Imagine you are trying to live a quiet life and suddenly you discover you have a bench warrant out for your arrest. It is possible to have a warrant issued and never know it until you have an interaction with law enforcement such as being stopped for a traffic violation or being denied a firearm purchase.
What is a Bench Warrant in Colorado
If you get a traffic ticket for speeding, arrested or receive a summons for another criminal charge, you will receive notice of an upcoming court appearance. If you fail to appear for that court appearance a bench warrant for your arrest will be issued by the judge. You may be taken into custody to later appear in front of a judge.
Minor traffic tickets and offenses are seldom actively pursued by the police. Violations are entered into the Colorado database. This bench warrant gives law enforcement the opportunity to take you into custody if you are arrested for any crime. DO NOT TALK to anyone other than your criminal defense lawyer.
You may be arrested, held in jail and may lose your driver’s license. You may have fines to pay. You should have funds set aside to pay your bond, fines and attorney’s retainer.
Getting your Warrant Quashed
You need to hire a lawyer so he can get the warrant quashed. You will want to deal with your warrant as soon as possible to avoid jail time. Sometimes your lawyer can appear without you being present. Felony charges or a history of failure to appear may require you to be present in court.
It may be necessary for you to go to court and you may be able to pay your bond and fines to avoid jail time. There is a possibility you will be detained.
In Custody or Out on Bond
If you are taken into custody for an active bench warrant you must pay your bond to get released from jail. Bond is set by the court. A judge will take your criminal history in to account as well as your other violations when determining your bond.
Fines, fees and other costs will be assessed and you must be prepared to pay them so not to be put in jail. You will be given another date to appear in court. Failure to appear will result in another bench warrant and forfeiting your bond.
Your driver’s license is in jeopardy if you fail to appear. Colorado Motor Vehicle will have a record of your violation. DMV will revoke your driver’s license for a failure to appear that results in an Outstanding Judgement and Warrant (OJW) in the court case.
Example of a Bench Warrant
Client gets stopped for speeding ticket. A bench warrant shows up when the officer runs her record and finds a warrant for her arrest for shoplifting from two years ago. Client was never served, she didn’t know she had a criminal case. She failed to appear for her court appearance on the shoplifting. Client is confused and doesn’t remember anything about shoplifting. She retained her criminal defense attorney. She turned herself in, was booked and bond set. After reviewing the Discovery from the prosecutor it is determined that there was an incident from several years ago that indicated she did mistakenly shoplifted an item. The police got an arrest warrant by filing a request for arrest warrant with a probable cause affidavit. He knew where she lived but was too lazy to serve her. The case ends in a deferred judgement (eligible for sealing) and 6 months’ probation. The case has now been sealed and she can deny it ever happened.
Philip M. Smith, your warrant criminal defense attorney offers a free confidential consultation at 303-333-8900.