A bench warrant is issued by the courts when a person misses their trial. This is called an “FTA”, or “failure to appear.” The word “bench” in bench warrant essentially implies the judge’s seat, and requests that you answer to the court for both your original charge and now for your FTA offense. In contrast to arrest warrants, bench warrants are used for minor criminal cases, mostly citations and similar petty infractions such as traffic tickets or j-walking.
Although police will not be on the hunt for those with a bench warrant, the defendant will have their name entered into a statewide database that notifies law enforcement. This means that a person with a bench warrant can be arrested and taken into the custody by law enforcement if they are ever looked up in the database and discovered, such as in the case that they are stopped for a routine traffic offense or other scenario.
How it Works
Once you are aware that you have a bench warrant, the first thing you need to do is contact your private criminal defense lawyer. They will handle all aspects of your charges and give you step-by-step instructions on what to do in the best interest of your case. However, since most bench warrant cases are not serious, you may not need to contact your lawyer at all, especially if you are not a repeat offender.
Instead, you should contact a local Indianapolis bail bondsman to prearrange bail in your favor. This will save you hours of time and frustration. That is because after you call a bail bondsman, you will need to show up at the jail or county clerk’s office and submit to your bench warrant. This will entail you being taken into custody for processing, paying off court costs and fines for both the original charges and the FTA charge, paying off your bail, and then being issued a new court date. A bail bondsman can expedite this process for you, while also giving you a ride from their office, to and from the jail.