A Bench Warrant is a written order by a Judge directing law enforcement to arrest someone and bring them before the Court. Bench Warrants usually arise when someone is charged with a crime and then fails to appear at Court when directed. If you had a Bench Warrant issued against you, it’s not the end of the world but you will want to take care of the warrant as soon as possible. The process of getting rid of the warrant is called “Quashing the Warrant.”
There are several ways to get rid of a bench warrant: contacting the Court, having your attorney file a Motion to Quash, or sit back and do nothing. No matter which decision you make, you will eventually have to go before a Judge and ask them to remove the warrant.
Contacting the Court
Every Court will have a procedure in place for dealing with Bench Warrants. You can contact the Court, either by phone or in person, and ask them what you will need to do. Most courts will allow you to call their Clerk’s Office and ask about the procedure in your case. Before the Clerk’s Office will set a hearing for you, you will need to come down and make a personal appearance. Depending on the circumstances, they may require you to pay a fee or post a bond before they will set the hearing.
Remember that having a Court set a hearing to determine if a Bench Warrant will get quashed is NOT the same thing as actually having it quashed. The warrant will remain active until a Judge signs another order quashing it.
Motion to Quash
The easiest way to get rid of a Bench Warrant is to have your attorney do it for you. He or she can contact the Court and ask for a hearing before a Judge. This is generally accomplished by filing a Motion to Quash Bench Warrant. Although some courts will require a personal appearance by the Defendant before allowing any hearing to be set, most won’t.
Sit back and do nothing
Believe it or not, this is the most common way of dealing with a bench warrant. The downside of this method, of course, is that you have no control over when you get picked up. The only thing you can be sure of is that it will happen at the most inconvenient time. For example, if you are stopped for a minor driving offense and have kids in the car; who will take custody of the kids while you are on your way to jail?
What happens if the warrant is not quashed?
If the warrant is not quashed, then you will be taken into custody and you will remain there until either the case is finished or a Judge grants another Release Order.