NYC Arrest Bench Warrant Lawyers
When you miss a court date, it is likely that a bench warrant will be issued for you. A bench warrant is basically an order by the court that allows an officer to arrest you. Upon arrest, you will be held in jurisdiction’s jail until your next court date. The best way to avoid a bench warrant is to go to your original court date. However, life happens, and sometimes attending a court date is just not possible. In such a scenario, you’ll need to get the warrant vacated to avoid an arrest. The most convenient and efficient way of doing so is to hire a NYC bench warrant lawyer.
Why Bench Warrants Are Issued
A bench warrant can be imposed for a variety of reasons. The most common way the average citizen gets a warrant is for failing to appear in a traffic violation case. However, you can also get a bench warrant for not appearing in any type of criminal matter. Furthermore, the court routinely issues warrants for failing to appear at jury duty, or not responding to a civil subpoena.
The Law Behind Bench Warrants
According to the New York Penal Code Section 530.70, you can be arrested for a bench warrant in any part of the state. Warrants issued by municipal courts can have you subject to arrest in the issuing jurisdiction, or surrounding towns. This means that you can’t get away from a bench warrant by spending time out of town. Warrants follow you wherever you go. Your best choice is to deal with the bench warrant head-on by having it vacated immediately.
How Warrants Are Vacated
In most cases, a bench warrant can be vacated by re-setting the court date. This requires going down to the issuing court and having the file pulled from the clerk’s office. Once the file is located, it can be added to court’s docket for the day. This means that you, or your lawyer, will have an opportunity to explain the request to a judge. When the judge calls the case, he or she will need to hear a reasonable excuse as to why the court date was missed. The judge has a few options in deciding what to do with the warrant. The court can vacate the warrant, enter a stay or remand the defendant right away.
If the situation involves an arrest warrant, it is best to get a lawyer involved right away. A criminal lawyer can make arrangements on your behalf with the police and prosecutors. In most cases you’ll need to do a voluntary surrender. An experienced attorney can help facilitate this process to keep you out of jail for as long as possible.
Is a Bench Warrant The Same as an Arrest Warrant?
Arrest warrants and bench warrants are similar, but differ in a few aspects. First, an arrest warrant is usually issued in more serious cases where an investigation has determined a suspect. In most cases an arrest warrant will follow from the indictment process. With an arrest warrant, you are required to deal with the applicable criminal charges. You can also expect that police officers will come looking for you. Unlike with bench warrants, police departments dedicate resources to executing arrest warrants. The police have the right to carry out the warrant at any time, and can use physical force to detain you.
In contrast, a bench warrant may be issued in criminal or civil matters. Typically, they are issued for a failure to follow procedure rather than for an underlying crime. Police don’t typically hunt down people with bench warrants because they are less serious matters. Yet, if you happen to have a police encounter, and they learn of the warrant, it is possible they will arrest you.
Do Warrants Ever Expire?
In general, the answer is no. A warrant will remain valid until it is cleared through a motion to vacate, or the defendant’s appearance. In rare situations, the court system may throw out a substantial number of bench warrants for legal reasons, or judicial efficiency. This was the case in 2017 when four of NYC’s boroughs erased over 600,000 bench warrants. Nonetheless, this incident was an exception to the rule. Bench warrants can follow you forever if they are not dealt with in a timely manner.
Other Issues With Warrants
The constant fear of arrest is not the only problem associated with warrants. This type of court order can also show up on a criminal background check. This means that potential employers or volunteer organizations will likely see that you have an active warrant. This information may be used against you in the hiring process. If you are expecting to have a background check done while a warrant is in effect, take the time to vacate it beforehand. A New York arrest bench warrant lawyer can help you clear your record as soon as possible!