A bench warrant is typically issued when a person fails to comply with a court order, often for a failure to appear at a scheduled court date. Unlike arrest warrants, the court does not have to be asked to issue a bench warrant and can issue one on its own volition. There are various ways in which you can find out if you have a bench warrant in Washington State. A bench warrant is not something you should take lightly. Bench warrants do not expire or go away unless you appear before the court that issued the warrant.
Review any court documents. If you received court documents, even if they do not contain information about a bench warrant, the document will name the court that has jurisdiction over the case. You’ll need this information to determine if you have a bench warrant. Also, courts usually mail a notice that a bench warrant has been issued. Check your mail regularly for any such notices.
Contact your local sheriff or police department. Law enforcement is notified whenever a bench warrant is issued and is responsible for bringing the defendant before the court. You can contact your local law enforcement agency and ask it to see if you have a bench warrant out against you. Doing this can result in your arrest, so talk to an attorney before you contact law enforcement.
Contact the courthouse clerk’s office. Each courthouse in Washington has a clerk that maintains court documents and information. Ask to speak to the clerk of the court, the clerk of the criminal court or other representative that maintains records of bench warrants. You will have to contact the correct courthouse, which could be a municipal or district court, depending on who issued the warrant. See References for a list of Washington courthouses by county.
Contact an attorney. Talk to a criminal defense attorney in Washington for assistance if you have, or believe you have, a bench warrant out in the state.
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