A bench warrant is an arrest warrant that is ordered by a judge against the defendant in a criminal case. An arrest warrant is issued upon probable cause that a crime was committed and authorizes law enforcement to arrest a suspect. Where I see bench warrants issued, is when the prosecutors will file a case and haven't been able to reach the criminal defendant. They take the case to the court and have the judge issue a warrant for the defendant.
Another instance where I see a judge issue a bench warrant is if someone violates their probation. The final way in which I see bench warrants issued by judges, is when a person has a court date the judge set for them, the judge calls the case, the person is not there, and the judge has to issue a bench warrant. If the judge does not do so, he or she will lose jurisdiction on the case and won't have any power over the individual.
Once a bench warrant is issued the judge will either set a bail or put a no bail on the bench warrant, and then the person will not be able to get out.
Could There Be A Bench Warrant Issued Against Me In LA County Without My Knowledge?
It's common for a bench warrant to be issued without the individual's knowledge. For example, if somebody is on probation to a judge and the judge is informed by the probation department that the person's not met a condition of their probation as ordered then the judge will issue a warrant for their arrest. Another area where I see warrants issued for people occur when an individual is charged with a crime, the person is not in custody, and they need to apprehend him. Prosecutors will go to a judge and have the judge issue a warrant so that they're able to arrest the individual.
Finally, I see warrants issued when people don't know about them is someone has already been arrested and in custody. The police or prosecutors decide the case needs additional investigation to gather more evidence. During that time, the defendant is just sitting in jail and waiting. Then, when the police get the information they need, the prosecutors file a case, put it in court, and now a warrant is issued for the defendant. It's not the defendant's fault but, unfortunately, that's how the system works.
How Are Bench Warrants Served In Los Angeles?
In Los Angeles when a warrant is issued by the judge there are several stages that occur. Once the warrant is issued by the judge then a minute order is produced by the courtroom reporter, or judicial assistant. Then the order is put into a system called the CLETES system which can be accessed by law enforcement. Thus, if they pull somebody over, run their record based from their driver's license, then they can see there's a warrant and they'll arrest the person.
Another way that the warrant can be executed against the person is if law enforcement sees the warrant in the system. The warrant is given to the police, who then learns where the person lives from their DMV records. From there, they can go to the person's house or job and arrest them.
The bottom line is that the police are tasked with executing these warrants, arresting people, and getting them into court. It's strange how the police do it because sometimes months or years can go by while the police do nothing about a warrant. Then one day, the person gets pulled over for a traffic violation or stopped at the airport. Other times, the police will go out, execute a warrant, and grab that person.
I see it happening a lot around the holidays. They think that people will be home celebrating the holiday with their families. They go, execute a warrant, arrest the person, and try and keep them over the long weekend to deal with their criminal case.
Can Police Arrest Me At A Traffic Stop If There Is A Bench Warrant Out For My Arrest?
If there is a warrant issued by a judge also known as a bench warrant and the police become aware of it then they could arrest you at a traffic stop, take you into custody, and put you into the system where you will have a hearing in court. Interestingly, in a typical criminal arrest, the police have up to 72 hours in Los Angeles County to get you into court. However, when there's a bench warrant involved they're able to take a little bit longer getting you into court. It's strange, but that's how the system works.
You'll be entitled to have an attorney to represent you. You can hire one or a public defender will be appointed on your behalf. After that, you'll have to deal with the warrant and the underlying reason the warrant was issued in the first place.
Will I Go To Jail If I Turn Myself In For A Bench Warrant In Los Angeles County?
There a few ways that you can turn yourself in if you have a bench warrant in Los Angeles County. One is to go to the local police station and they'll see that you have a warrant, you turn yourself in, and you'll trickle your way through the system if you don't post bail. Another way is you to go turn yourself in, post the bail, and then you'll be given a court date within 30 days to appear and deal with your case. In both of these cases, the process can take a long time and the police will ask you a question.
The best way, is to go directly to the court with your attorney, he'll tell the clerk of the court that you're there on a warrant, give his or her business card, and then the case will be sent into one of the courtrooms that have jurisdiction over your case. Your attorney can ask that the warrant be recalled and quashed which should happen immediately. The attorney may be able to get you released on your own recognizance, where you won't have to post any bail. The attorney could try and deal with your case on the spot, obviously depending on the circumstances of your case.
I find with a bench warrant its best go directly to the court that issued the bench warrant with your attorney present.
Can I Get A Bench Warrant In LA County Dropped?
There's a number of ways to get rid of a bench warrant in Los Angeles County. One way is to post a bail on the case and then there will no longer be a warrant. Then you'll be given a court date when you can appear and deal with your case. Usually, in order to post the bail, you either have to appear in court or hire a bail bondsman. If you go this route, you're going to have to know what the bail is and it can't be a no-bail hold.
Another way to get a bail or a bench warrant dropped is to appear in court, in front of the judge who issued a bench warrant, ask the judge through your attorney to recall and quash the bench warrant. This means they'll get rid of a bench warrant so it's no longer in the system. The reason the bench warrant is an issue is that the judge wanted you in court. Once you appear in court, the bench warrant is going to be immediately recalled.
Then, the issue becomes what happens if your case gets continued. Your attorney can look over the paperwork and talk to the prosecutor to decide what strategy to use in your case. You go into custody with a bail put on you, no bail, or you are released on your own recognizance while the case is pending. Obviously, this is something that's going to have to be taken up by your attorney in order for you to be put in a position where you can get out. These are things you should strategize with your attorney before going into court, maybe have a bail bonds person ready to go so that if there is a bail put on your case then you can post it. Frequently, I'm able to have my client wait inside the courtroom while the bail bondsman posts his bail with the clerk of the court and then they get released from the courtroom without having to go into custody.
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