Knowing that you have any sort of warrant can be very frightening. You think warrant, you think jail. And no one wants to go to jail. There are many cases when an individual is completely unaware that there is a warrant for their arrest at all. So, imagine a simple and innocent run in with the police, maybe you even called them, and in the end, you are arrested on a warrant you had no idea existed. Scary. Bench warrants may stem from many things, but one common cause for bench warrants are unpaid tickets. When you receive a citation the most you think that may happen is late fees for failure to pay. But this is not true. You must pay attention to the details on your ticket because chances are you also have a court date, and if you miss that court date, the judge may issue a bench warrant.

Well, what is a bench warrant? A bench warrant is issued by the judge and informs law enforcement that the judge would like to see you in court. This does not mean you are a criminal but only that you need to appear in court. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure the judge that you will appear in court, unlike your last court hearing, is by keeping you in police custody and having you taken once your court date approaches. This is different that an arrest warrant, which simply asks for an arrest and then enforces law enforcement to come find you. This is why many people never know they have a bench warrant, they very rarely come in contact with the police.

When you receive a traffic citation there is a fine and in many cases the option to appear in court on a certain day (listed on the ticket) to potentially challenge the violation. If you do not appear in court or pay your citation fees, it indicates you do not see yourself responsible for anything and then makes you a liability of some sorts. 

If you recall receiving a citation, or simply want to figure out if there has been a bench warrant, you can contact the clerk in the court the citation was obtained and find out how much you owe. Typically, once all fines are paid the bench warrant is thrown out. Should you or anyone else you know have any questions about a bench warrant they may have, contact a criminal lawyer, like from The Lynch Law Group.