What Should I Do If I Have a Bench Warrant Against Me?

Having a warrant out for your arrest is a frightening experience. However, there are different types of warrants and each gives the police different authority to look for you, arrest you, and bring you into custody. Here’s what you should know about bench warrants in particular and how to get the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Sacramento. 

Bench Warrants Defined 

The most prevalent form of warrant issued in the state of California is a bench warrant, which is occasionally called a “body attachment” warrant. This means a warrant was issued by the court from “the bench.” 

These warrants are different from active warrants, meaning that the police aren’t actively looking for defendants with bench warrants on them. However, if a person is stopped by police and law enforcement sees a warrant on their record, the officer is duty bound to arrest the person and take them into custody. 

Why Are Bench Warrants Issued?

A body attachment warrant differs from an arrest warrant in that it is not issued based on suspicion of a crime. The most common reasons for bench warrants include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to appear to your court-appointed hearing 
  • Failure to pay mandatory fines 
  • Failure to abide by another court order 

These actions are considered contempt of court. You may face the following penalties: 

  • Probation violation 
  • Incarceration
  • License suspension 

If you have been indicted by a grand jury, a judge can also issue a bench warrant in this instance. In this case, a judge will approve a bench warrant if the defendant is not already incarcerated at the time the indictment is served.

Bail Considerations 

If you’ve not paid bail and the responding officer feels your bail needs to be increased, they can file a petition with the court. If the officer is successful, you will be detained until you pay the increased amount. If higher bail is authorized, a bench warrant may be issued. If you do not appear in court after posting bail, you may forfeit your bail rights. 

When to Contact an Experienced California Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you were charged with a crime in California, you need the help of a seasoned California criminal defense attorney. Contact Jennifer Mouzis today at (916) 822-8702 to discuss your case in detail or schedule a consultation.