Bench Warrants or Arrest Warrants
When receiving a license violation associated with a Failure to Appear (FTA), an arrest warrant is typically issued (40508(a) Warrant).
- The Best Way to Handle an Arrest or Bench Warrant
- Los Angeles Warrant Search
In the event that you are cited, even for a misdemeanor, failing to appear in court as scheduled will likely result in the court or judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. In fact, this is commonly done without any prior notification. Typically, people find out there is an arrest warrant out for them during the performance of a job background check or after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
Bench Warrant versus Arrest Warrant
A judge usually issues a bench warrant when someone misses a scheduled court date. If you are scheduled to appear before a judge but do not show up, the judge will probably issue a warrant for your arrest due to Failure to Appear. In normal circumstances, a judge will issue a bench warrant only if you fail to show up in court for a misdemeanor or felony violation.
If your ticket is a misdemeanor, such as driving on a suspended license (VC 14601.1), and you do not show up in court to take care of business, there is a good chance that the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. To determine if your traffic ticket is, in fact, a misdemeanor, simply look for the letter “M” on the ticket circled next to the violation.
Handcuffed and Taken to Jail
If you were to be pulled over for running a stop sign, speeding, or some other traffic violation and the police officer finds out that you have a bench warrant, you will be handcuffed and taken to jail. You will remain in jail until a time is set for you to see the judge. Depending on various factors, your stay in jail will be a few hours to a few days.
If a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, contact us immediately. Since we specialize in helping people with these types of warrants, we are competent in working to get the warrant recalled.
Although an arrest warrant is somewhat similar to a bench warrant, there are distinct differences. An arrest warrant can be issued by a judge as well as the police department. Essentially, an order is granted for an arrest, which entails that person being taken into custody to go before the issuing judge. With an arrest warrant, you would again be handcuffed and taken to jail until a time is set for you to see the judge.
According to California Vehicle Code section 40509.5(e), no arrest warrant can be issued for a Failure to Appear, California Vehicle Code section 40508(a), unless:
- The offense relates to a loading or towing violation, overweight or oversized violation, or equipment violation
- The underlying offense is either a misdemeanor or felony
- The driver has additional pending failures to appear
- The driver does not possess a valid driver’s license
California Traffic Clinic – Search Warrant Attorney
There are two methods to find out if you have an arrest warrant, although the first is the most efficient.
- Courthouse Warrant Search
- Los Angeles Superior Court Website – Warrant Search
Warrants and Driver’s Licenses
Will a bench warrant or arrest appear on record with the California Department of Motor Vehicles?
Overview of a Bench Warrant
In simple terms, a bench warrant is issued by a judge if you fail to go to court as scheduled. For both a bench warrant and arrest warrant, violations can be a misdemeanor or a felony.
- How You Get a Failure to Appear Warrant (FTA 40508(a))
- Difference between Infractions and Misdemeanors
- Misdemeanor Violation and Time in Jail
- Living Out of Town or Out of State
- Probation Violation Warrant
Regardless if you have a bench warrant or arrest warrant, the best way to handle the situation is to take immediate action. Being afraid and doing nothing is the worst decision that you can make. After all, many times warrants are cleared up after standing before a judge in court.
- If I show up in court with a bench warrant, will I be arrested?
- Will I have to go to jail?
- We can go to court on your behalf to clear up issues.