Blog

How to clear a bench warrant in California without going to jail?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 08, 2019 | 0 Comments

judge bench warrant
If a party does not clear a BW, law enforcement personnel have the authority to arrest the person and bring the party to court.

A bench warrant (“BW”) is a warrant to arrest and detain a person who has either failed to appear in court or failed to obey a court order.

In California, a person can clear a bench warrant by either:

  • appearing in court before the judge, or
  • possibly having the party's attorney appear in court on his behalf.

Please note that if a party is trying to clear a BW, it is critical for the person to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

If a bench warrant does not get cleared, a person risks getting arrested and a judge may:

  • release the party with a warning, or
  • order the party into jail.

What is a bench warrant?

Bench warrants” are issued from “the bench,” which means the judge. They are not issued because of suspected criminal activity. Rather, a judge authorizes a BW typically because a party has failed to:

  • appear in court,
  • pay a fine, or
  • obey a court order.

How does a party clear a bench warrant?

Clearing a BW is also referred to as “recalling” or “quashing” one. Quashing a bench warrant means having it cleared from California's judicial system.

A party must appear in court in order to recall a warrant.

A person can have his attorney appear in court on the person's behalf, provided that:

  • the party failed to appear for a court appearance, or
  • the party failed to make a payment in connection with a misdemeanor offense.

If, though, a person failed to obey a court order that arose out of a felony case, the party must be present in court personally (with or without an attorney) in order to clear a BW.

In trying to quash a bench warrant, a party (or his attorney) can try to do so by arguing that:

  1. he never received a notice to appear in court,
  2. he complied with all the conditions and requirements within a court order,
  3. he was unaware that a case had been filed, and/or,
  4. there has been a mistake in identity.

Should a person consult with an attorney before quashing a warrant?

It is critical for a party to contact an experienced California warrants attorney when trying to recall a BW.

Please note that if a person appears in court in an attempt to clear a warrant, the judge does have the option to place the party in custody. Thus, a lawyer is important to help ensure that this does not happen.

A knowledgeable attorney is also helpful because he/she will know:

  • the most effective arguments to raise on the client's behalf,
  • what evidence to offer, and
  • the proper steps to take to quash a warrant and keep the party out of jail.

What happens if a bench warrant does not get recalled?

If a party does not clear a BW, law enforcement personnel have the authority to arrest the person and bring the party to court.

Once brought to court, the judge can either:

  • release the party with a warning, or
  • place the person in custody.

The judge will make this decision after considering the person's:

  • criminal history,
  • flight risk, and
  • circumstances that led to the BW.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370