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How Long Do You Stay In Jail For A Bench Warrant?

How Long Do You Stay In Jail For A Bench Warrant? – If you are booked into custody on a bench warrant, you will remain in jail until a hearing is scheduled on a motion to lift the bench warrant, which could take weeks or even months depending on your location and the circumstances. This is often several months.

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is a legal document delivered by a judge that allows the arrest and detention of a person who neglects to appear for a scheduled court date or otherwise refuses to comply with a court order. It derives its name from the elevated desk where the judge sits in a courtroom, and often, the phrase “the bench” refers to the judges themselves.

Bench Warrant Issue

A bench warrant is issued when a person is found in contempt, meaning their failure to show up, pay their fines, or comply with a court order has interfered with official proceedings. After the judge signs the prepared paperwork and it is filed, the warrant becomes active, and law enforcement receives notification through their computer systems. Ignoring an active bench warrant can lead to a suspended license, additional penalties, fines, and potentially jail time.

Bench Warrant Features

It was issued in both criminal and civil cases.

It is commonly issued when people have failed to appear in court, have not paid child support, have overdue fines, or when people on probation violate the conditions of their probation.

Has no statute of limitations. Setting an expiration date would encourage people to avoid dealing with the court until the bench warrant expires.

Clearing a bench warrant requires the person to turn themselves in court and address why they were found in contempt.

Ignoring a bench warrant results in arrest, a suspended license, additional charges, fines, and even jail time.

Bench Warrant Examples

Laura was caught shoplifting at a local store. It was just a few things. Still, she was stopped by store employees, and the police were called. Since it was her first time, the officer wrote her a citation with a court date. Embarrassed and flustered, she shoved the citation into the bottom of her purse and put it out of her mind. Months later, Laura was driving and missed a stop sign. A police officer saw it and pulled her over, running her driver’s license and discovering she had a bench warrant for weakening to appear. He arrested her and took her to jail, where, unable to pay the bail, she waited to go before a judge and explain what happened.


A bench warrant is a legal order that allows for the arrest and jailing of a person for failure to appear in court for a hearing or neglecting to adhere to a court order. It is issued by a judge when a person is in contempt and can be given for civil and criminal cases. Once the judge signs, it is recorded in a database that law enforcement can search. Compared to an arrest warrant, a bench warrant will not result in police actively looking for a person. Instead, they wait until they cross paths with them again.

A bench warrant has no decree of limitations and remains valid until a judge recalls it or the person is arrested and jailed for it. An active bench warrant can be cleared by the person immediately contacting the court to get instructions on how to turn themselves best in. After explaining why they missed the date or did not comply, they can speak with a judge or get another hearing set. The judge can recall and dismiss the warrant if the court accepts their explanation. If a bench warrant is ignored or not addressed, it results in an arrest, a suspended license, additional charges, and even jail time.



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