About California Bench Warrants

About California Bench WarrantsBench Warrants Explained
By San Diego Warrant Attorneys

California law gives judges the authority to issue a Bench Warrant for Arrest under a myriad of reasons.  Once a warrant has issued it is entered in a database and you can be arrested in any California County.  In some cases, the bench warrant will be entered into a national warrant system (National Crime Information Center or NCIC) and the fugitive can be arrested in other states.

When Can a Bench Warrant Issue?

California Penal Code 978.5 gives a judge wide discretion when issuing a bench warrant.  These situations allow issuance of an arrest warrant when:

“(a) A bench warrant of arrest may be issued whenever a defendant fails to appear in court as required by law including, but not limited to, the following situations:

(1) If the defendant is ordered by a judge or magistrate to personally appear in court at a specific time and place.

(2) If the defendant is released from custody on bail and is ordered by a judge or magistrate, or other person authorized to accept bail, to personally appear in court at a specific time and place.

(3) If the defendant is released from custody on his own recognizance and promises to personally appear in court at a specific time and place.

(4) If the defendant is released from custody or arrest upon citation by a peace officer or other person authorized to issue citations and the defendant has signed a promise to personally appear in court at a specific time and place.

(5) If a defendant is authorized to appear by counsel and the court or magistrate orders that the defendant personally appear in court at a specific time and place.

(6) If an information or indictment has been filed in the superior court and the court has fixed the date and place for the defendant personally to appear for arraignment.

(b) The bench warrant may be served in any county in the same manner as a warrant of arrest.”

Types of Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is a judge ordered Warrant for Arrest and will be a Felony Warrant, Misdemeanor Warrant or Traffic Warrant depending on the underlying charge.

How to Clear a Bench Warrant

The only way to clear a San Diego Bench Warrant is to appear in court.  This either means that you and/or an attorney needs to schedule a court date (called a calendaring motion) and appear at that date and time.

Learn More …

If you have a Bench Warrant, contact us for a Free & Confidential Consultation by calling 619-649-2424.