There are a number of ways in which warrants are categorized and characterized in relation to the criminal justice system. One of these manners is how the defendant relates to the criminal court in which he/she is to be processed for an alleged crime. Since every court of every jurisdiction has their own set code of rules for which all participants in the legal process must abide, those who disobey said rules are given warrant punishment unrelated to their possible criminal punishment, called a bench order. Most often, this court ordered bench penalty comes in the form of what is called a “bench warrant. In the following bench court order category, we examine the definition of a bench warrant, common reasons for a court to order a warrant of this kind, and how this may relate to your criminal records search.
First and foremost, a “bench warrant” “is a court order authorizing the seizure of a person in order for them to appear in court”. There are both civil and criminal “bench warrants” that affect a defendant’s criminal punishment and by extension, their criminal record. A civil warrant is ordered for cases of civil importance, while criminal “bench warrant” orders are administered for the defendants of criminal offenses. In both cases, missing a court date or a handful of them-depending on the leniency of the judge and severity of the crime-is seen as a direct and wanton disrespect for the court and criminal justice system, and in most cases, not only punishable by a warrant to appear; but by a court ordered or bench charge of contempt.
What are common reasons for a defendant to get a warrant of this nature ordered against them? While the central reason that a criminal would be given a warrant is failure to show up to a court date, there are other variables that factor into why the criminal might miss the said court date. Most commonly, a person charged with a crime will be given a contempt charge and fail to fulfill it. Moreover, a witness who has been subpoenaed to court for testimony who fails to show up is also a common reason for the issuance of this kind of warrant or of a bench variety. While these are the most direct ways in which to disrespect a court and incur subsequent warrant penalty, there are limitless other manners that regularly lead to the issuance of “bench warrant” orders. Other reasons for warrants include: lateness to court, sloppy attire, cell phone being on, or acting generally disrespectful of the court and court proceedings. It should be noted that not all disrespect for the court is evidenced in the physical court. If a person is given a court order to do anything, it is their duty to do so; such as is the case in missing a DUI class or being negligent on child support payments; otherwise they will get a warrant. Most often, before this person is given a court order to appear in court, they will be given a subpoena and a chance to show why they were negligent in these court ordered actions. If they dismiss these attempts previous to the warrant, a “bench warrant” will necessarily ensue.