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!