Being arrested and having to show up for court can be stressful enough. What’s even more stressful is missing a court date and knowing that there is a bench warrant out for your arrest. Clearing a bench warrant is different in every jurisdiction, but there are a few common aspects of the law that can help in clearing a bench warrant.
First, it’s important to understand how a bench warrant is issued. When a Georgia citizen is arrested and released from custody they are either given a court date at the jail or the person is told that a court date will be sent to them by mail.
Some cases, especially felony cases, are not immediately docketed with the court and it can take time before the courts add your case to the calendar. In some jurisdictions that can mean months and even years before a court date is set up for your case. Unfortunately, those court dates don’t always make it into your hand and if you missed your court date, then the Judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant is warrant issued directly by the Judge for missing court. A bench warrant instructs all law enforcement authorities to immediately arrest the person listed on the bench warrant and return them to court.
So what do you do if you if you have a bench warrant? Well, if you’re aware of a warrant it’s important to realize that it is unlikely that the warrant is going to go away on its own. In fact, the warrant will remain until the Judge addresses the issue of why you missed court. Because of that, it’s important to contact a lawyer immediately to address possible options. Some jurisdictions will allow the attorney to discuss the case with the prosecutor and potentially resolve the warrant without you having to go back to jail. In other jurisdictions, it will be on you to turn yourself in and allow your lawyer to work diligently on getting you in front of the Judge as soon as possible.
In some circumstances it can be shown that you did not in fact receive notice. If the evidence shows that to be the case then the Judge would have the ability to lift the bench warrant and give you a new court date. Or you may have been in custody in another jurisdiction and you were not able to make court because you were not transported to the courthouse. In those situations a lawyer can obtain a proof of incarceration and ask the Judge to lift the bench warrant immediately. In any event, a lawyer can assist in helping lift a bench warrant and get you back to your loved ones as soon as possible.
Every courthouse is different. It’s important to have a lawyer who knows how to effectively represent individuals with bench warrants. At W. Scott Smith P.C., our lawyers have handled cases all over the State of Georgia and know the quickest ways to lift a bench warrant. If you have an active bench warrant and need assistance, please call 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.