Bench warrants are issued by a judge for various reasons to get you into court to address an issue. Unpaid parking tickets, failure to appear at a court date, and other legal issues can lead to a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are caught during a traffic stop or another interaction with police officers, they might take you into custody and send you to jail until you can get a new court date to address the issue.
If you or a loved one has an active bench warrant in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our New Jersey bench warrant lawyers might be able to help you get a bench warrant cleared and address your issues in court without an arrest. For help with your case, call our attorneys at (609) 616-4956 for a free legal consultation today.
New Jersey Bench Warrants
When people discuss “warrants,” they usually mean one of three types of warrants:
- Search warrants
- Criminal arrest warrants
- Bench warrants
Search warrants and criminal arrest warrants are approved by a judge, but they are requested by law enforcement officers. The purpose of these warrants is to investigate crimes, arrest suspected criminals, and seize evidence of a suspected crime.
A bench warrant is different. Judges issue these warrants “from the bench” because they need someone to appear in court. Judges often issue bench warrants for defendants who fail to appear in court at a scheduled court date.
This means that bench warrants are issued after someone has already been charged and given notice of their court date. However, problems with your notice, confusion about where to appear, and other issues might mean that the court date passes without you showing up to court. If the court does not have the defendant present in the courtroom, they usually cannot progress the case. Thus, courts will issue bench warrants to get the defendant arrested and brought to court.
How a Bench Warrant is Executed in New Jersey
Unlike criminal arrest warrants, which often authorize police to come to your house or arrest you at work or in a public place, bench warrants do not usually allow police to come to your house. Instead, the bench warrant will be entered into a system that police check when they come across people as part of other investigations. If they find there is a warrant against you, they will arrest you and send you to jail.
The most common time that people are arrested on bench warrants is during traffic stops. If a police officer stops you for speeding or drunk driving, they might find a bench warrant in the system and arrest you on the spot.
After you are arrested, you will be brought to jail where you can be held for a few days until you can be brought to court. Once you have been arrested again, the judge can make a new bail determination for you. Your failure to appear might make a judge reluctant to allow you to be released again, which could mean having bail denied or having to pay money to post bail.
When you are brought back to court, your case will continue, and you will likely need an attorney to help with your defense.
Getting a Bench Warrant Cleared in NJ
Getting arrested and brought to court is not the only way to deal with a bench warrant. Many people fear arrest and other penalties that a bench warrant might bring, and they may try to stay under the radar and avoid any issues instead of going to court and addressing the warrant. This often ends in arrest after a speeding ticket or another legal issue, but your attorney may be able to get the warrant lifted and help you address any pending legal issues.
The main goal of a bench warrant is simply to get you into court. If you agree to come in on your own, there is no need to arrest you and send you to jail. Once you know there is a warrant out for you, you can usually get in contact with the court that issued the warrant and schedule a new court date to address the charges. It might be better for your lawyer to arrange this for you rather than exposing yourself to any legal risk.
At a new court date, the judge can inform you of the reason for the bench warrant, address any pending charges, and schedule any further court dates to address those legal issues. In some cases, the bench warrant might have been issued for a failure to appear on a disorderly persons offense – a low level of criminal offense. These charges may be taken care of in one court appearance, allowing you to pay fines for low-level charges or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. Your lawyer can work to prepare for any hearings or plea negotiations, helping to reduce the number of court appearances you need to make. For more serious charges, you may need to come back.
Once in court, the prosecutor might move for increased bail to ensure you return to your next court date without the need to issue another warrant. They may even request that bail be revoked. It is important to have a lawyer oversee your case to avoid pre-trial detention or other jail time.
Call Our New Jersey Bench Warrant Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have a bench warrant or another outstanding warrant in New Jersey, call a lawyer right away. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych’s New Jersey bench warrant lawyers might be able to help get warrants lifted and cleared and resolve any penalties or restrictions you face while the warrant is pending. For a free legal consultation on how to address your bench warrant and any related charges, call our attorneys today at (609) 616-4956.