Understanding Maryland Bench Warrants
The criminal justice system can seem complicated and scary. Sometimes, people feel that they can avoid consequences by ignoring criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, a failure to appear will likely result in the issuance of a bench warrant.
Judges and magistrates issue bench warrants to arrest those in contempt of court, violating probation, or failing to appear for a court hearing or trial. Bench warrants can also be issued when a person who has paid bail and been released on their own recognizance refuses to surrender voluntarily.
In other cases, the court may issue a bench warrant to arrest a person who violates pre-trial release conditions. Upon arrest, the prosecutor or judge may revoke or continue the release.
When issuing a bench warrant, the court usually sets a bond amount for rescheduling the trial or hearing.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law for more information if you are dealing with any bench warrants in Maryland.
Bench Warrant vs. Arrest Warrant
There are many types of warrants. A bench warrant is issued to compel a person to appear in court. Arrest warrants are also court orders issued to the police to apprehend an individual once there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity and probable cause has been established.
Bench warrants are initiated by judges and magistrates, whereas law enforcement officials initiate arrest warrants. However, once bench warrants are issued, they are treated like any other arrest warrant. This means that police officers can arrest you anywhere or anytime they find you. The arrest warrant process begins with a police officer.
Regardless of what type of warrant has your name on it, it is a serious situation that can have intense consequences. Your Maryland bench warrant lawyer can assess your case and explain your options. Consult with a local law firm like Scrofano Law for advice.
How to Conduct a Maryland Bench Warrant Search
A Maryland bench warrant search is conducted to find out if there is a bench warrant issued in the state of Maryland. It can be conducted by any law enforcement agency or by the county sheriff’s department. If a person has a criminal record, their name will be searched for warrants in all the states they have lived in.
The court house: A warrant search can be conducted at the courthouse clerk’s office where it was issued. These records are open to the public and available for review.
Court websites: Online warrant searches are also available on some counties’ websites.
Independent websites: A variety of third-party websites are available on the internet where people can find active search warrants, usually for a fee. Unfortunately, the information they provide is not always accurate or the most recent. Depending on the third-party site, the user may need to input the following information:
- Personal information regarding the alleged suspect, such as a name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address
- Information provided by the issuing officer
- The location where the warrant was issued
Criminal background checks: You can also find active warrants through criminal background checks run by the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Calling the police: Police departments may also be contacted. Most police departments have warrant departments that work with the public. Some police departments’ websites have a warrants page that tells people how to turn themselves in if they have a warrant.
It is essential to retain legal counsel as soon as you discover you have a bench warrant. A Maryland criminal lawyer can provide information and advice and represent you in court for your subsequent hearing.
Repercussions of a Bench Warrant in Maryland
Missing a court appearance in Maryland is considered a serious violation of the law, resulting in a warrant being issued for your arrest, misdemeanor charges, jail time, and fines up to $1,000.00.
How Can an Attorney Help with a Maryland Bench Warrant?
The legal system is a complex and ever-changing entity that can be difficult to navigate. A Maryland bench warrant can be challenging, so if you’ve been issued one, you must speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a criminal lawyer in Rockville, MD, for help today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Bench Warrants Normally Issued?
Bench warrants are primarily issued to compel a person to appear in court. The most common reasons they are issued include:
Failing to appear in court for a scheduled hearing or trial
Failure to comply with a subpoena requiring you to testify in court
Non-payment of court-ordered child support
Committing a probation violation
Non-payment of traffic tickets
How Long Does a Bench Warrant Last in Maryland?
As long as a bench warrant is not served or recalled, or quashed by a judge, it will remain in the system forever.
When Are Maryland Bench Warrants for Traffic Tickets Issued
Maryland bench warrants are issued when you fail to respond to citations or infractions within the given timeframe or when you fail to appear at your court appearance. A police officer can then arrest you on sight and take you into custody.
If you are arrested or find out there is a warrant against you, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to try to minimize the possible repercussions. By developing a strong attorney-client relationship with a skilled Maryland bench warrant lawyer, you can access long-term legal options for any situation you may encounter.
NEED AN ATTORNEY?
We fight for your rights!