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Do I Need a Criminal Attorney for a Bench Warrant in Maryland?

Courts issue bench warrants when circumstances necessitate it. They are common in Maryland courts when someone misses a court date. In these cases, the judge will issue a bench warrant that instructs law enforcement officers to hold or arrest the individual if he or she fails to obey an issued court order or failed to appear. Court dates that people often miss involve “must appear” traffic citations. Other criminal charges could turn into a bench warrant if you fail to show up for your court date, as well.

How People are Caught on a Bench Warrant

Some people will let a warrant go for years hoping they do not get caught. This is not a recommended method, as you could wind up in even more legal trouble. If you are stopped for a minor traffic violation and you have an outstanding warrant, it could become a nightmare. In addition, if you are stopped out of state, you could be held until the extradition process is completed.

Plus, why would you want to spend your life looking over your shoulder for the foreseeable future? It is better to handle the issue as soon as you are aware there is an outstanding bench warrant for your arrest.

Bench Warrant do Not Automatically Mean Jail Time

Rather than attempt to handle it on your own, retaining a Maryland criminal defense attorney is advisable. Not all bench warrants mean jail time, but there is a chance. There is no time limit on a bench warrant. It will stay in the system indefinitely — at least until a judge quashes it or a police officer arrests you.

You do not want to go before a judge or commissioner without an attorney in the case of a bench warrant. The court could deem you a flight risk since you failed to show for your prior hearing and order you to be held on bail or bond. If you do not pay, you would have to go to jail. If the court issues a $1,000 bail and you cannot pay the entire amount, you can have a bondsman put up the amount and you pay a portion of that. If you do not show up to court again, now you have violated the subsequent court appearance and you will owe the bondsman their money as well.

How a Maryland Criminal Attorney can Help with a Bench Warrant

Your attorney can file a motion to quash the bench warrant and offer an explanation as to why you missed the court date. You will need supporting documentation as well. Reasons can include a serious injury or illness that is documented; a spouse, parent, or child under your care who was seriously ill or injured; you were incarcerated on other charges; or other unforeseen circumstances that forced you to miss the appearance. If the court quashes the bench warrant, then they will set another court date for you to appear.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

If you need assistance with an outstanding bench warrant, contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Castro at 301-705-5137 today to schedule a consultation.