Atlantic City Bench Warrant Lawyer
A bench warrant is usually issued for a failure to appear in court. Courts cannot proceed with the charges against you in absentia, so they usually need to wait until they can get you in the courtroom to continue with a case. To make sure this happens, judges will issue bench warrants to authorize police across the state to arrest someone and take them back to court. If you have a pending bench warrant, this effectively means you could be arrested almost any time.
To help lift the warrant and address any pending charges or legal issues, you should speak with an attorney. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych’s Atlantic City bench warrant lawyers represent people with pending warrants and other legal issues, and we fight to get charges dropped and dismissed and help our clients avoid additional arrests and jail time. For help with your case, call our attorneys today for a free consultation at (609) 616-4956.
What is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is different from a criminal arrest warrant or a search warrant. Those warrants are based on probable cause that you committed a crime. This means that there are articulable facts that indicate a crime was committed and you probably committed it or your property needs to be searched because identifiable evidence of the crime is probably there. A bench warrant is instead used for procedural purposes.
When you are initially arrested for a crime, a judge will either keep you in jail or release you on bail. If you are released, you will either be released on your own recognizance (ROR) or you will pay bail and be released. Either way, you face certain conditions, such as the requirement to appear at future court dates. This requirement, combined with the fact that there is already probable cause to arrest you for the initial crime you are accused of committing, authorizes a judge to issue a bench warrant for your re-arrest.
How Bench Warrant Arrests Work in Atlantic City
While criminal arrest warrants usually allow police to come to your house, bench warrants do not usually work that way. Instead, the warrant will be entered in a state-wide system, and any time police encounter people for traffic stops or other investigations, they will run their name through the system. If a police officer finds you have a warrant, they will usually arrest you and take you to jail at that point so that you can be brought to court.
When you are re-arrested, police are authorized to hold you for a few days, but the law in New Jersey is weighed in favor of sending defendants home while they await trial for most types of charges. This means if your next court date is rescheduled for more than a few days after your re-arrest, the judge might be persuaded to release you from jail again. Still, your past failures to appear in court are one element that the judge will consider when setting bail, so if you are re-arrested after failing to appear in court, a judge might deny bail to guarantee you get to your next court date.
When you appear in court after a bench warrant arrest, you will need to be prepared to continue with the charges against you. This could potentially mean facing preliminary hearings, pretrial meetings, or even a criminal trial, depending on what stage your case was at when you failed to appear in court. It is absolutely vital to go over your case with an attorney to understand where you stand, what penalties you face, and how a lawyer can help you with the charges.
Getting a Bench Warrant Cleared in Atlantic City
Atlantic City, NJ is part of Atlantic County, which means that most criminal cases are handled at courthouses in Atlantic City. If your failure to appear was entered at this court, then a judge at that court will have issued the bench warrant against you. If you are rearrested, it is likely that you will be taken to Atlantic City to address the charges.
One of the best ways to clear up an issue with a bench warrant is to simply call the courthouse. The courthouse staff might not be able to tell you specifics about the case against you, but they may be able to schedule a new court date so that you can go in and address the charges. In some cases, judges may be uncooperative and refuse to lift a bench warrant, and you should always work with a lawyer to help clear up bench warrants.
If you can get the warrant lifted and get a new court date scheduled, you may be able to avoid other penalties as well. The bench warrant can be cleared from the system, and you might be able to avoid arrest. Plus, if your bench warrant came with a driver’s license suspension or other holds on your legal rights, those might be cleared as well. However, when you do arrive at your next court date, you might be expected to immediately continue dealing with the case against you, so it is important to work with a lawyer who can help you prepare for your case and help you avoid additional demands from the prosecution to have bail revoked.
Call Our Atlantic City Bench Warrant Lawyers for Help with Your Case
Regardless of why a bench warrant was issued, a warrant usually authorizes police to arrest you any time they come across you in public. This could be a huge point of stress in your life, and it is better to call the courthouse, schedule a new court date, and address the charges against you than to continue to risk arrest. Call our Atlantic City bench warrant lawyers today to discuss how to proceed with your defense and work to get charges dropped and dismissed. For a free legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956.