You’ve probably heard about bench warrants and arrest warrants. More
than likely, you’ve heard detectives on TV say, “There’s
a warrant out for his arrest.”
What is a bench warrant and how is it different than an arrest warrant?
Or, are they the same thing?
Bench warrants and arrest warrants are
not the same. A “bench warrant” basically means that someone was not sitting
on the bench in front of the judge or magistrate when they were supposed to be.
Judges and magistrates issue bench warrants when defendants violate court
rules. Usually, bench warrants are issued when defendants fail to appear
in court. So, if you fail to show up in court, what happens next is the
magistrate issues a bench warrant.
Once a bench warrant is issued, it will have the same power as any other
arrest warrant. The local police can knock on your door or come to your
place of employment and haul you away in handcuffs and take you before
How Arrest Warrants Are Different
Now you know that bench warrants are typically issued when a criminal defendant
fails to appear in court. In contrast, a police officer initiates the
arrest warrant process. A police officer believes they have probable cause
to make an arrest, so he or she files a statement with the judge, explaining
why they believe that a suspect should be arrested.
If the judge believes the police officer has probable cause to make an
arrest (there’s enough evidence of a crime), the judge signs the
arrest warrant, and the police officer has the OK to hit the streets and
pursue an arrest.
This does not mean that police officers need to have warrants for every
arrest – that is not the case at all. Most of the time, police officers
don’t need warrants to make arrests.
Usually, the police seek arrest warrants when they want to nab an unsuspecting
suspect while they’re off-guard in the comfort of their own home.
It’s not legal for the police to go around busting down suspects’
doors without securing an arrest warrant in advance.
If there’s a warrant for your arrest,
contact our Plano
criminal defense firm for a hard-hitting defense – we are on your side and ready
to serve you!