What is a Bench Warrant and How Could it Affect Me?

Throughout the state of Georgia, newspapers regularly include a list of individuals for whom the local police are looking. These individuals usually have a bench warrant issued for them, and the police are seeking the public’s help in finding them. While the average person may go their entire life without facing a warrant, it is surprisingly easy to find yourself on a list of people wanted for outstanding bench warrants. Knowing what a bench warrant is and how it could affect you may help you or your loved ones avoid the penalties associated with being arrested for an outstanding bench warrant.

What is a Bench Warrant?

The news often shows people being arrested for what is referred to as an “outstanding warrant,” but what reporters fail to mention is that there are different types of warrants. A bench warrant is a type of warrant that can only be issued by a judge. These warrants give law enforcement officials the right to immediately arrest a person as soon as he or she is located. Once arrested, the person with the warrant may be forced to wait in jail until a criminal hearing and/or the legal matter is completely resolved. If the arrest was for a minor crime or you have a bench warrant attorney, you may be able to post bail then receive a new court date.

Why are Bench Warrants Issued?

When the average person thinks of an individual who has a warrant, they usually imagine a career criminal or a person accused of a crime so serious that appearing in court might lead to a permanent loss of freedom. In reality, bench warrants are issued for a variety of reasons and people from all walks of life may find themselves named in one. Bench warrants can be issued for forgetting to attend a traffic court hearing, not paying fines, refusing to testify, or not paying spousal or child support.  


The most serious and immediate penalty of having a bench warrant issued is that you may find yourself placed under arrest at any time. There is no end date on the warrant, and it is possible for a person with an outstanding bench warrant to be arrested years after it is issued. Once you are located, the police will place you under arrest and hold you until your trial date or you are able to pay bail.  If you do not have any money, then you could find yourself spending days in jail before being taken in front of a judge. This incarceration could cost you your job, affect your ability to retain custody of your children, and cause significant embarrassment depending upon the circumstances or location of your arrest.

Why You Need an Attorney

Before turning yourself in or attempting to evade the police contact a skilled criminal defense attorney at Yeargan & Kert, LLC. Having an attorney can help ensure that you are not forced to wait in jail and that you do not find yourself facing additional charges. An aggressive attorney might be able to resolve your warrant without you having to spend any time in jail. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta area locations so that we can begin working on your case.