You may have heard the terms arrest warrant, bench warrant and search warrant, but may be unfamiliar with what each means and how they differ. Law enforcement officials can obtain three different types of warrants if necessary– the three listed above are the main types.

When law enforcement officials use a search warrant, they do so in order to look and find evidence that they can seize in a case. But bench and arrest warrants are different from a search warrant. Bench and arrest warrants are intended to bring people into custody. If a law enforcement officer puts a bench or arrest warrant out for you, both are an incredibly serious matter, for which you should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney right away.

What Is A Bench Warrant?

If a law enforcement official puts out a bench warrant, this usually happens because there are existing legal matters or court orders that you are required to fulfill. A bench warrant is typically issued when someone is held in contempt of court.

Once you have been issued a bench warrant, the police are entitled to make your arrest. They are also entitled to hold you in a local jail until the time arrives for your hearing. You might be required, in order to be released, to comply with terms of an existing court order, but if you violate the terms you might face additional penalties or monetary fines.

What Does It Mean To be Held In Contempt Of Court?

If a court has issued you a bench warrant because you were found to be in contempt of court, this can mean a few different things. If someone is held in contempt of court, it typically means:

  • They were issued a summons and failed to follow through and respond
  • They broke the terms of an existing court order
  • They failed to make a court appearance that was required of them
  • Disrupted proceedings or use threatening behavior while in court

Among the circumstances above, there are still more reasons why an individual may be held in contempt of court.

Why Might I Receive A Bench Warrant?

The majority of the warrants processed by New Jersey law enforcement are bench warrants that were issued to people who failed to appear for their scheduled appearance in court. Additionally, those who refuse to appear in court for a traffic citation can be issued a bench warrant, if you are issued a traffic citation and fail to pay the fines that were imposed by the court. Also, if you violate the terms of a restraining order, or the terms of probation, you can be issued a bench warrant by New Jersey law enforcement.

New Jersey residents who fail to pay their child support, or take other actions mandated by the court regarding the welfare of their children, may be issued a bench warrant as well. Those who are placed under arrest for a bench warrant can face a variety of penalties, and the outcomes of these specific cases are contingent upon their unique circumstances.

Those who are summoned on a bench warrant may or may not be eligible to be released promptly. Sometimes it can take just a few hours, other times an entire day. You may even be detained without release indefinitely until you comply with your existing order or can be seen before a judge.

What Is An Arrest Warrant?

Since bench warrants are reserved for those who have failed to comply with the courts, arrest warrants are reserved for new criminal cases where an individual is newly under investigation for a certain crime.

In the state of New Jersey, arrest warrants are typically issued under the following scenarios:

  • Upon issuing an indictment. If a prosecuting lawyer brings forth evidence in court that chooses to indict someone, whether on or charge or multiple, the jury will return with an indictment and a warrant for that person’s arrest is subsequently issued
  • After being investigated by police: If a law enforcement official chooses to investigate someone, after establishing that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed, the law enforcement official might issue an arrest warrant.
  • If a citizen complaint occurs: if a crime victim files a police report regarding the incident, an arrest warrant may be issued.

Schedule A Free Consultation With The Bianchi Law Group Today If You Have Been Issued A Bench Warrant Or Arrest Warrant In New Jersey

If you or someone you love has been issued a bench warrant or arrest warrant in New Jersey, you need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney to stand by your side throughout the legal proceedings you may face.

The Bianchi Law Group offers a free, no-obligation consultation to anyone who needs legal advice regarding criminal proceedings they may face.