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How to Clear a Bench Warrant

Town male sheriff police officer character in official uniform standing on the doorstep of the house and showing warrant sheet of paper vector Illustration

A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant that a New York court may issue in a criminal case or another formal proceeding. A bench warrant authorizes police to detain and arrest the warrant’s target. Bench warrants are commonly issued after a defendant fails to appear in court as part of a criminal proceeding. Bench warrants may also be issued for other violations of a court’s orders, such as for refusing to pay court-ordered child support or failing to show up for traffic court or pay outstanding speeding tickets. If you have an outstanding bench warrant for your arrest, it is important to get the warrant cleared as soon as possible so that you do not find yourself in jail unexpectedly the next time you are pulled over for speeding. Read on for advice on how to get rid of an outstanding bench warrant, and call an effective New York criminal defense lawyer for help with an arrest or conviction in New York City or the Hudson Valley.

Are You Subject to a Bench Warrant?

Many people are surprised to learn that they are subject to a bench warrant. If you ignored a traffic ticket or missed a court appearance, or if you otherwise have any reason to suspect there may be a warrant out for your arrest, call the county clerk office as soon as possible to find out. You can ask the clerk’s office to search for your name and notify you if any warrants come up.

The Grace Period

A typical court order will grant a defendant 48 hours within which to appear in court voluntarily before issuing a warrant for their arrest based on failure to appear. After that time has passed, the court can issue a warrant based on failure to appear (FTA). FTA is a “violation,” not a misdemeanor. The court will generally give the defendant 30 days to appear before charging the defendant with the crime of bail jumping. If you appear in court as soon as possible after the bench warrant is issued, within the 30-day period, you might be able to get the FTA dropped and appease the court.

Defenses to Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear

If you fail to appear within 30 days after the warrant is issued, you could still get the warrant dropped without facing charges, but you face a more uphill battle. A defendant can get bail jumping and FTA charges dropped if they can show that the failure to appear was “unavoidable and due to circumstances beyond [the defendant’s] control.” Some of the more common defenses include that you were out of the state or the country, that you were injured or struck with illness, that you were already incarcerated elsewhere, or that you were dealing with a death in the family. Talk to a savvy criminal defense lawyer about your bench warrant to discuss your best defenses to bail jumping charges and get your warrant cleared without staining your criminal record.

Trusted Advice and Representation for Your Hudson Valley Criminal Case

If you have been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony in New York, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C., to get help from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. From our offices in Goshen, we represent clients charged with all manner of criminal offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.

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