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Warrant and Warrant Recall
Were you or a loved one just arrested on a bench warrant? Or, did you just learn that a bench warrant for your arrest is outstanding or suspect that one was probably issued for your arrest because you failed to show up in court?
If so, you need competent and experienced legal representation from an attorney of the Criminal Attorney Group to quash or recall the warrant and keep you out of jail or have other penalties imposed.
Why are Warrants Issued?
Warrants are issued for various reasons. If police have probable cause to believe you committed a crime, then they will request a judge to issue a warrant to arrest you at your home, office or wherever you are located. Other warrants may be issued if new charges are added to current ones and you are not in custody.
Bench warrants are different from arrest warrants and are issued because you disrespected the court. These include:
- Failure to appear in court on the date noted on a ticket or citation (“signed promise to appear”)
- Failure to appear in court on a parole or probation’s officer’s directive
- Failure to appear in court after release on bond or bail
- Failure to appear for a scheduled court date
- Failure to pay a fine imposed by the court
- Failure to complete a court mandated program as a condition of your probation
- Violation of a condition of your probation
- Failure to appear in response to a jury summons
A failure to appear or for noncompliance with a court order is contempt of court and is a criminal offense in itself.
Service of Bench Warrants
Bench warrants must be served within a reasonable time after issuance, however, they do not expire. If a bench warrant was issued for an offense where jail or prison time was possible and you were not arrested until years later, then your attorney could argue that it be dismissed for lack of a speedy trial under the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution so long as you were not a fugitive and the prosecution failed to use reasonable diligence in locating you.
In California, felony bench warrants can be served at any time while those for misdemeanors can only be served between 6 am and 10 pm, absent good cause such as there being multiple warrants being issued or you have a history of failures to appear.
Consequences of Arrest for Failure to Appear
If a bench warrant is issued and you are arrested, you face any of these possibilities:
- Release and a warning by the judge and a future court date
- Immediate incarceration and imposing bail
- Enhanced fines
- State prison time
- Loss of driver’s license
- If for a misdemeanor bench warrant, charging an additional misdemeanor for failure to appear
- If for a felony bench warrant, charging an additional felony for failure to appear
If a misdemeanor, you face a fine up to $1,000 and/or jail time of up to 6 months. A felony charge carries a minimum fine of $5000 and up to $10,000 if you had posted bail along with a county or state jail sentence.
If the bench warrant was issued for noncompliance with a court order, you can be arrested for a probation violation and face whatever sentence the court suspended for the underlying offense.
Reasons for Missing Court or Noncompliance with Court Order
There are many reasons why defendants fail to show up in court or do not comply with court ordered fines or attendance at programs. You will need an attorney from the Criminal Attorney Group to give the court a reasonable explanation for your nonappearance or compliance and get the warrant recalled.
Reasons for nonappearances and noncompliance include:
- Illness or other incapacity
- You were out of the jurisdiction
- Did not receive the jury summons
- You were financially unable to pay the fine
- You were unable to complete the court ordered program due to illness or injury
- Failed to provide proof of compliance to the court
- You changed addresses and never received the summons or court date
- You were confused about whether to appear or thought your attorney was appearing for you
- You believed charges had been dismissed
Call an attorney from the Criminal Attorney Group if you face arrest on a bench warrant. If on a felony bench warrant, we can arrange for you to appear in court with us without being arrested, which can demonstrate good faith on your part and impress upon the court that the warrant be recalled and no charges or other penalties imposed on you.
If the bench warrant was on misdemeanor charge, your attorney can appear for you without your appearance where we can arrange to recall the warrant and argue that no additional penalties be imposed. A future court date may be ordered.
If you were arrested and are in custody, a defense lawyer from the Criminal Attorney Group can prepare the paperwork and an explanation for your nonappearance or noncompliance so that you do not face additional charges and can be released with little or no bail.