The criminal defense attorneys in California, at Ticket Crushers help clients with outstanding arrest and bench warrants throughout the greater San Francisco Bay area.
Our attorneys can help you clear the arrest warrant for a new charge, a warrant after a violation of probation, or a bench warrant issued after you failed to appear in court or missed a court date. The most common type of warrants in California include:
- Arrest warrants which are issued by the court after an officer has probable cause that a crime was committed;
- Bench warrants (sometimes called the “body attachments”) which are issued by the judge from “the bench” in the courtroom. Bench warrants can be issued for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to appear (FTA) warrants;
- Failure to pay (FTP) fines warrants;
- Failure to pay (FTA) restitution warrants; and
- Failure to obey a court order warrant.
Call an attorney at Ticket Crushers in San Francisco, California, to discuss an outstanding warant for your arrest. Call 1 (866) 842-5384 today.
Suspension of a California Driver’s License for Failure to Appear or Pay
In some cases, a failure to appear or pay can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. Under California’s Vehicle Code 13365, the willful failure to appear in court or pay a fine on an infraction will result in a mandatory license suspension for a second offense. Also, under Vehicle Code 13365.5, even a first offense of willfully failing to appear in court or obey a court order on a misdemeanor or felony will result in a mandatory license suspension.
An attorney can help you clear up the underlying issue so that your driver’s licence can be reinstated.
Contempt of Court for Failing to Follow a Court Order
Failure to follow a court order can also subject the person to “contempt of court” and/or a bench warrant. Under California Penal Code 166, contempt of court is a misdemeanor and includes:
(4) Willful disobedience of the terms as written of any process or court order or out-of-state court order, lawfully issued by any court, including orders pending trial.
(5) Resistance willfully offered by any person to the lawful order or process of any court.”
Failing to follow a court order can also result in:
- a violation of probation;
- criminal penalties including jail or prison.
See Penal Code 1320 PC and Vehicle Code 40508 VC.
Bench Warrants after a Grand Jury Indictment by a Grand Jury in California
A bench warrant can also be issued after an indictment by a grand jury in San Francisco, California. In fact, if you are not already in custody when the indictment is received, then the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Section 945 provides that “[w]hen an indictment is found against a defendant not in custody, the same proceedings must be had as are prescribed in Sections 979 to 984, inclusive, against a defendant who fails to appear for arraignment.”
Motion to Quash a Bench Warrant in San Franciso, California
A criminal defense attorney can file a motion to quash or recall a warrant when means that is cleared by the judge from the system. In some cases, you and your attorney must appear in court to make this request of the court.
Depending on the circumstances, your attorney can have the motion hearing without the need for you to appear in court. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Ticket Crushers to find out more about having a warrant recalled or quashed in your absence after a fail to appear for a court appearance or the failure to pay a fine. Different courts and judges have different procedures, so a criminal defense attorney can tell you the options available in your particular case. In almost all felony cases, your appearance will be required.
The bench warrant in California, authorizes law enforcement officer to take you into custody, arrest you and bring you directly to court. After you are brought to court, the judge can either release you with a warning or incarcerate you. The action taken by the court in response to a bench warrant depends on the circumstances leading to the warrant being issued, your criminal record, and whether you are a flight risk.
Warrants from a County Outside of San Francisco (Out-of-County Hold)
In some cases, the officer will bring you in from of a judge in the county where the warrant was served before transporting you to the county where the warrant was issued. A criminal defense attorney can appear with you for the first court date to ask the judge in the county where you were arrested may decide to set bail in the case so that you can avoid being transported to another county while in custody. This is sometimes called an out-of-county hold. See California Penal Code sections 981-982, 984, and 1284.
Section 1284 provides that when the offense charged “is not punishable with death, the officer serving the bench warrant must, if required, take the defendant before a magistrate in the county in which it is issued, or in which he is arrested, for the purpose of giving bail. If the defendant appears before such magistrate without the bench warrant having been served upon him, the magistrate shall deliver him into the custody of the sheriff for the purpose of immediate booking and the recording of identification data, whereupon the sheriff shall deliver the defendant back before the magistrate for the purpose of giving bail.”
Section 984 provides:
“Proceeding on giving bail in another county. If the defendant is brought before a magistrate of another county for the purpose of giving bail, the magistrate must proceed in respect thereto in the same manner as if the defendant had been brought before him upon a warrant of arrest, and the same proceedings must be had thereon.”
Section 980 provides:
“(a) At any time after the order for a bench warrant is made, whether the court is sitting or not, the clerk may issue a bench warrant to one or more counties.
(b) The clerk shall require the appropriate agency to enter each bench warrant issued on a private surety-bonded felony case into the national warrant system (National Crime Information Center (NCIC)). If the appropriate agency fails to enter the bench warrant into the national warrant system (NCIC), and the court finds that this failure prevented the surety or bond agent from surrendering the fugitive into custody, prevented the fugitive from being arrested or taken into custody, or resulted in the fugitive’s subsequent release from custody, the court having jurisdiction over the bail shall, upon petition, set aside the forfeiture of the bond and declare all liability on the bail bond to be exonerated.”
Failure to Appear for Sentencing in California
If you do not appear before the court for sentencing, then you will be brought before the judge who issued your warrant (or the judge currently sitting in that position) without any opportunity to bail to be set by an out of county judge where you are initially arrested.
In fact, California Penal Code 1197 includes a blank copy of a bench warrant that may be issued if a defendant fails to appear for judgment or sentencing. The form specifically provides that the arresting officer is commanded to arrest the defendant and to bring him/her directly to the issuing judge.
Time Limits for Serving a Bench Warrant in California
Under California law, a bench warrant and an arrest warrant must normally be served within a reasonable amount of time after it is issued. If the warrant is not served in a timely manner, then your right to a speedy trial might be implicated which could entitled you to a dismissal of the charges if the proper motion is filed and litigated. For example, in People v. Mitchell, 8 Cal.3d 164, 167 (1972), in a case in Marin County, California, no effort was made to bring the defendant to trial for more than a year after the bench warrant was issued. Since the defendant reasonably relied on assurances given to him that the Marin County charges had been dismissed, the defendant could show prejudiced by the delay in being brought to trial and the prosecuted failed to show good cause for the delay.
When the Warrant Must be Served under California Law
In general, bench warrants are served in the same manner as arrest warrants which usually means at any time. See California Penal Code 978.5(b) specifically provides that: “The bench warrant may be served in any county in the same manner as a warrant of arrest.”
When a misdemeanor warrant is served, however, it may only be served between absent “good cause.”
California Penal Code 840 provides that “An arrest for the commission of a felony may be made on any day and at any time of the day or night. An arrest for the commission of a misdemeanor or an infraction cannot be made between the hours of 10 o’clock p.m. of any day and 6 o’clock a.m. of the succeeding day, unless:
(1) The arrest is made without a warrant pursuant to [California Penal Code] Section 836 or 837.
(2) The arrest is made in a public place.
(3) The arrest is made when the person is in custody pursuant to another lawful arrest.
(4) The arrest is made pursuant to a warrant which, for good cause shown, directs that it may be served at any time of the day or night.”
A showing of “good cause can include a finding that there is a basis for believing that the nighttime intrusion would be justified based on exigent circumstances. For example, in People v. Ramirez, 202 Cal.App.3d 425, 427 (1988), the court found that the in “related context of nighttime search warrants”
California law defines the good cause rule as requiring “‘only some factual basis for a prudent conclusion that the greater intrusiveness of a nighttime search is justified by the exigencies of the situation….” Having a large number of warrants and disobey the court process on number occasions might permit a judge to allow the officers to serve your bench warrant in the middle of the night.
Finding an Attorney for Arrest Warrants in San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California
If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest in California, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. We represent clients throughout the the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.
We represent clients with a warrant issued for a new felony or misdemeanor case, a violation of probation, or a failure to appear in court. Call us today to discuss any outstanding warrant or capias. We also represent clients charged with the failure to appear in court or bail jumping.