What is a Bench Warrant?

Daniel Hamilton is a Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney

Many of my clients call me  about Bench Warrants. In fact, it is a frequent occurrence in Memphis, and I’ve had a lot of experience getting bench warrants recalled. If you get a Bench Warrant in Memphis, Tennessee, call Daniel Hamilton at (901) 612-2176 .

If you miss your court date, the judge issues a Bench Warrant. A Bench Warrant is basically an order for the authorities to arrest you. Once a Bench Warrant is issued, the police will begin looking for you and will place you under arrest. Once the police arrest you, the clerk will give you a new court date. Unfortunately, you may have to wait for that court date in jail.

Sometimes the new court date is for the day after the arrest. In other words, if your arrest is on Monday, you could be on Tuesday’s docket. However, if your arrest is on a Friday, the earliest docket is Monday morning. This means you will have to spend the weekend in jail. This is not guaranteed; you might be in jail longer. Make sure you are aware that if you have a Bench Warrant issued against you, your arrest is likely. You should take care of any pressing financial matters as soon as possible, especially if you are not planning to hire a lawyer.

What Should I Do Now?

Often, an attorney can help you try to get the warrant “recalled.” Rather than wait for the authorities to arrest you, you can have an attorney ask that a judge recall the Bench Warrant. The attorney can explain your situation (why you missed your court appearance) to the judge. Afterwards, the judge may choose to recall the Bench Warrant.

If you have received a Bench Warrant:

This is the Cycle you want to avoid. Make sure you keep up with Court Dates.

  1. Hire an attorney. The sooner the process starts, the better chance you have for getting a recall.
  2. Make sure your reason for missing court is legitimate. If possible, bring proof of where you were on the day of court (i.e. hospital, work, jail, etc.).
  3. Start the process early in the morning. The attorney has to get many files together in the courtroom to try to get the warrant recalled. The attorney needs time to get these things done.
  4. Finally, if you are fortunate enough to get your Bench Warrant recalled, make sure it doesn’t happen again! If patterns occur, judges might hesitate to recall a Bench Warrant. Be sure to know when your next court date is and show up on time.
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