What should you do if you discover a warrant is out for your arrest?

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If you discover that an arrest warrant or bench warrant has been issued against you, or if you failed to turn up to a court hearing you were ordered to, it’s important to take immediate action.  A warrant gives the police the right to take you into custody at any time – this could be at your home or place of work, during a routine traffic stop, or even when you appear in court for a different matter.  If you don’t take immediate action to resolve the problem, you will constantly be worrying about suddenly being stopped and taken to jail.

The Difference Between Bench and Arrest Warrants

Bench Warrant

If a bench warrant has been issued, law enforcement are directed to take you into custody, and then court, in order to address the warrant.  These are most usually assigned when a defendant violates their probation, fails to appear in court, or fails to obey a court order.  In the latter, this could be paying child support, failing to complete community service, or failing to pay a fine.  When picked up on a bench warrant, you could either be kept in jail until a new court date is issued, or be released after paying for court fees and a bond.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant also directs law enforcement to take you into custody.  These are usually issued once an individual has committed a crime and the police have the required evidence to arrest them.  Once you have been taken into custody, you will be required to remain there until a hearing or arraignment takes place.

What Should You Do?

If you have discovered an arrest warrant has been taken out against you, or if you know you failed to turn up to court, it’s best to get in touch with an attorney.  They may be able to arrange an alternative course of action with the court, such as scheduling a hearing about your bench warrant, or arranging for you to appear at an arraignment rather than being arrested.

An attorney will know when the best time to turn yourself into jail is, and will be able to advise you on your options depending on the state you are in and the law.  They can also help you at any hearings you must attend, and help to explain your reasons for failing to attend when previously requested.  They can also fight to keep you out of jail.

Be Co-operative

One thing that we must mention here is that it’s important to be as co-operative as possible with law enforcement.  You don’t want to end up in more trouble by talking back to officers or defying their commands.  While being respectful may not have an impact on the length of time you spend in jail, it will make your time there more comfortable.

Having an attorney acting on your behalf is the best thing you can do if you have a warrant out for your arrest.

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