Having a warrant for your arrest is no laughing matter. This article will explain what a bench warrant is, and what to do.
Bench warrants are the most common kind of warrants. They happen after you’ve violated the rules of court. It’s a written order issued by a judge. It authorizes the police to bring you in. First to jail – then to appear in court. The police treat it like an arrest warrant, and will use it to bring you to in front of a judge. Bench warrant means the police will not knock on your door looking for you. The bench warrant puts your name in a statewide database. If you are in contact with the police for any reason – even if it’s not your fault, the police will run your name – and take you into custody.
If you have any contact with the police, or if you attempt to renew your drivers license, you’ll be arrested, handcuffed, and put in jail – until a bond is paid.
Can I avoid the bench warrant?
Often, many people who contact our NYC bench warrant lawyers are unaware they even have a bench warrant. The easiest way to avoid getting arrested is to avoid trouble. Having a bench warrant doesn’t mean you’re a criminal. It means the judge wants to talk to you. The bench warrant is sent to your address, and if you don’t respond, then the judge issues a bench warrant. If the courts don’t have your correct address, they will not attempt to get the correct one. They simply mail the paperwork to the address they have on file. Then, next time you get pulled over, your name will be through the system by police officers who have pulled you over.
If you have a warrant, you will then be taken into custody, and held until you pay the bond, or until a time where the judge sees you.
What not to do
Don’t argue with the police. If you’re allowed to post bond, you’ll be given an appointment to go speak to the judge. The judge may ask you questions, i.e. why you didn’t come to court, or pay what you owe. Courts aren’t unreasonable – they will work with you. Many people don’t know they have a warrant until they are pulled over. If you’re pulled over, don’t argue with the police. They will tell you what they can to the best of their knowledge. You have nothing to gain by arguing. You will have to go to jail. If you argue, things only get worse. If you need to make a phone, and you’re being cooperative, the police officer will allow you to use your phone.
If you had someone in your vehicle with you, and they have a license, then that person’s license will be checked before letting you drive. If you’re alone, then the vehicle will be towed and impounded. You will be taken to the closest police station and booked. You will need to change into jail clothes depending on your county. If you tell the police your bond will be paid ASAP, then you may not need to change. You will be searched as a part of the process. Once you are bonded, and released, you will be given a bill for your jail stay. This is a booking fee. You are charged for a full day’s stay at the jail, even if you don’t eat your food. This has to be paid, or another warrant can be issued.
Do not hide if you find out there’s a warrant for your arrest. If you discover there’s a warrant for your arrest, then call the courthouse and ask what its about. You will be told about outstanding fines. These can be taken care of by paying them, or setting up an appointment to speak to a judge to make arrangements. Depending on the reason for the warrant, you might have to turn yourself into the police. Courts will look favorably on the fact your reaching out to them and taking responsibility.
Come to court
If you decide to see the judge, you’ll be given an appointment. Make sure you have your paperwork in order. Arrive early, so the bailiff is aware and can inform the judge about your presence. Your name will be called, and you’ll get to speak to the judge. Don’t raise your voice or yell. If you have proof that the charges are false – then now is the time. You will give paperwork to the bailiff, and if the judge feels the evidence is correct – then the charges will be dismissed.
Make your payment
If the judge decides you owe money, then judge will ask you to pay. You will be given an amount to pay, and a date to have it paid. Make every effort to make these payments on time.
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