Authorization for Immediate Arrest
When an individual has failed to make a court appearance, a "bench warrant" will be issued with their name on it. This warrant means that as soon as law enforcement finds them, whether in a traffic stop, at work or at home, they will immediately be arrested and put in jail. Sometimes, a person may not have even been aware that there was a bench warrant out for their arrest on it until they are taken into custody. Things like changing an address without providing this information to the clerk's office can lead to an unsuspecting detainee.
Most bench warrants are issued with a set bond amount—but only for misdemeanor offenses—which allows the individual, once arrested, to pay the bond amount in order to be released from jail. For felony offenses, if there is an alias capias warrant or a probation violation warrant out for their arrest, they could be held without chance of bail, until their trial is conducted.
What can you do to defend yourself?
If a bench warrant is related to a felony offense, in this case the warrant is referred to as an "alias capias" and is very serious matter. If you are arrested on such a warrant, you may be required to be in jail until the entire criminal case has made its way through the court system to the verdict. With the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer, however, legal actions can be taken to get the warrant removed as quickly as possible.
In some cases, the warrant could be mistakenly issued, as the order to appear in court may have been sent to an old address, wrong address or other problem. The court sends the warrant only to the address that is on file, and if you no longer reside at that address, and do not receive it, no further efforts are made to find you; a warrant is merely issued for your arrest. If it can be proven that you were properly notified, the warrant will be on file and if stopped by law enforcement, you will be put in jail.