Difference Between Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant

criminal justice legislation

You might have heard the word “warrant,” but did you know there are different kinds of warrants? There are bench warrants and arrest warrants, which might be issued at different times and under different circumstances. If you believe you are subject to a bench warrant or arrest warrant, contact the experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP.

What Is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is an order issued by a judge to arrest someone who violated a court order. For example, if you don’t appear for a scheduled hearing, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The police have the legal authority to search for you. The judge issues the warrant from the bench, hence, the name.

Why Would a Bench Warrant Be Issued?

Typically, a judge issues bench warrants if a person:

  • Disobeys a subpoena to appear in court
  • Fails to show up for a scheduled hearing
  • Doesn’t comply with a court order

A bench warrant issued in your name authorizes your immediate arrest. Law enforcement can take you into custody and compel you to appear before the judge.

What Is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant instructs law enforcement to take a person who is accused of a crime into custody. A judge or magistrate signs an arrest warrant after they determine there is probable cause that a particular person has committed a crime.

When Is an Arrest Warrant Issued?

One of the primary differences between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant is why a court issues them. An arrest warrant instructs officers to arrest a specific person who’s been accused of a crime. Such warrants are usually issued for new criminal cases rather than for outstanding court violations. The warrant must be supported by probable cause before an arrest can be made. Law enforcement must usually submit an affidavit to the court for a judge to issue the arrest warrant.

What Happens After a Warrant Is Issued?

A warrant is listed on a state database once the court issues it. Any law enforcement official in Texas can see the document in the database.

Officers have a right to arrest you once a judge issues a warrant. The arrest can occur anytime, anywhere, whether at your home, in a public place, or pulled over for a traffic stop.

The execution of a warrant isn’t subject to any deadlines or timeframes. It remains valid if law enforcement hasn’t taken you into custody. However, if the police arrest you under a court-issued warrant, it doesn’t lead to an automatic criminal conviction. The arresting officer can detain you for questioning. They might keep you in custody or let you go until your scheduled hearing. It depends on the circumstances.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, our legal team has more than 60 years of combined legal experience defending the rights of those charged with crimes in the Dallas area. We are familiar with the laws and procedures for a bench warrant and arrest warrant and can protect your rights and defend you against the charges you are facing.

If you need help with a warrant-related matter in Texas, call or contact us online for a free consultation with a dedicated and aggressive criminal defense attorney today.

At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we are experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to providing aggressive and ethical representation to individuals and businesses charged with crimes.