If you learn that there’s a warrant out for your arrest, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.  Even if you disagree with the law, don’t take matters into your own hands by ignoring the situation.  You risk further complicating your legal position and your future.  As your attorney, I’ll help untangle the complex issues you face and ensure that your rights are protected.

In New York, the two types of warrant that most commonly lead to arrest are “arrest warrants” and “bench warrants.”  Each type of warrant issued for arrest has unique rules that govern its issuance and enforcement.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is an order issued by a judge, typically after a grand jury indictment, or when police have enough evidence to suspect probable cause that a crime was committed (usually a felony).  The arrest warrant authorizes that the person named in the warrant be arrested by police and brought before a judge.  If you learn that a warrant for your arrest exists, your best option is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately.  Don’t resist arrest, but don’t initiate turning yourself in on your own.  A lawyer will communicate on your behalf with police, avoiding the opportunity for you to make statements you will later regret.  Your lawyer will also appear at your arraignment.  This will often reduce the length of time you spend in custody before seeing a judge.  This should also result in a bail application (seeking recognizance or affordable bail) that is better tailored to your case.  The last thing you want to do is run or ignore the warrant.  Your voluntary surrender is a strong fact favoring your release while the criminal matter is pending.

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Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is also an order issued by a judge, authorizing your immediate arrest.  Bench warrants are typically issued when a person fails to meet a court requirement. For example:

  • Failing to appear in court on a scheduled court date
  • Failing to complete community service by a scheduled date
  • Failing to pay a fine on time
  • Failing to satisfy any other condition of sentencing

Ignoring a bench warrant is not advisable, as there can be numerous collateral consequences, such as revocation of bail, re-sentencing to jail time, and bail-jumping charges.  When the court issues a bench warrant, don’t try to handle the situation on your own.  A lawyer can best explain to the court why your release status shouldn’t be changed, or why a more burdensome sentence shouldn’t be imposed.  A lawyer can help you prepare for your return to court, by recommending helpful documents or witnesses for you to assemble before the court appearance.

As your warrant lawyer in New York City, I ensure that your rights are protected.  We plan for your return to court, and we implement that plan when we ask the court to vacate the warrant.  When you face trouble with the law, I’m your trusted advocate, helping you resolve your legal issues.

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