Maryland Bench Warrant Lawyer
If you’ve missed a court date and are now facing failure to appear charges, chances are you are concerned about what might happen next. Many people have heard the phrase “bench warrant”, but far fewer understand exactly what that means. More information can be found below, but if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact a Maryland bench warrant lawyer.
What is a Bench Warrant?
At its most basic level, a bench warrant is an order issued by a judge (which is where the word “bench” comes from). The most common situation where a bench warrant is issued occurs in the event of a person’s failure to appear for a scheduled court date. If a defendant does not attend the court date for a criminal or traffic offense that carries a potential jail term (known as a jailable offense), then the judge will likely decide to issue a bench warrant. This warrant will only be issued if the defendant does not have a valid emergency that would excuse the absence.
What does a bench warrant do?
Once the bench warrant has been issued, it gives the police the power to arrest the defendant at any time. If a person has a bench warrant out for them and they are pulled over for even a minor infraction, such a broken taillight, he or she can be arrested by the officer and transported back to the jurisdiction that issued the bench warrant. The person will then face a bail decision or, in extreme cases, could be held in jail pending a new court date.
If you’ve recently missed a court appearance and believe that a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, you are likely wondering what options you have to avoid being taken to jail. Thankfully, there are things that can be done by an experienced Maryland defense attorney to increase your odds of avoiding the unpleasant ordeal of being arrested.
Motion to Quash
The best time to take action once a bench warrant has been issued is before you are arrested. If you act early, you will have access to options that would be foreclosed had you waited. One such option is to have your Maryland defense attorney file a “Motion to Quash Bench Warrant.” This legal document asks the court to recall (or quash) the bench warrant and instead set a new court date.
Often the courts appreciate when a person has come forward on their own accord and decide to grant the motion, especially in cases where there is a good reason for the failure to appear. These reasons can include defective notice due to the wrong address, illness or family emergencies.
Failing to appear in court can be a serious issue, but is best addressed directly and quickly. Waiting to be randomly arrested for a traffic violation is a recipe for disaster and is a sure way to get thrown into jail. The longer you wait the less sympathetic a judge will be about your situation and the more likely they are to believe that you purposely skipped out on your court date. By taking some preemptive action it’s possible that you can avoid some of the worst headaches associated with a bench warrant.