How To Resolve A Bench Warrant
Typically, the word “warrant” evokes images of police appearing at your door. While arrest warrants can absolutely lead to that outcome, the most common form of warrant in Georgia is a bench warrant. The difference between the two is significant, despite the differences in how they are served. Removing a bench warrant can be difficult, and the results of not dealing with it are severe, regardless of the reason behind it. Understanding how bench warrants work can save you time, money, and potentially your freedom.
Issuing A Bench Warrant
Bench warrants are primarily issued when a defendant misses a court appearance. For serious criminal cases, arrest warrants will be issued, but more often a judge will issue a bench warrant. Failing to appear in court, even over something you might consider minor like a traffic violation, will typically cause a judge to issue the warrant. Failure to comply with a subpoena, failure to pay fines, or outstanding child support can all result in a warrant out for your arrest.
Resolving A Warrant
Regardless of why a warrant is issued, they will never go away on their own. Since there is no end date on bench warrant, you may end up being arrested years down the line, even if you are no longer in the same city or state. If you are pulled over or need to show an officer you identification, the warrant will be triggered, and you will be taken into custody until you are able to post bail.
If you are aware of a warrant against you, you may be able to resolve it by contacting the court and either resolving the original case (paying a fine, setting a new date to appear, etc), or hiring a lawyer to help you petition the court to lift it. Obtaining counsel shows the court that you understand the gravity of your situation, as well as helping you navigate both the warrant and the original case.
Bench warrants are a serious matter that can negatively affect your life, even years down the line. If you need help resolving a bench warrant, we can help.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.