Thousands of Americans have bench warrants for their arrest that they may not even know about. Unfortunately for many of these people, a simple traffic stop could lead to an arrest, jail time, harsh bail requirements, and increased scrutiny in court. If you suspect that you might have an outstanding bench warrant, talk to a lawyer immediately to get help clearing up the warrant, avoiding jail time, and seeking representation for the case against you.
To schedule a free legal consultation with our Salt Lake City bench warrant lawyer, contact Overson Law today. Darwin Overson is a Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney with decades of experience fighting bench warrants, clearing up legal trouble, and keeping clients out of jail. For help with your case, call our law offices today to schedule a free legal consultation. Our number is (801) 758-2287.
Reasons You Might Have a Bench Warrant in Utah
A warrant, in general, is a document that authorizes an arrest or a search. Warrants typically must be signed by a judge to be valid, and they authorize police officers to either perform a search of a private area and seize any evidence they find there or to arrest someone in connection with a crime. Typical arrest warrants are requested by a police officer or other law enforcement official to take someone into custody on suspicion that they committed a crime. A bench warrant is instead issued by a judge “from the bench” to get someone into court to address a case.
If you have already been arrested and charged with a crime – or cited for infractions or traffic tickets – police are already past the point where they would arrest you on a criminal arrest warrant. If your case has already been referred to the courts, then the court needs to move your case through the system, give you the chance to argue your case in court, and move along with a swift trial. However, this is impossible if you do not come to court.
Instead of letting you stay on the loose without oversight, courts issue bail conditions or keep you in jail. Bail can require you to pay some amount of money to help guarantee that you come to court. If you fail to appear in court, you would forfeit any bail you paid. Alternatively, the court might deny you bail and keep you in jail to guarantee that you come to court. If the court trusts that you will come back, they can release you on your own recognizance (ROR bail).
If you do not return for your court date, the judge will enter a “failure to appear” on your court record. Without you present in the courtroom, the case cannot progress, so a court will issue a bench warrant to allow police to arrest you and bring you back to court.
Arrest and Jail Time for Bench Warrants in Utah
As mentioned, a bench warrant authorizes police to arrest you and bring you back to court. Typically, police cannot guarantee you an immediate court date after arresting you on a bench warrant, and you will likely be kept in jail until they can get you to court. In many cases, you can apply for bail after being arrested, and a judge will examine your case and determine whether bail is appropriate.
Your lawyer can help make arguments to fight for bail and pre-trial release. However, the fact that you already failed to appear in court once might make a judge hesitant to give you another chance at ROR or bail.
Unlike criminal arrest warrants, bench warrants typically do not ask the police to come to your house and arrest you there. Instead, bench warrants are typically put into a registry, and any time that police officers come across someone with an outstanding warrant in that registry, they will arrest them. It is common for police to run a warrant search when they stop people for traffic tickets, DUI, or other investigations.
Getting a Warrant Resolved in Utah
One of the best ways to avoid jail time and get the warrant cleared is to simply appear in court as ordered. If you receive a summons for a court date, and you appear, it is unlikely that a bench warrant will be issued against you.
Sometimes, judges, police officers, court officials, or other officials might warn you of a bench warrant on your record. If you get such a warning in a phone call or in writing, check with a lawyer to confirm that it is real and not a scam. If it is real, you can often handle the warrant and avoid arrest by acting quickly.
Judges typically do not care how you arrive at court: you can come in on your own or after being arrested. Because of this, courts are typically willing to work with people to schedule a new court date if they call the courthouse and ask for more information about the warrant. Your lawyer can help you arrange a new court date and, hopefully, get the bench warrant cancelled.
Once you arrive in court, you will need to be prepared to address any charges pending against you. These could range from outstanding parking or traffic tickets to serious crimes. It is always best to work with a lawyer to help resolve these cases and fight any potential penalties you could face.
Call Overson Law for a Free Consultation on Your Salt Lake City Bench Warrant
If you suspect that you have an active warrant for your arrest or you were warned that there is a bench warrant for you, talk to a lawyer immediately. The Salt Lake City bench warrant lawyers at Overson Law may be able to call the courthouse and get the warrant resolved, scheduling a new court date to help you avoid arrest and jail time. Once in court, we can help you fight the charges you face and help keep your criminal record clean or fight to get charges reduced, dropped, and dismissed. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (801) 758-2287.