A San Diego Bench Warrant is an order from a judge requiring a person to appear in court. The word “bench” is simply another word for judge. The phrase “bench warrant” and “arrest warrant” mean essentially the same thing. A warrant requires law enforcement to arrest the person, bring them to jail, and then bring them to appear before the judge at a fixed date and time.
Most warrants allow individuals subject to warrant to post bail on the warrant to ensure their appearance in court. The bail, however, may not be posted until the person is arrested or until the person is surrendered to court for the initial appearance on the warrant. This means that a felony offender would have to be arrested or personally present in court before the judge will allow bail to be posted.
The judge is free to adjust the amount of bail at the first appearance. Bench warrants in misdemeanor cases can usually be handled by an attorney without the defendant having to appear in court and without the defendant having to post bail.
Some types of warrants do not allow for the posting of bail. A judge would have discretion to set bail allowing for the person to be released upon the posting of bail, but the judge would not set bail until that person is brought to court.
There is a different procedure in place for each division of the San Diego Superior Court for attorneys handling bench warrants issued by San Diego County judges. In other words, each division handles the clearing of warrants differently. An experienced San Diego criminal lawyer can explain to you specifically how your warrant may be cleared. In all cases, of course, time is of the essence and clearing a warrant because a person subject to a warrant would obviously prefer not to be arrested on a warrant. The judges also favor criminal defendants who clear warrants against those that are brought to court in custody.
For more information on San Diego bench warrants, please search for warrants on the bottom footer on any page in our website, or contact us.