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Bench Warrant Explained
(Here’s What Happens When You Turn Yourself)

If you have a bench warrant and turn yourself in, you will be brought before a judge for a hearing to fulfill your legal obligation to the court. Your goal at the hearing is to demonstrate that your violation of the court’s order, which led to the issuing of the bench warrant, was justifiable or excusable.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant, also known as a “body attachment,” is the most common type of warrant issued in the United States. A bench warrant refers to a warrant that is issued from the bench, meaning the judge.

Also Read: Bench Warrant Hearing

What is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes police to take someone accused of a crime into custody. The warrant is issued by the competent authority upon a showing of probable cause, which means a warrant may be issued if a reasonable person would believe the information at hand is adequate to suggest criminal behavior. Arrest warrants serve the purpose of protecting people from unlawful arrests under the 4th Amendment to the United States Consitution.

Related Article: 5 Types of Warrants

What's the Difference Between a Bench Warrant and an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is issued after a grand jury or law enforcement officials have probable cause to suspect that a defendant has committed a crime. Bench warrants are typically issued when a person fails to appear for a court hearing or fails to answer a subpoena.

Also Read: What is a Writ of Coram Nobis Used For?

How Long Can You Go to Jail for a Bench Warrant?

Once a bench warrant is issued, law enforcement has the authority to take you into custody immediately. Contempt of court is a misdemeanor offense that could result in a county jail sentence of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $10,000.

Also Read: Here’s What Happens When You Fail to Appear

Do Bench Warrants Expire?

While bench warrants never expire, both bench warrants and arrest warrants must be executed within a reasonable length of time. If your constitutional right to a speedy trial is violated because the police did not serve the warrant promptly, your attorney may be able to have the case thrown out.

Related Article: 5 Signs That a Criminal Case Is Weak

What is Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court refers to the disobedience of an order of a court. Direct contempt of court occurs in the presence of the court. Contempt of court can also be indirect, meaning that the violation occurred outside of the courtroom. In most cases, indirect contempt of court is reported to the authorities by another party or reported by another party to the court.

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