Hearing the phrase, “There is a warrant out for your arrest” sounds terrifying and intimidating and straight out of a movie. The legal process is complicated, but understanding your legal situation is critical. One of the critical pieces to know is what is a bench warrant vs. arrest warrant.

All warrants are not created equal, but they all demand your attention. If you are in legal trouble that has you in jail, call Gibson Bail Bonds. We help our clients make bail so that they can get back home soon.


Bench Warrant vs. Arrest Warrant

Gibson Bail Bonds Bench Difference in Warrant Vs Arrest Warrant

At its basic definition, a warrant is a justification for something. Legal warrants take many shapes:

  • Search
  • Arrest
  • Failure-to-Appear
  • Bench
  • Witness

Two of the most common warrants are bench and arrest, but most people do not know what makes these different. Let’s take a look.


Arrest Warrant

Arrest warrants come into play in criminal cases. If a judge believes a person has committed a crime, he or she can issue an arrest warrant. With this document in hand, police can then place that person under arrest. Typically, the police have to provide the judge with sufficient evidence for them to agree to issue the warrant. 

This action is not something judges take lightly. After all, our legal system says that you are innocent until proven guilty. The police cannot get a warrant on a hunch. They need to have some definite proof for the judge and provide sworn statements about their evidence. With an arrest warrant, the police are free to follow through.

It is important to note that a judge can issue a warrant for any crime from misdemeanors on up. But in the case of a felony crime, police do not always need an arrest warrant. 

If they have probable cause that you committed the crime, all bets are off. For example, if they see you commit a crime, they do not need a judge’s order to arrest you. For a felony charge, the police do need a warrant to arrest you if you are in your home, however.


Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant. But the situation leading up to the issuing of the order is what matters. Unlike an arrest warrant, bench warrants can arise in both criminal and civil cases.

For this order, the judge is the originator of the process rather than the police. That is, it comes from the bench of the presiding judge. Bench warrants come about for a variety of reasons:

  • Failure to show up for a court date
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to respond to a subpoena
  • Failure to report for jury duty

The severity of the alleged crime usually determines how hard the police work to serve the bench warrant. Significant charges could result in the police actively hunting you down. Bench warrants for lesser crimes may go unserved until something else triggers it. 

For example, a routine traffic stop could end up resulting in an arrest. If a police officer stops you for speeding and then discovers there is a bench warrant out for you, it could be game over. You will likely be under arrest.


Do Not Take a Warrant Lightly

Whether it is a bench or arrest warrant, these orders are legal documents. No matter the alleged crime, you must take a warrant seriously. Ignoring court orders or subpoenas will never make an issue go away. Instead, you will open a bigger can of worms. This situation probably will lead to more legal trouble, higher fines, and possible jail time.

Be sure to secure legal help from an attorney and then proceed as required by law. The quicker you handle an issue, the sooner you can get back to living a free life.


Gibson Offers Bail Help

If you have a scenario that has escalated to an arrest, reach out to Gibson Bail Bonds. Our team can help you secure bail so that you don’t have to wait in jail any longer. Give us a call today.