How to Check for a Bench Warrant

By George Lawrence J.D.
Bench warrants authorize the police to arrest you and bring you before the judge who issued the warrant.

handcuffs three image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com

Judges in the United States possess the "power of contempt." This means that a judge can order a person to spend time in jail for failing to obey court orders or court dates. In a situation where an individual has failed to appear before a judge (such as for a preliminary examination in a criminal case or a child-support hearing), the judge can issue a bench warrant. A bench warrant is a judge's order to arrest a person and to bring that person before the court.

Contact your local police department or your attorney. Identify yourself and ask if a bench warrant has been issued against you. Alternatively, your attorney in a legal matter also will be given notice that a bench warrant has been issued against you; contact him or her and ask.

Check with any courts in which you are being sued or in which you have been called to appear. The clerk of the court can provide information about whether a judge in one of your cases has issued a bench warrant against you.

Use a commercial warrant search. Some websites, such as publicdatacenter.com, offer warrant searches on the Internet. These sites can provide you with information as to whether a bench warrant has been issued against you.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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