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Bench Warrants in California DUI Cases

After a person is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, they are required to meet several conditions set forth by the court, some of which may include attending alcohol education classes, paying fines and other court fees, perform community service, attending AA meetings and a MADD victim impact panel, etc.

All of the above take time and money, so it’s conceivable why some DUI defendants may have difficulty logging in all of their community service, paying their court-ordered fines, or attending their alcohol education classes. There’s a catch though: if you fail to comply with all of the court’s orders, a judge can issue a “bench warrant” for your arrest.

What exactly is a bench warrant?

We’ve all heard the saying, “there’s a warrant for his arrest” and we know that can’t be good, but what exactly is a bench warrant? It’s a warrant that is issued from “the bench,” meaning it was issued by a judge.

Bench warrants are different than standard California arrest warrants, which are issued because of suspected criminal activity. Instead, bench warrants are issued because a defendant:

  • Failed to appear in court
  • Failed to pay a court-ordered fine
  • Failed to comply with a court order

If a DUI defendant does any of the above, then it is considered “contempt of court,” and it subjects the defendant to a bench warrant.

Having a bench warrant out in your name means that any of the following may occur: 1) a probation violation, 2) increased fines, 3) a driver’s license suspension, or 4) you are sentenced to jail or prison.

Bench warrants are scary, and they have a way of striking fear into even the calmest individuals. Many people in this situation will pick up the phone and call the court, and the friendly clerk on the other end of the line will tell them to come into court to get it sorted out.

Will you be arrested if you show up in court? If you’re terrified, it’s understandable. What should you do next?

Going to Court vs. Hiring an Attorney

You can be arrested if you go to court, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the bench warrant either. The best thing for you to do is retain an Orange County DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to appear on your behalf.

Having an attorney appear in your place may be more economical than paying for your bench warrant. Additionally, having a lawyer appear for you is advantageous because there’s no one to slap cuffs on.

If you’re looking for a 100% that you won’t be arrested in court, then your best bet is to have an attorney appear on your behalf and work out a reasonable solution.

Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free consultation!