Different types of warrants
What is the meaning of warrants? In terms of the law, there are several types of warrants, each having its purpose. The most common warranty is the one that most people are familiar with – an arrest warrant and a search warrant is the second most recognized. A third type is a bench warrant.
The names of the warranty are self-explanatory as to what their distinct purpose is. Still, to summarize, the arrest warrant signed and issued by a judge for law enforcement officials to collect a person suspected of or charged with a crime. A search warrant is issued by a judge for law enforcement to search a person or property for evidence thought to be associated with a crime.
What is a bench warrant? A failure to appear before a judge will get a bench warrant issued. A bench warrant is issued because the defendant’s lack of attendance is considered violating court rules. After a bench warrant has been issued, it is treated like an arrest warrant, other than the officer are not searching for the defendant, but if they are found, they are arrested and taken to jail to appear before the judge.
Is bench warrant a criminal?
If you committed or were accused of a criminal activity that ended with you being arrested, you will be required by a judge to appear in court on a specific day and time. If you do appear before the judge on that day and time, it is a criminal offense. Thus the bench warrant is issued.
The difference between a bench warrant vs arrest warrant is how you are brought to jail. An arrest warrant, law enforcement officers, will actively search for you. They will show up at your place of employment or school. They will check your last known address and any previous addresses.
They will check with family and friends, and if the arrest warrant is or a severe enough crime, an APB (all points bulletin) could be issued. That measure is typically for a criminal that is considered armed and dangerous.
With a bench warrant, you will be arrested, but there isn’t any intense search as with an arrest warrant. If you happen to be pulled over for a traffic violation or some other minor incident, the officers will run a driver’s license, bench warrant, and background check. If the bench warrant shows up in this check, you’ll be arrested on the spot and taken to jail. So yes, a bench warrant is for the criminal offense of breaking the rules of the court as established by the reigning judge.
What is a Warrant sentence?
A warrant sentence is when the defendant is brought before the judge for a bench trial. In a criminal court, a defendant typically faces a jury trial. In some cases, the lawyers for both sides will agree to a bench trial, or the judge will order a bench trial.
Instead of the defendant’s case being heard by a jury of 12 piers, the only persons present at a bench trial are the defendant and their attorney, the prosecuting attorney, a bailiff and court reporter, and the judge. The judge will make the procedural decisions, and after hearing evidence, rule if the defendant is guilty or not of the crime committed.
What happens after a warrant is issued?
A bench warrant form is completed and signed by the judge for your arrest and handed over to law enforcement. At this point, your name is entered into the data bank and sent out to all local and state police.
Many people aren’t aware they have an arrest warrant or bench warrant issued in their name. The courts are not obligated to advise you, and their arrival at your place of work, school, doctor’s office, home, friends, etc., could be at any time for an arrest warrant.
Once you have been arrested following the warrant’s instructions, you are taken straight to jail. You will be scheduled on the court docket to see the judge who issued the warrant.
If you believe you may have an arrest warrant or a bench warrant in your name, most courts have an online process where you can search for your name. You can also call or visit the court you think the warrant is issued from but be prepared to be arrested while there.
Final Word on Bench Warrants
Can a bench warrant be dropped? Anytime a person fails to appear in court once a judge issues a bench warrant, the following events could take place:
- Release with a stern warning by the judge
- Sentence to time behind bars with no bail
- Sentenced to time behind bars with bail
If law enforcement arrests you on a bench warrant, you will be required to appear before the issuing judge. If your original arrest were in another city, county, or state, you’d be required to go through their process before being transferred to the court where the bench warrant was issued. Each jail you enter, there will be additional fines imposed.
The only way a bench warrant can be cleared is to appear before the issuing judge or your attorney appear on your behalf. If you appear yourself, it is recommended to have your attorney present. Need bail services as well? Call 844-YOU-WALK today!