How Long Does it Take for Bench Warrants to Go Away in Utah?
Bench warrants don’t expire, which means that they only go away if you are arrested or if you take the initiative to resolve them with the help of a lawyer. If you find out that there is a bench warrant out for you in Utah, the best thing you can do is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to clear it—they can contact the court and schedule a hearing to take care of the issue. Resolving the bench warrant directly with the help of an attorney, while requiring time and money, is much preferable to being arrested and then likely held in jail until you can appear in court. Continue reading if you know that there is a bench warrant for your arrest in Utah, and you’d like to find out how to resolve it with the help of Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson from Overson Law, LLC.
Resolving a Bench Warrant in Utah
Bench warrants are issued in Utah for a few reasons. One reason that bench warrants are issued is if a criminal defendant fails to make an appearance in court for an arraignment, sentencing, trial, or other required appearance. Bench warrants may also be issued when someone fails to comply with a previously issued judicial order (such as a restraining order or probation conditions). Sometimes bench warrants are issued because the defendant was unable to pay a court fine on time.
Bench warrants are called such because they are issued from a judge’s bench. A judge must have facts that are sufficient to establish a reasonable belief that the defendant committed an offense to issue a bench warrant. Courts can renew and reissue warrants at any time, depending on the charges the defendant is facing. Police officers can use a bench warrant to arrest you as long as the original criminal charges are within the statute of limitations.
Essentially, bench warrants are an order to come into court. A bench warrant permits law enforcement to bring you to court if you commit another offense, such as a DUI or a traffic violation. After your arrest, you may either go right to court or go to jail until a court date can be scheduled. Usually, you’ll be able to apply for bail, which a judge will accept or deny based on the circumstances of your violation and how likely you seem to come to court. If your request for bail is accepted, you will be able to leave jail and wait for your court date. Being released after posting bail and then failing to appear in court is a crime known as bail-jumping, which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail.
Getting arrested is the only way to have a bench warrant resolved. The other, much easier way to resolve a bench warrant is to work with an attorney to schedule a court date so you can meet with a judge and request a recall of your warrant.
What to Do If You Have an Outstanding Bench Warrant in Utah
If you discover that you have an outstanding bench warrant in Utah, you should speak with an attorney immediately. In most cases, you can either post bail or bond or request a hearing so you can ask the judge to “recall” the warrant. Based on your circumstances and the conditions of the bench warrant, your attorney will know how to deal with it in the way that’s most beneficial for you.
Since judges issue bench warrants as a way to request someone’s presence in court, courts are willing to work with people when they schedule a new court date. Your lawyer will be able to help you schedule a court date so you can speak with a judge and address the reason that the bench warrant was issued in the first place. If you show that you are willing to abide by the terms of the order that you violated, a judge will likely recall the bench warrant.
How Bench Warrants are Different from Arrest Warrants
Bench warrants, unlike arrest warrants, do not allow police to enter your house to arrest you. Instead, they merely put you on a registry that police officers may access if they come across someone for a different reason, such as a DUI or a traffic violation. If they find that the person has an outstanding bench warrant, police can arrest them and bring them into court. Arrest warrants are only issued if police have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. Exceptions are made for DUIs, crimes that are committed in the presence of police, and crimes committed by defendants that are likely to flee, injure someone or destroy someone’s property, or destroy evidence. Note that both bench warrants and arrest warrants are different from search warrants, which only allow police to search your property if they believe that you’re in possession of something illicit.
Utah Bench Warrant Attorney Darwin Overson Can Help
If you know that you have been issued a bench warrant, you should contact an attorney that has experience resolving bench warrants immediately. Don’t try to ignore your warrant—it won’t go away and can turn into something much more severe that has the potential to impact your future. Contact the Utah criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC to learn more about how to get your bench warrant resolved. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the future of your warrant.