Judges in California are allowed to issue bench warrants in some situations. Penal Code 978.5 grants judges the right to use these warrants. A bench warrant gives law enforcement personnel the right to arrest someone in specific circumstances.
Bench warrants are issued if someone fails to appear in court as ordered. However, these warrants are also used in other circumstances. Get additional information about bench warrants with the Simmrin Law Group by calling (310) 896-2723 today.
PC 978.5 and Bench Warrants in California
PC 978.5 grants the court system the authority to issue bench warrants. These warrants are generally issued after someone skips a court appearance. Individuals can fail to appear for a number of reasons. You can expect to face a bench warrant if you miss a court date after you are:
- Ordered to appear by a magistrate or judge
- Released on bail with an order to return to court
- Released on your own recognizance with a promise to return to court
- Released with a citation from a peace officer
For example, say you were stopped by a police officer and accused of speeding and you received a ticket with a court date. This counts as a “citation from a peace officer.” Failure to appear for the court date on the ticket could lead to a bench warrant.
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Duration of a California Bench Warrant
Technically, bench warrants in California never expire. They remain on an individual’s record until they are resolved. A judge can clear (or recall) a bench warrant.
If a judge does not clear a bench warrant, it will remain on the individual’s record for the rest of their life. It is not possible to “wait out” a bench warrant.
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Steps to Clear a Bench Warrant in California
Only a judge can clear (or recall) a bench warrant in California. Clearing a bench warrant removes it from the judicial system. Generally, individuals must go to court to remove a bench warrant.
The court does allow a lawyer to handle a bench warrant for individuals in some cases. However, this only applies to cases involving misdemeanor offenses. Individuals accused of a felony must appear personally in court.
A lawyer can work to show that an individual did not intentionally miss a court date in order to clear a bench warrant. This could involve showing that an individual never knew they were supposed to go to court as one such example.
Effects of a Bench Warrant in California
Bench warrants authorize law enforcement officers to arrest people who failed to appear in court. Police officers will bring the arrested individual before a judge. The judge will then decide how to handle the individual based on their:
- Past criminal record
- Possible flight risk
A judge can decide to keep an individual in custody after they are brought in on a bench warrant. The individual would then stay in jail, generally until their next court hearing. A judge could also decide to let an individual go. However, individuals who fail to appear are less likely to get released.
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Other Repercussions for Failure to Appear in California
Individuals can face a bench warrant for their arrest if they fail to appear in court in California. There are several other consequences for the failure to appear in court, including criminal charges.
Failure to appear is a serious criminal offense that can result in fines and jail time. Individuals can face this charge if they willingly miss a court date or court process. Individuals must have intentionally skipped a court date to face a conviction.
The Simmrin Law Group can step in to help if you were accused of a failure to appear in California. You can rely on our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles to help you fight these charges. Just call (310) 896-2723 today.
Work with a Lawyer to Fight a Bench Warrant
Contact the Simmrin Law Group to learn more about Penal Code 978.5 and how to fight a bench warrant for a failure to appear. Get in contact with our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles right now at (310) 896-2723. You can also fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.