FAQs About Bench Warrants

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Nearly everyone has heard of bench warrants even if it’s just on court television or as part of the plot in the latest detective novel. But unless you’re a legal professional or have had experience with criminal arrests, you probably can’t actually define it. Warrants are documents or court ordered demands requiring a citizen to comply with a legal order. Many people confuse the bench variety with a general warrant for arrest although the two are a bit different. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about warrants.- What’s the difference between the general and bench order? The general type is used when a person is wanted for criminal activity. The bench variety is used when someone fails to comply with a legal requirement or demand.
– Who issues these demands? A magistrate or judge who represents the U.S. court system is the official who typically issues them.
– What are some examples of reasons for a general arrest warrant? The reasons can range from anything from suspicion of robbery to white collar crime. Criminal activities may fall under the category of crimes pertaining to property, violence, sexual abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, white collar crimes such as business embezzlement, and domestic abuse.
– What are some examples of issues that would result in a bench warrant? Some possibilities include contempt of court, ignoring a jury duty summons, not showing up after being selected as a juror, not fulfilling the contract contained by a court order or judgment, and disregarding a subpoena.
– Why does a judge issue one of these legal documents? There must be some proof and personal knowledge on behalf of the judge or magistrate in order for one of these demands to be made.
– Must there be probable cause before a judge makes an order? Yes; probable cause is one of the requirements necessary to have a legal court ordered warrant.
– What is probable cause? This is a right of citizens protected by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. A person may not be detained, a residence may not be searched and property may not be seized without probable cause. The Constitution of the United States was designed to protect everyone in the country fairly.If a person becomes a recipient of bench warrants, they should contact a lawyer in order to find out what to do next. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you is to always comply with court orders and legal demands. Showing up for jury duty, showing respect for the courts, and paying attention to subpoenas will all go a long way in keeping the law away from your door.