What Happens If You Get an Out-of-State Warrant for Arrest?

by Ambrosio Rodriguez | Dec 31, 2020 | Criminal Defense
gavel and handcuffs

Maybe you were arrested in another state for something that you think isn’t that serious, like driving on a suspended license or trespassing. For whatever reason, you skipped out on your court date. Now, you’re wondering whether you have a bench warrant out for your arrest, and what even is a bench warrant?

Having a bench warrant out for your arrest is no laughing matter. It is an urgent legal issue that requires your immediate attention. You’ll need competent legal counsel to deal with an out-of-state arrest warrant.

You can be arrested at any time, even for out-of-state warrants. The good news is that you can, with the right help, handle the situation. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you with your issue.

What is an Out-of-State Bench Warrant?

There are different types of warrants. When someone breaks a court rule, the court may issue a “bench warrant.”  The most common offense leading to a bench warrant is the failure to appear in court. A bench warrant gets its name because it is issued while the judge is sitting “on the bench,” in open court.

A bench warrant is an order authorizing a law enforcement officer to make an arrest. It is like an arrest warrant, but also different in some key aspects.

The court issues an arrest warrant based on a finding of probable cause that you have committed a crime. A bench warrant is issued for violation of a court rule.

The purpose of a bench warrant is to bring a person before the court. Usually, because of their failure to appear on another occasion. You will end up in court, one way or another.

An out-of-state bench warrant is simply one issued by a different state than the one in which the police come into contact with you.

What Happens When a Bench Warrant is Issued?

If you receive notice to appear in court, you have to show up at the date and time required. There are no excuses in this situation. You must comply or you will face severe consequences.

When a bench warrant is issued, the court authorizes police to arrest you on the spot when they encounter you. A warrant is then issued for your arrest. Your information is entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) administered by the FBI.

Every law enforcement officer in the U.S. can access NCIC. When you provide your identity to a law enforcement officer in any situation, they could find the warrant in NCIC.

If you are arrested in a different state than the one where the bench warrant was issued, you may be extradited, depending on the severity of the charges.

What if it’s just a misdemeanor warrant in another state?

A misdemeanor offense is less serious than a felony. Many misdemeanors are classified as serious crimes. The type of charges, like drug possession or DUI, that are classified as misdemeanors vary from state to state.

It may be that the state where the bench warrant was issued does not choose to have you extradited. But that’s not a chance you want to take! If your charges are serious, law enforcement agencies are generally willing to extradite from any state.

A rider can be attached to out-of-state bench warrants for misdemeanors. A rider states the circumstances under which the issuing agency is willing to facilitate your extradition. Riders might list a region (Pacific Northwest) or a series of states (Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, for example).

Bottom line: you cannot outrun the requirement to appear in court. If you are given notice to appear in court, it is always best to appear on the date and time you are required.

To learn more, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm at 213-995-6767 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.