Bench Warrants in Arizona

hands in cuffs - bench warrants in arizona

Bench Warrants in Arizona

Failure to appear has serious consequences. If you are ever charged with a crime in Arizona, you will be given a court date for a hearing where your lawyer can plead your case. If you fail to appear for your court date, the judge will issue a bench warrant. Bench warrants act like arrest warrants, but they have even harsher consequences if you ignore them. 

In this reference guide, we will explain how Arizona defines bench warrants, how to know if you are named in a bench warrant, and what to do if there is a bench warrant out for your arrest. 

What Is a Bench Warrant? 

Out of the three types of warrants in Arizona, two of them permit law enforcement to take a person into custody. An arrest warrant is issued after an investigation, and a bench warrant is issued after a missed court date. 

After it has been signed, a bench warrant acts much like an arrest warrant. Law enforcement has the right to seek the offender at their home, place of work, or even at the homes of their friends and family. 

What Are the Consequences of Ignoring a Bench Warrant?

Bench warrants issued for failure to appear in court have harsh consequences if you ignore them. 

  • Failure to appear in the 1st degree:

If you fail to appear for a felony charge hearing, you can be charged with an additional class 5 felony. The punishment can be fines and extra prison time. 

  • Failure to appear in the 2nd degree: 

Failing to appear for a misdemeanor hearing means you could be charged with a class one misdemeanor. The consequences of failure to appear include fines, along with additional time in jail.

How to Find Out If There Is a Bench Warrant Issued in Your Name

If there is a warrant out for your arrest or for failure to appear, you won’t get any notifications. However, warrants are public record in Arizona. To find out if you have a bench warrant, you can check online, call the police department, or inquire in person. 

  • Online search: Arizona’s Judicial Branch runs an online portal where you can search through public records.
  • Phone call: A quick call to your local police department will give you the same information as the online portal.
  • Going in person: If you have a bench warrant in your name, showing up to ask about it is a risky thing to do. Essentially you are turning yourself in if you do. 

What to Do About a Bench Warrant 

Bench warrants do not expire, so sitting on the warrant will not help you in the long run. The longer you wait to turn yourself in, the worse the consequences will be. Oftentimes, missing your court date means there will be no leniency in sentencing for a guilty verdict. You will also be facing additional charges for failure to appear. Contacting a lawyer right away will help you deal with the fallout of missing your court date. 

If You Have a Bench Warrant, You Need a Lawyer

Missing a court date always hurts your case, but a certified criminal defense attorney can help you secure the best outcome. With over 25 years of experience in the Arizona courts, Todd Coolidge will help protect your rights and defend you against the charges you’re facing. If there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, contact us today for a consultation.



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