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Best Time To Take Care of Your Bench Warrant

Bench warrants happen. You didn't mean to miss court. Maybe you didn't get a notice in the mail (most common reason). Maybe you forgot.

But now you realize that you have a bench warrant (or alias capias if you're in Broward or Palm Beach). Your first instinct is to be scared. Rightfully so. If you're out and about and come into contact with a cop, that cop can discover your warrant simply by running your name and date of birth.

If the officer discovers that you have an outstanding warrant, you may be taken to jail.

Bench warrants are for misdemeanor offenses. If the offense is a criminal traffic offense, a bench warrant also means a driver's license suspension (called a D6).

The best time to take care of your bench warrant is right away. Many judges will agree to set aside your bench warrant if you address it within the first sixty days of issuance. In fact, you could have your criminal defense attorney go to court and waive your presence, meaning that you don't even need to show up. If the warrant is set aside, you still have the right to persist in your plea of not guilty and demand a trial. You don't have to be strong-armed into a plea.

However, if you wait too long, the judge may refuse to set it aside. Either you go into custody and pay the bond on the bench warrant or you can plea it out. Not a great set of choices to have.

If you miss court, don't panic. Get an attorney. Call me if your bench warrant is in Miami-Dade or Broward.