What Is a Body Attachment Warrant in Indiana?

Officer arresting a man
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A body attachment warrant is similar to an arrest warrant in criminal cases. It requires law enforcement officers to seize a person and bring him directly to the court that issued the warrant. Indiana body attachments are normally issued when someone has been ordered to testify in court, but missed the court date.

Understanding Body Attachment Warrants

Body attachment warrants are legal orders that direct the sheriff or assisting sheriff to arrest a person and hold him in custody until he can appear before the judge that issued the warrant. They are normally used in cases that are in trial or about to go to trial, where someone misses the court date and could be held in contempt of court. Body attachments are also used in child support cases where someone has violated a child support obligation.

Power of Arrest

A body attachment warrant allows the sheriff to wait outside the person's home or workplace and physically arrest her – the sheriff is not authorized to enter upon premises to carry out the warrant. The person isn't being arrested for a crime, however, so it's perhaps more accurate to think of a body attachment as a notice to bring the person before the court. The body attachment gives the subject of the warrant a second chance to go to court and explain why she did not appear.

Conditions of the Warrant

Under Indiana law, the body attachment warrant must fix an amount of bail. The sheriff may release a person being held on a body attachment warrant on bail just as in criminal matters, pending a hearing before the judge. If the warrant is issued because the person failed to pay child support, then the person can deposit an amount of money into escrow and be released immediately. The court will set the amount; generally, it covers the amount of delinquent child support the person owes.

Read More: What Is the Difference in a Warrant & a Bench Warrant?

Consequences of Body Attachment

Once arrested and brought before the judge, the person with the warrant must show good reasons for having violated the court-imposed obligation to appear in court or pay child support. If the judge believes that the person has willfully obstructed the business of the court, he has the discretion to hold that person in direct contempt of court. By Indiana law, contempt of court is punishable by sanctions ranging from judicial admonishment to fines or even imprisonment.