Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

What is the Difference Between a Bench Warrant and an Arrest Warrant?

Before we get into the differences between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant, it’s important to state a crucial similarity between the two – they should never be ignored. Knowing that the police are searching for you can be scary, but warrants don’t just go away on their own. And turning yourself in will result in a better outcome than if you force police to track you down. Further, turning yourself in will prevent the embarrassing scenario of being arrested at home or – even worse – at work. So, now that we’ve covered the importance of not ignoring any type of warrant, let’s discuss the differences between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant.

Bench Warrant

Bench warrants can be issued in civil and criminal cases. In criminal cases, they are typically issued if a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court date. In civil cases, they are often issued for witnesses who are being subpoenaed, as well as for individuals who fail to show up for their jury duty. Bench warrants may also be used in child support cases for parents who aren’t making their required monthly support payments. Generally, however, this only occurs when other efforts, such as wage garnishment, have been unsuccessful. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if a warrant has been issued against you.

When it comes to bench warrants, police rarely conduct an active search for the individual. However, if you are stopped for another reason, such as a minor traffic violation, the warrant will appear and you will be taken into custody. At this point, you will not only be defending yourself against the underlying offense or issue, you’ll have the added disadvantage of being viewed as someone who attempted to dodge the justice system. Being proactive and taking care of warrants immediately, whether criminal or civil, is always advisable.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant, on the other hand, is issued when there is probable cause that the individual has committed a crime. If law enforcement convinces the judge that you are responsible for a crime, the judge may issue an arrest warrant against you. A Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you have been charged with any type of crime.

The main difference between arrest and bench warrants is that, police will actively search you if an arrest warrant has been issued against you. This is especially true if you are wanted for a violent or serious crime. Law enforcement can show up at your home, place of employment, and anywhere else that you frequent. They will look for you and can arrest you anywhere. Even if you end up being found innocent, getting arrested at work or at home can be an emotionally traumatic and highly-embarrassing situation. Don’t let this type of scenario ruin your reputation; take care of arrest warrants before police come looking for you.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Criminal Defense Law Firm

If you are facing charges for any type of crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses for more than 50 years. It is our goal to keep you out of jail and to keep your reputation clean. We will analyze the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy, and we’ll remain by your side throughout the entire process. Our attorneys have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. If a bench warrant or arrest warrant has been issued against you, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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