’s website to see if they provide an online search for open warrants. Most of Sheriff’s websites have the ability for searching directly online.
If you decide to call the Sheriff’s website directly we would recommend having a family member or friend call on your behalf to inquire about this information.
Utilize a search service that specializes in finding public records data. These services will allow anyone to search for records directly online using a first and last name to perform a record search.
This is a fast and cost-effective way to find records, not to mention must of the services provide unlimited search capabilities.
You Have A Bench Warrant, What Should I Do?
If possible, hire a lawyer to help navigate your open bench warrant. A lawyer that specializes in this type of law can make riding your warrant much easier and quicker, and they might even help you see no jail time if you haven’t turned yourself in.
An attorney can help you with the entire process. From contacting the courts to eliminate jail time. If you can afford to hire an attorney we recommend doing this.
Remember, if you have an active bench warrant or any warrant for that matter do not let it go, warrants will not go away on their own and it will only make it worse on yourself when you do get caught.
And if you think you will not have to deal with a warrant, think again. You will not be able to renew your driver license, get a passport, or any other process where you have to have your name run.
Most Frequently Asked Bench Warrant Questions
Q: Will the police actively Look for me if I have an open bench warrant?
A: Typically, No. The police will not actively be searching for you if you have a bench warrant. Your name is entered into a statewide database and if you get pulled over or stopped for another offense and your name is searched your bench warrant will show and you will be arrested.
Q: Will a bench warrant expire if I don’t get pulled over by the police?
A: Bench warrants do not expire. If the police fail to bring the subject in the warrant does not disappear. It will remain outstanding until you die, or the judge quashes or recalls the warrant for whatever reason deemed fit.
Q: What happens when I turn myself in on any kind of bench warrants?
A: You will be logged into the jail and two things could happen. If there is a bod then you could pay that and then leave, but you will have to appear that next scheduled court hearing date. If there is no bond or maybe you can’t afford to pay the bond. In this case, you will stay in jail until your scheduled court date.