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What Is a Bench Warrant?

An arrest warrant is usually issued when a court of law demands the presence of a person in order to stand before the charges brought against him or her. However, different arrest warrants exist to address the varying issues that are necessary to face in court. For example, a criminal arrest warrant is issued for a person who is suspected of having committed a criminal offense. Another type of arrest warrant exists that demands the presence of a person to appear before court for failing to comply with a court order. This type of arrest warrant is referred to as a bench warrant.

A bench warrant is issued in the same manner as any other arrest warrant. It provides law enforcement officers the authority to pick up the person who is the subject of the warrant, and take him or her under custody until the time he or she must appear before court. The purpose of issuing a bench warrant is to address those who are found to be guilty of contempt of court. This offense occurs when a person willfully disobeys a court order or requirement. Contempt of court can be achieved in numerous ways. One example is failing to respond to a jury summons. A judge is given the opportunity to issue a bench warrant to someone who does not respond to jury summons in order to make the person appear before court. However, the issuance of a bench warrant involves heavy paperwork, which may be a factor in a judge’s decision of whether to issue one.

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