A judge can issue a bench warrant for you if you failed to appear for a scheduled court date. The subsequent warrant can result in you being arrested on the warrant if you are pulled over for a minor traffic violation. The warrant can also affect your ability to renew a driver's license or register a vehicle. The good news is that you can be proactive and take care of the warrant, or get it quashed, by following through with any payment or court appearances required by the local court.
Contact the local department of motor vehicles to check if there is a warrant out for your arrest, the type of warrant, and which court issued the warrant. The DMV will have the name of the court where the warrant originated. They will also be able to tell you if the warrant is a bond-warrant or a no-bond warrant. Calling the DMV is one way to get the information without putting yourself in jeopardy of being arrested. The local police station can also give you the information about the warrant over the phone.
Call the local court house or county court house where the warrant was issued and speak with the clerk of courts. Advise l the clerk that you would like to voluntarily come in and take care of the warrant. Ask what time the court opens and if the best day, date or time to come in and take care of it. Find out from the clerk what types of paperwork you may need to bring to the courthouse, including which types of payment they accept.
Pay the clerk of court at the courthouse any fines on a bond warrant. Depending on the court system in your area, that may be enough to quash the warrant. If there is not bond attached to the warrant because it is related to a violent crime, there will be no way to pay the bond to have it quashed. A court appearance will be required.
Consider hiring an attorney if the charges against you are criminal and not civil. Meet with a couple of different attorneys for free consultations, to determine how each one could help you, how much their services cost, and if you even need an attorney. Locate a local attorney using Lawyers.com or Lawyers.findlaw.com. The attorney can file a motion to have the warrant quashed, and can go to court for you.
Show up at the court house dressed in business-like attire. A dress, skirt or pants suit is appropriate for women and a dress shirt, tie and dress pants is appropriate for men. Go directly to the clerk of courts office who will sign you in and add your name to the day's docket.
Wait inside the court room or in the exterior waiting room, as instructed. Be prepared to sit down in a private room with the local district attorney who will discuss the charges with you.
Approach the judge when your name is called. The judge will make a determination of how to handle your case. The case may be postponed and you could be given a court date. The case may also be dismissed, depending on the severity of the charges and the age of the case. The judge may also issue a fine, which will cover court costs.