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.

Articles Posted in Outstanding Warrants

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense, but it’s a criminal offense nonetheless. As such, a misdemeanor conviction may result in hefty fines, jail time, and a criminal record. Facing a misdemeanor charge can be scary, especially when it originates somewhere other than your home state. If you were charged in MA but you live in another state, what do you do? Read on for more information about what to do, and what not t to do if you are facing an out of state misdemeanor charge.

Ignorance is Not Bliss

For starters, don’t ignore the charge. The criminal justice system will catch up with you eventually, and ignoring a criminal charge is the best way to ensure a conviction and additional charges. A MA criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been arrested in MA but live out of state.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face serious penalties. Misdemeanors includes crimes such as simple assault, petty theft, and some OUI offenses. If you are being charged with a misdemeanor offense, you may be facing the following penalties:

  • Jail You can face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor offense.
  • Misdemeanor crimes carry fines from $50 all the way to $2,000 or more.
  • If your crime involved property damage or resulted in a loss of money for the victim, you may have to pay restitution to cover those damages.
  • Some misdemeanors include probation as an alternative, or in addition to, jail time.

Learn from Tom’s Mistake

Consider the following scenario, for example: Tom gets arrested for simple assault while on vacation in Boston. He was drunk and got into a bar fight. Tom spends the night in jail, and is released the next day. Tom is scheduled to appear in court in Boston, but he heads home to Oregon and vows never to return to the Bay State.

Not so fast, Tom. If you try to evade out of state charges, you’ll likely face additional penalties in the future. Even if you never return to MA, a simple traffic stop in your home state could reveal an out of state warrant, unleashing a snowball of consequences that generally far outweighs the penalties of your original offense.

You Need a Local Lawyer

But there are legal steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the cost of travel if you live far from the state in which you were arrested. For starters, you should hire a local lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid returning to the state where you were arrested. Courts often allow the defense attorney to appear on behalf of the defendant. A skilled Boston defense attorney can help you protect your rights and reduce your travel expenses if you’ve been charged for an out of state misdemeanor in MA. Continue reading

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