What is the difference between a Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant in Massachusetts

Any type of Massachusetts warrant is a serious issue and needs dealt with immediately. However, not all warrants are the same. A bench warrant, for example, can be issued for something as simple as missing jury duty, whereas an arrest warrant is only issued in a criminal case.

Arrest Warrants

When a judge believes there is probable cause that you have committed a crime, he or she will likely issue an arrest warrant. This doesn’t mean you have been convicted of a crime, only that you are being charged. Facts obtained during a police investigation or witness testimony may convince a judge that issuing an arrest warrant is the next step in the process.

An arrest warrant will generate an active search for you, especially when you have been charged with a violent crime. Law enforcement can arrest you at any time and in any place. They can show up at your place of employment, your home, or anywhere you happen to be. Once you have been located and taken into custody, you will be detained in jail until a judge can arraign you, at which point the judge will either set bail or order that you remain in custody until trial. Arrest warrants can also be issued if you have been indicted for a crime by a grand jury. In any situation, if you have been notified of a warrant for your arrest, contact a Boston criminal defense attorney immediately. Attempting to dodge a warrant never results in a positive outcome, especially when it’s an arrest warrant.

Bench Warrants

An arrest warrant is only issued in criminal cases, but a bench warrant can be issued in both criminal and civil cases. Criminal bench warrants are issued if a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court date. Civil bench warrants can be issued for a variety of reasons, including failing to pay child support and not showing up for jury duty.

Due to the nature of bench warrants, law enforcement may not actively search for you. However, trying to avoid a bench warrant is never successful in the long-term. Many people wrongly assume that bench warrants will only come back to bite them if they get in further trouble with the law. But that is not the case at all. A minor traffic violation, such as failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, can result in your arrest if you have an outstanding bench warrant. Even a motor vehicle accident that is not your fault can get you arrested.

Proactively dealing with a bench warrant before law enforcement catches up to you will almost always result in a better outcome. If you have an outstanding warrant, it is in your best interest to contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today. A skilled attorney can help you get charges reduced or dismissed altogether, in the case of an arrest warrant, and can negotiate fines and additional costs in the case of a bench warrant. Furthermore, you can be held in jail, even when brought in on a bench warrant for a civil case, until you can satisfy the conditions set forth by the judge. With the help of a knowledgeable defense attorney, the chances of this happening are dramatically reduced.

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

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our experienced legal team has been defending the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than 50 years. We have an impressive track record of getting charges reduced or dismissed. Our talented defense team understands that even good people make mistakes. In many cases, jail time and devastating financial penalties do more damage than good. We treat each case as a unique situation, because no two cases are alike. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we will fight tirelessly to protect your reputation, your rights, and your freedom. If you have been charged with any type of crime, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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