If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you may fear that there is no option but to go to jail. In cases where police arrest you for the warrant, you will likely be taken to jail.
However, if you are proactive and work to address the warrant on your own instead of waiting for police to arrest you, you may be able to avoid pre-trial jail time.
Baltimore bench warrant defense lawyer Randolph Rice of the Law Offices of Randolph Rice discusses how you can get rid of a bench warrant without going to jail and what will happen if you are arrested on a bench warrant.
What Does a Bench Warrant Do?
Typically, a bench warrant is issued because someone failed to appear in court. A failure to appear slows down the court system and makes it difficult to address the case without the defendant present.
In some cases, parts of the case might be able to progress without you, but the court cannot hold a trial if you are on the lam. Bench warrants are issued by a judge if you fail to appear so that police can arrest you and take you to court to address the pending case.
These warrants are a bit different from typical criminal arrest warrants. For those warrants, police will quickly work to find you and arrest you because you are suspected of a crime. With a bench warrant, you’ve already been charged and were likely released on bail.
Police do not usually appear at your home to arrest you, but police or a bail agent may do so if you violated bail conditions. Otherwise, a bench warrant will be used to arrest you if the police come in contact with you for another matter, such as a stop for a traffic ticket or an investigation for other charges like drunk driving or drug charges.
Do You Always Go to Jail for a Bench Warrant?
As mentioned, police will typically arrest you on an active bench warrant if they come across you for some other reason. Many defendants are arrested on outstanding bench warrants when a police officer stops them for a simple traffic offense and runs a warrant check. In these cases, the defendant will likely be brought to jail.
However, police do not always arrest people. In some cases, an officer may simply decide to warn you about the warrant and tell you that you should get it taken care of, which typically saves the court and the taxpayers money – and saves the cop time – by avoiding the cost and time of arresting you, booking you, taking you to jail, and transferring you to the jail associated with the court you need to go to.
If the police do arrest you, you do not always go to jail for a prolonged period. In some cases, the timing may work out that you can be arrested and brought to court quickly for a new bail assessment or to actually have your hearing (though having a hearing on short notice is rare).
If your failure to appear was due to a misunderstanding or mistake rather than the willful failure to appear, the court may still grant you bail and allow you to stay out of jail. Courts might increase the cash or bail bond payments for your bail before they let you go, or they could deny bail entirely.
The result will depend on your case and how well the argument for bail goes. Having an attorney help you with bail hearings is often helpful in keeping your freedom.
How to Remove a Bench Warrant
People with outstanding bench warrants in Maryland can usually handle their bench warrants without ever getting arrested or going to jail. Courts issue bench warrants because they need you to come to court. If they can get you there without arresting you and housing you in jail, they will typically accept that.
If you know that there is a bench warrant out for you, you can typically call the police or the court where the bench warrant was filed to get more information. They can schedule you a new court date and cancel the bench warrant, and you can typically appear in court as normal.
When you do appear, there may be a new bail assessment taking your failure to appear into consideration, and you will typically have to continue addressing any pending charges at your court date. Because of this, you should always work with a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer who can help argue to keep you out on bail and work to get charges dropped and dismissed.
If you are nervous about contacting the court while a warrant is pending against you, contact a lawyer to do it for you. This is a common part of helping people with their criminal charges, and our attorneys are happy to work with you to find out why you have a bench warrant and how to get it taken care of.
Our goal is always to keep our clients out of jail and home with their friends and family whenever possible.
Call Our Baltimore Bench Warrant Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you have a pending bench warrant and live in Maryland, the Law Offices of Randolph Rice may be able to help. Our Baltimore criminal defense lawyers may be able to find out what the warrant is for and help you address any pending charges in court, fighting to keep you out of jail.
For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.