Do you have a bench warrant in Pennsylvania?
Knowing you are wanted by law enforcement can be a stressful, anxiety-ridden time in a person’s life. That heavy weight couple with sleepless nights is enough to break even the strongest individuals. Bench warrants can be issued for something as menial as unpaid parking tickets to something as serious as a felony. If you had a bench warrant and were arrested then taken off to jail, you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you through this process and have your issues taken care of as soon as possible. Here in Pennsylvania, a bench warrant is a court-ordered directive that allows a law enforcement officer to arrest the person in question on sight, without question. A bench warrant is usually issued when a person fails to show up a court hearing or violates some other court-ordered directive, such as probation. Bench warrants are generally used against criminal defendants, but courts have the power to issue bench warrants for anyone who fails to appear in front of a judge. By law, if someone with a bench warrant is contacted by police–whether they are pulled over, stopped on the street, etc.–the officer must place the person under arrest and may not release the person until he or she has the permission to do so from the court that originally issued the warrant. If you have been arrested because of a bench warrant, you will likely be detained until you are able to be brought in front of the court that issued the warrant. Sometimes, during the week for example, you may be able to be seen by a judge within hours of your arrest. In other instances–if you were arrested at night, on the weekend, or in a different Pennsylvania county–you may have to wait for days until you are seen. If you’re arrested out of state, it can take weeks or months. Once you are brought in front of the court, the court will take the warrant away, and they will have a hearing to decide whether you are to be released or kept in jail until your new court hearing can be scheduled. In certain cases, the court may set bail; if the person can pay they will be released. I you have found that you have a bench warrant, it’s important to understand that it’s not something that will just "work itself out." A bench warrant never goes away until it has been served. And because of up-to-date online databases, it is nearly impossible to elude arrest if you encounter the police. If you have been arrested on bench warrant or if you simply have questions, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary E. Gerson today at (412) 281-3380 for a free consultation.