Do you have reason to believe there is a warrant out for your
arrest in Denton or anywhere else in Denton County? If so, do you understand the
difference between traditional arrest warrants and bench warrants?
Arrest warrants and bench warrants are not exactly the same; however, their
functions are nearly identical. The main differences between arrest warrants
and bench warrants is how they are initiated and by whom.
First, let’s take a look at bench warrants, which are initiated by
a judge. Typically, a criminal defendant fails to show up for a court
hearing and in effect the judge issues a warrant for their arrest. In
other words, the defendant failed to appear in court and the judge issued
a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
Once a bench warrant is issued by a judge, it functions like any other
arrest warrant. So, if you’re pulled over for speeding or rolling
through a stop sign, the police officer will run your driver’s license
information, find out about the warrant, and arrest you right then and there.
Next, you’ll be brought before a judge to explain why you failed
to appear in court. What happens from there depends on the specifics of
your case, why you didn’t show up in court, and the judge’s
mood that day.
How Traditional Arrest Warrants are Different
Instead of being initiated by judges, traditional arrest warrants are initiated
by police officers. In many, but not all situations, police officers have
to get a judge to sign an arrest warrant before they can make an arrest.
Like we mentioned earlier, police officers are not legally required to
obtain arrest warrants in all cases. If an officer responds to a 911 call
and he discovers that a husband was beating his wife in a parking lot
and there were several witnesses, by all means the officer can make an arrest.
If a crime is committed in the officer’s presence, he or she can
make an arrest. Or, if a suspect is in a suspicious location shortly after
a crime occurs and the officer has reason to believe the suspect is guilty,
the officer can make an arrest.
In other situations – an officer may be investigating a case and
gathering evidence against a suspect. This may have occurred over weeks
or even months after the crime was committed. Perhaps a “tip”
from the public led the officer to a suspect. In these cases, the officer
may need to provide evidence to a judge and ask the judge to sign off
on an arrest warrant.
If the judge is convinced, the officer is free to go arrest the suspect
with the signed warrant in hand. Often, police officers will show up at
the suspect’s house between 3 and 5 am, when most people are dead
asleep, and have their guard down.
If you believe there is a warrant for your arrest in Denton,
contact our firm for a free case evaluation with Attorney Adame!