How to deal with a bench warrant in New Jersey?

If you missed a court appearance or violated a court order, you must act fast to avoid significant penalties. Ignoring any warrant can result in harsh consequences, including hefty fines and possible jail time. Therefore, if you know or suspect that you are subject to a bench warrant, it is in your best interest to contact an adept Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you find the best way to handle this situation to shield you from severe penalties. 

What are the different kinds of warrants in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, there are three different types of warrants that a judge can issue in criminal cases:

  • Search warrants: When the police investigate a crime, they often request search warrants. A search warrant allows officers to search for a specific person, examining their place or property for evidence of criminal activity. However, before a judge can issue a search warrant, the officer must provide legal justification, or probable cause, for the search.
  • Arrest warrants: When the police file a criminal complaint and show probable cause before a judge, they may be issued an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant authorizes the police to arrest an individual and bring them before the court on a specific charge. However, the police must show that the accused is likely to have committed the crime. This type of warrant can also be ordered if a defendant violates their parole or probation or refuses to comply with a court order.
  • Bench warrant: A judge can issue a bench warrant if an individual fails to appear at a court hearing or violates a court order. Unlike other arrest warrants, a judge can issue a bench warrant without requiring an officer to establish probable cause. This is because probable cause has already been selected by your failure to comply with the court. This type of warrant stays in effect until a defendant has been arrested, the warrant has been recalled, or the defendant has fulfilled the conditions stipulated in the warrant. Depending on the specific circumstances of the warrant, there are ways to get it lifted.

When a judge issues a bench warrant against someone, law enforcement officers can arrest them and keep them in custody until they attend a court hearing. In some cases, the court may require that you comply with the terms of an existing court order to be released from custody.

How should I handle a bench warrant?

As mentioned above, getting a bench warrant lifted through the help of an experienced attorney is possible. If a defendant failed to comply with a court summons because of a technical mishap, contacting the courthouse and notifying them of the error could be enough for the judge to void the warrant.

However, if a defendant violates the conditions of their parole or probation, they cannot avoid an arrest as they cannot have their bench warrant lifted. Nevertheless, working with a talented criminal defense lawyer who can combat your changes can potentially help you avoid jail time and other harsh penalties.

If you’re facing a bench warrant, contact a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of Carl Spector, who can fight on your behalf to maximize your chances of preventing harsh penalties.