A bench warrant is issued when an individual misses a court date. Court dates can be intimidating, but the repercussions of neglecting to make an appearance are worse. A bench warrant is sent straight to the police with a request for the arrest of the individual who missed court along with a case of contempt, since the court assumes this action as a blatant disregard of government authority.
The Process of Arizona Bench Warrants
The consequences of failing to appear in court are severe. In the event an individual receives a bench warrant, there are two possible outcomes:
- Failure to Appear First Degree (ARS 13-2507). This charge is given when an individual fails to make a court date associated with felony charges. Regardless of the initial charges, the person automatically receives a Class 5 felony charge with the possibility of spending up to a year and a half in prison. This can be extremely destructive for any case concerning previous legal issues.
- Failure to Appear Second Degree (ARS 13-2506). Missing a court date relating to a misdemeanor immediately charges individuals with an additional Class 1 misdemeanor. Individuals will receive substantial fines (up to $2,500) and may be sentenced to a few months in jail.
Regardless of the type of charge involved, all individuals will have their license suspended. A bench warrant basically guarantees individuals will get caught for missing their court date. With a suspended license and police scanners, it’s hard to stay under the radar for very long.
The bench warrant doesn’t dissipate with time. The warrant stays outstanding until the individual is apprehended and taken into custody.
The police are authorized to practice both international extradition and interstate extradition.
- International extradition. This process involves the wanted individual being collected from his or her country and delivered to the requesting country to appear in court.
- Interstate extradition. Authorities are given the power to remove the wanted individual from a foreign state to deliver them to court.
Avoiding court leads to messier charges and more complicated legal processes. Individuals contemplating skipping an upcoming court date should rethink their decision. The results of skipping are far more serious than facing existing charges on schedule.
Those unable to attend their court date can make a motion to postpone. Partnering with a criminal defense lawyer offers the best possible outcome for individuals who need help attempting to move the court date. The most important thing is to adhere to what the court decides. Regardless of the result, people should try their best to make the court date and avoid a bench warrant in the future.
The legal problems involved in missing court are much more severe than most existing charges. Instead of risking further issues, deal with existing charges in a timely manner, cooperate with the court, and avoid receiving a bench warrant from the state of Arizona.
Individuals who are already in the thick of dealing with an existing bench warrant should immediately hire a skilled Arizona criminal defense lawyer. Gaining professional advice and guidance from a lawyer can lend enormous help to a bench warrant.
Criminal defense attorneys help by:
- Formally asking the court to quash the warrant.
- Developing a plan for their client to surrender to the court.
- Providing support for the defendant in court.
- Facilitating the defendant’s release.
To experience the best possible outcome in fighting an Arizona bench warrant, individuals should contact our outstanding criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart. Scott Stewart’s knowledge of the field and connections in the legal community will provide excellent results for any future clients.