Posted on June 9, 2016
Orange County Warrant Lawyer | Recalling Your Bench Warrant
A judge issues a bench warrant when a defendant fails to appear in court at any stage of the case. For example, missing your first court appearance, failure to pay your fine, or failing to complete your court ordered classes or community service. Consequently, the warrant is imputed into the Department of Justice database subjecting someone to a mandatory arrest at any time when contacted by law enforcement. For instance, if you’re pulled over for a traffic citation, the officer will run your license which will reveal an outstanding warrant. Thereafter, you will be arrested and perhaps in a day or two, appear in court while in custody to address the judge.
Contrary to popular belief, a warrant will never “go away” with the passage of time. This includes felony cases, misdemeanor cases, and even traffic infractions. The only way to recall and quash a bench warrant is to appear before the judge. Depending on the type of case you have, an attorney may be able to appear in court on your behalf without our personal presence. For instance, in all infraction cases, an attorney can recall the warrant without your presence. In misdemeanor cases, your attorney might be able to recall the warrant without your presence, but it’s dependent on what type of misdemeanor charge it is. For example, minor misdemeanors that don’t have a victim or do not involve violence. However, recalling a bench warrant without your presence in a misdemeanor case is discretionary upon the judge. And for any felony case, you must appear before the court. Your attorney cannot appear on your behalf.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO RECALL MY BENCH WARRANT?
Recalling a bench warrant does not require retaining an attorney, but it’s strongly encouraged. When appearing to recall your warrant, the judge may set a bail amount causing you to be taken into custody. By retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney, your lawyer will highlight the reasons why you should remain free while your case is pending. Furthermore, by retaining a lawyer, it indicates to the prosecutors and judges that you are serious about addressing your case to the point where you’re not a flight risk. However, if you cannot afford a private attorney, the court will appoint the services of the county public defender to represent you.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE WARRANT IS RECALLED?
After recalling your warrant, the case is resumed where it left off. For example, if you failed to appear altogether for your case, then your warrant recall date will also be the date of your arraignment. Your arraignment is where you enter a plea or guilty or not guilty to the charges. If you failed to appear after you entered a plea, then the judge will set the date for a probation violation hearing. If found in violation of probation, then the judge could sentence you to serve time in jail.
GETTING YOUR CASE DISMISSED
In many instances, a person can have an outstanding bench warrant for months or even years. Although not available in every case, your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed claiming a violation of your speedy trial right. For example, if you were arrested for a misdemeanor offense (such as a DUI), and one year has passed from the date of your arrest, your attorney can file a Serna motion claiming a violation of your Sixth Amendment right. Briefly, the motion balances the government’s obligation to bring you to court versus the level of prejudice the delay has caused. Moreover, a one year delay carries a presumption of prejudice that is difficult for the government to overcome. This means that your right to investigate your case and produce evidence was substantially interfered by the delay in bringing you to court and it impaired your ability to defend the charges against you – e.g., loss of evidence, memories fade, or a material witness dies. For more information, contact our office today.
CALL US FOR A FREE BENCH WARRANT CONSULTATION
If you have an outstanding bench warrant in Orange County, then contact an Orange County Warrant Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free consultation.