DC Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is a warrant issued by a judge directing law enforcement to arrest a named person. A judge will issue a bench warrant for a person who has failed to appear for his or her court hearing, has been found to be in contempt of court, or has violated a condition of his or her release from custody.

When faced with a bench warrant ion DC, it is important for a person to consider retaining an experienced DC lawyer, who will work to build you a strong defense.

Purpose of a Warrant

If a bench warrant has been issued for a person’s arrest, he/she will be arrested by law enforcement so that he/she can be brought in front of a judge. Sometimes a person will be arrested after they are pulled over for a traffic violation when the officer realizes there is a bench warrant out for the person’s arrest. Other times, a person will be arrested at their home when law enforcement decides to go out and execute all outstanding warrants.

It is also possible that a person can have a bench warrant outstanding for a long period of time without being arrested. If you suspect you might have an outstanding bench warrant, there is a criminal information center within the Washington DC Superior Court, which will provide information to people as to whether a bench warrant has been issued for a person’s arrest.

Pretrial v. Probation Warrants

A probation bench warrant is issued by a judge after a person has been sentenced for a crime and has been placed on probation for that crime. A judge will issue a pretrial bench warrant before the resolution of a criminal case.

Steps To Take

If you are aware you have an outstanding bench warrant, it is wise to contact an attorney who can explain and discuss your options with you. If you want to address the outstanding warrant, your attorney will be able to explain the best way to go about turning yourself in to have the warrant executed or attempt to have the warrant quashed by the judge who issued it.

Depending on the circumstances and the time that has elapsed since the bench warrant was issued, your attorney will be able to discuss the pros and cons of either turning yourself in or walking into court in an attempt to have the bench warrant quashed.

Dismissing a Bench Warrant

A bench warrant will be dismissed if the court finds that the defendant did not voluntarily or willfully failed to appear for his or her court hearing.

There are lots of different examples of when somebody has not voluntarily or willfully failed to appear. For example, if the defendant was in custody at the time of the court hearing, that would be considered not willful.

Additionally, if the defendant was hospitalized and unable to appear, that would also be an example of where that person did not voluntarily and willfully failed to appear.

If there was an error issuing the bench warrant, then it’s likely that the judge would dismiss the bench warrant. Again, if the judge finds that the defendant has voluntarily or willfully failed to appear, then the judge would issue a bench warrant.

How an Attorney Can Help

An attorney will always be able to speak on your behalf and figure out a date for you to appear in front of the judge. An attorney is best able to respectfully explain to the judge why the bench warrant should be quashed or why the bench warrant was issued in error.