Court orders must always be taken seriously. Failing to comply with a court-issued mandate can lead to severe consequences. Every year, judges around Utah issue court orders known as bench warrants to compel bail jumpers or people who miss their day in court to appear before the issuing judge. However, people miss these obligations due to many different reasons. It is possible you have missed your hearing and now want to turn yourself in to avoid legal issues. The Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at Overson & Bugden, invite you to keep reading as we discuss whether you need a lawyer to turn yourself in on a bench warrant in Salt Lake City.
Understanding Bench Warrants in Salt Lake City
A bench warrant is a judge-issued order to bring a person into custody. Usually, a judge will issue a bench warrant in cases where a person fails to appear for a scheduled hearing. Police officers then have the authority to place you under arrest and bring you before the court. This doesn’t necessarily mean that police officers will be dispatched to search for you, but in a situation where you are pulled over by a police officer, your bench warrant may pop up. In such a situation, you can be sure the police will put you under arrest.
Many times, bench warrants are confused with arrest warrants. While both are court-issued orders for an arrest, they work differently. A judge issues an arrest warrant once police officers have reason to believe that someone is engaging in criminal activity. Many times, arrest warrants in Salt Lake City are accompanied by search and seizure warrants in severe criminal cases involving things such as weapons crimes, kidnapping, drug crimes, and other criminal offenses.
Do I Need My Lawyer to Turn Myself in on a Bench Warrant?
This is a question that requires your complete attention. There may be instances where you hit a snag and wind up missing your court date. It is critical to understand that if you miss your scheduled hearing, a judge may order a bench warrant for your arrest. Missing your day in court without just cause can lead to otherwise preventable consequences.
Despite missing your day in court, you may feel like you are doing the right thing by turning yourself in. Turning yourself in usually means you will spend time in jail, but there may be better ways to fight a bench warrant and keep your freedom at the same time.
There are different ways an attorney can assist you. For instance, as an alternative to your arrest and potential jail time, your lawyer can ask the court to schedule a new court date and dismiss the warrant. Acting promptly can help you get your case back on track and get the warrant canceled so that you can show up and handle your case without the need for an arrest.
A Salt Lake City bench warrant lawyer can make sure all of your rights are protected when progressing with your case after a bench warrant. This is important, as law enforcement officials are compelled to follow constitutional mandates and preserve your rights. An attorney can see whether law enforcement has breached protocol or violated your rights, potentially providing you with an ironclad defense.
Defending Against a Bench Warrant in Salt Lake
A court-issued warrant is not something that should be taken lightly. After all, we are talking about your arrest and potential days in jail, plus any additional penalties you may face. Courts do not look kindly on bail jumpers. If you purposely missed your day in court, the judge will make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake twice.
One way you can defend yourself against a bench warrant in Salt Lake City is by arguing that you did not miss your hearing on purpose. There may be instances where circumstances out of your control prevent you from appearing at court or where you did not receive proper notice of the hearing date. Providing the court with a valid reason for why you missed your hearing may persuade the judge to drop your bench warrant.
While you may have the opportunity to address the bench warrant issued against you, you must do so in a timely manner. Waiting too long can mean running out of options and facing an arrest. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you realize you missed your court hearing in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one missed their day in court and is now facing a potential bench warrant, there is no time to waste. You need to contact a skilled Salt Lake City defense attorney who can help you during the bench warrant process. At the law offices of Overson & Bugden, we understand how stressful and frightening a potential arrest can be. We strive to work hard in the name of our clients in every case we take, and we will work tirelessly to make sure all rights are protected at all times. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an attorney, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.