Bench Warrants

Bench Warrants

Table of Contents

What are bench warrants?
Bench warrants are warrants issued by a judge to bring a non-appearing person before the court.

What does it mean to have an outstanding warrant?
When you have an outstanding warrant, it means that police officers can take you into custody because the warrant directs the officer to bring you before the court.

Officers will generally find out that you have an outstanding warrant if they run you on their computer systems. For example, a simple computer check when you are pulled over will yield such results. The outstanding warrant is also reflected in any background checks that are run on your background. For example, clients have come to me in the past and found out about their outstanding warrants when their employers told them about it. If you are applying for a job, it doesn’t reflect too well on you when you have an outstanding warrant.

How do people get warrants?
There are many ways a person can have a warrant issued against them. Some of the most common things that I have seen in my practice are listed below:

1. Missing court your date. Whether you forgot, purposefully decided to not deal with your issue, don’t have the means to get to court, or are going through some personal issues, missing a date in court when you are suppose to be present will result in the judge issuing a bench warrant if you do not appear through an attorney or arrange for another court date.

2. Probation violation. Many times, people may miss an appointment with their work release or fall out of a program that was a term of their probation. This will often times result in a violation of probation. The person is then given a court date to appear to take care of the matter, if you miss the court date (see #1), a warrant will be issued unless you have an attorney appear on your behalf.

3. Failure to show up as a witness. If you are called as a witness when a subpoena has been issued (and served on you), your failure to show up can result in the issuing of a bench warrant.

4. Court ordered you to be personally present. If the court ordered you to be personally present and you do not personally appear, a warrant can be issued against you.

Other Consequences:

If a person is released on bail or his/her own recognizance and does not appear at the arraignment (when such presence is required), the court can forfeit bail and order a warrant for your arrest. A willful failure to appear on a written promise in a case where the underlying charge is a felony, could result in an additional felony charge. A willful failure to appear in a misdemeanor case could result in a misdemeanor or infraction.

How do I know whether I have an active warrant?
Depending on your county, you can check online to see whether you have an active warrant. Below are the links to some different counties where you can see if you have an active warrant:

San Diego –
Riverside –

How do I get rid of a bench warrant?

You can get rid of a bench warrant by appearing in court. You should consult with an attorney to see what your options are when you have an active bench warrant.Contact the Law Offices of Lisa Wong today if you have an active bench warrant that you would like to get resolved.


Law Offices of Lisa Wong



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