Individuals who appear before a court of law and fail to comply with the respective court’s mandates may receive a bench warrant. You’re usually liable for significant penalties regardless of your reasons for not following court orders. Hiring a bench warrants attorney can help you build a strong defense and minimize or avoid such penalties.
What Is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is an order a judge issues to authorize an individual’s arrest. Many individuals with bench warrants issued against them have been charged with a different crime or misdemeanor and failed to appear in court at a specific date and time to defend against the respective charges. Such warrants are more common in criminal cases, but they may also be issued for civil cases on occasion.
Once a bench warrant is released, law enforcement officers can use it to apprehend the defendant and take them before the court to face their charges. The general purpose of these warrants is to deter defendants in various types of court cases from violating court orders and to keep the judicial process as efficient as possible. Other common reasons for bench warrants include the following:
- Failing to perform court-mandated community service.
- Failing to sign up and attend court-mandated classes or sessions.
- Failing to pay a fine as a result of a misdemeanor.
- Failing to comply with probation terms or restraining orders.
- Failing to pay court-mandated child support.
What Are Some Differences Between a Bench Warrant and a Typical Arrest Warrant?
Bench and arrest warrants are essentially similar since they both authorize law enforcement officers to find the defendant and bring them to court to face their charges. However, there are certain differences between the two, such as the following:
- Context: As mentioned earlier, a judge issues a bench warrant when an individual fails to appear in court. In contrast, arrest warrants are issued by judges to authorize law officers to arrest someone who has likely committed a crime.
- Purpose: The main purpose of an arrest warrant is to help initiate criminal proceedings against an individual who’s suspected of having committed a crime. A bench warrant’s purpose is to apprehend an individual who was already found guilty of committing a crime or misdemeanor and has failed to comply with court orders.
- Execution: Depending on the severity of the offense, law enforcement officers may or may not actively pursue a bench warrant. However, they’ll actively pursue suspects with issued arrest warrants.
What Happens After the Judge Issues the Bench Warrant?
Once a bench warrant is issued for you, it will appear in the state’s database. If you live in Nevada, this means that all Nevada-based law enforcement officers will have access to the document. Although they may not actively seek to find you and bring you before the court, any encounter with a law enforcement officer, even a routine traffic stop, may lead to your arrest. Also, there’s no deadline or statute of limitations for a bench warrant, which means that it remains valid until it’s enforced.
If you encounter a law enforcement officer who discovers your outstanding bench warrant, they’ll usually take you into custody. Depending on the case, you may be given the chance to rectify your situation or be held in custody until a scheduled court hearing. In some situations, turning yourself in and showing your willingness to resolve your issue can result in no extra legal ramifications. If you wish to find out if you have an outstanding bench warrant in Nevada, you can contact the jurisdiction that you think may have issued it.
These are some websites and phone numbers for court systems in and around the Las Vegas area:
- Las Vegas Municipal Court: 702-229-6201.
- Las Vegas/Clark County Justice Court: 702-671-3201.
- North Las Vegas Municipal Court: 702-633-1130.
- North Las Vegas Justice Court: 702-455-7801.
- Henderson Justice Court: 702-455-7951.
- Mesquite Justice Court: 702-346-5298.
How Can an Attorney Help Me With a Bench Warrant?
As with many situations when you have to deal with the law, hiring an attorney with experience in bench warrants can help you in multiple ways. They can review the specifics of your situation and use their expertise to provide personalized advice that can maximize your chances of having your bench warrant cleared. Some specific ways in which a bench warrant attorney can help you include the following:
- They can assist you in understanding the situation you’re in: The first thing an attorney who specializes in bench warrants can do for you is to explain your situation and outline your options. They can help you understand the possible outcomes and discuss the ways in which you can clear the respective warrant.
- They can represent you in a court of law: Having an experienced attorney represent you after being arrested with a bench warrant can help improve your outcome. They can convince the court that you had valid reasons for finding yourself in the situation you’re in and persuade the judge to give you another chance.
- They can negotiate your charges with the prosecutor: A bench warrant attorney is especially useful in serious situations in which you risk a significant fine, jail time, and having the incident permanently recorded on your criminal record. Depending on the situation, they may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor in charge of your case and reduce or dismiss your charges.
Work With De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers To Clear Your Bench Warrant
If, for any given reason, there’s a bench warrant issued in your name, contact us at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. We’ll go through your situation with you and work to build a strong case to convince the judge that you had a legitimate reason for being in the position that resulted in your getting the respective warrant. In serious situations where the judge may consider retaining you and setting a high bail, we can argue on your behalf to reduce it and keep you out until your next court date.