Failure to appear in court for a license violation will usually result in a warrant for your arrest (40508a Warrant).
On this page you will find:-
- The best way to handle a bench warrant or arrest warrant
- Los Angeles warrant search: how to check if you have a warrant
- The difference between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant
- Warrants and your drivers' license
- How you get a Failure to Appear Warrant - FTA 40508a
- The difference between Infractions and Misdemeanors
- Misdemeanors and jail-time
- Do you have a Probation Violation Warrant?
- Do you live out-of-state or out-of-town?
- Will I be arrested if I go to the courthouse with a bench warrant?
- Will I go to jail?
- We can go to court with you to protect you
The best way to handle a bench warrant or arrest warrant is to take immediate action
Can I have a warrant without knowing?
Yes, a bench warrant or arrest warrant can be issued without any notification to you. If you have been cited for a Misdemeanor or Felony and you do not go to court, the Judge or court will almost always issue a bench warrant or warrant for your arrest – and many times they do it without any notification to you at all. People usually find out about it the hard way, either by a police officer, letter or a job background check. The DMV does not notify you if you have a bench warrant or warrant out for your arrest.
The Law in California
VC 40508(a) - See: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH§ionNum=40508.
853.7 Penal Code Warrant - See https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN§ionNum=853.7.
What's the difference between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant?
A Bench Warrant is usually issued by a Judge when a defendant does not come to court on their court date. A Bench Warrant is an order from a Judge of the Superior Court directing any police officer or sheriff to arrest a person and bring him or her to the Los Angeles Superior Court. A Bench Warrant gives police officers the authority to arrest you and bring you to court because you failed to appear in court as required or you failed to follow court orders and you committed a probation violation.
A Bench Warrant will be entered into a computer database that will alert police officers and sheriffs of your warrant if you have any interaction with law enforcement. The bench warrant will most likely be entered into the Los Angeles County Wide Warrant System (CWS) by the courts. Entering a warrant into the County-Wide Warrant System usually causes the entry of the warrant into the California Department of Justice Wanted Persons system (WPS). The warrant may also be entered into the nationwide National Warrant System, and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). If you fail to come to court or you fail to do what the Judge ordered you to do and you committed a probation violation such as not paying the court fine, not doing the court-ordered DUI program, or failure to do the court-ordered community labor or community service, the Judge will most likely issue a bench warrant or a warrant for your arrest.
An arrest warrant can be issued by a Judge where the Judge considers that there is sufficient evidence that a criminal offense has been committed. This may be due to information gathered during a police investigation. While an individual subject to a bench warrant is usually arrested during contact with a police officer on another matter, an arrest warrant involving a serious charge may have the police go out looking for that person in order to arrest and take that person into custody.
A Bench warrant is usually issued by a Judge to bring a non-appearing person to court after they have missed their court date. This normally happens when you are supposed to come to court and you miss your court date and the Judge then issues a warrant for your arrest for your failure to appear. Bench warrants are normally only issued by a Judge if you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony and you do not appear in court on your scheduled court date. Bench warrants will also be issued by a Judge if you failed to do what the Judge ordered you to do and you committed a probation violation. Probation violations can result in a bench warrant for your arrest. A probation violation can occur if you did not pay a court-ordered fine, or you did not complete the court-ordered community labor or community service, or you did not complete a court-ordered program like a DUI class or you failed to complete anything the Judge ordered you to do by the due date.
If you fail to come court to handle your traffic ticket and one of the charges on your ticket is a misdemeanor such as driving on a suspended license (VC 14601.1), you risk having the judge issue an arrest warrant or bench warrant for your arrest if this matter is filed as a misdemeanor. (If you look on your ticket and the letter "M" is circled next to the violation that means you were ticketed for a misdemeanor.)
See also what is the difference between a misdemeanor and an infraction.
YOU CAN BE HANDCUFFED AND TAKEN TO JAIL BY THE POLICE FOR AN ACTIVE WARRANT
WE CAN HELP YOU SO THAT THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO YOU
Arrest Warrants, Bench Warrants, or any type of Warrant out for your arrest can present problems for you if you are pulled over by the police and while checking your record on the police computer they see a bench warrant or warrant out for your arrest. A bench warrant or arrest warrant allows the police to handcuff you and take you to jail and to hold you in jail until you are taken to see the Judge at the courthouse who issued the arrest warrant or bench warrant for your arrest. Typically you will be held in jail for 24 to 48 hours before you are brought to court to see a Judge about your case.
If a Police Officer pulls you over and sees that there is a bench warrant or warrant out for your arrest, the police officer will most likely do one of three things to you :
#1) A WARNING - You will get a verbal warning - the Police Officer will tell you there is a bench warrant or warrant out for your arrest and he will warn you need to take care of this warrant as soon as possible and he will let you go. If this happens to you, consider yourself very lucky. You should take immediate action to clear up your warrant because you might not be so lucky the next time you are pulled over by an officer. Please call Los Angeles Warrant Lawyer at 310-285-1516 who can help you clear up this warrant for you very quickly.
#2) YOU WILL BE GIVEN A CITE AND RELEASE TICKET - instead of taking you to jail, the police officer will cite you out which means the police officer will issue you a citation instead of arresting you (it's a citation release under Penal Code Section 853.6) . The police officer will give you a citation or ticket with an upcoming court date at a courthouse listed on the citation or ticket. Instead of being taken to jail the officer will be setting up a court date for you to go in front of the judge who issued the bench warrant, arrest warrant or warrant for your arrest. Consider yourself lucky if the police officer gave you a cite and release ticket instead of taking you to jail. If you received a cite and release ticket for your warrant, call an experienced warrant lawyer who can help you. We can usually go to your court date for you so you don't have to go. Please call us because the Judge will most likely not be happy about your failure to appear in court or your probation violation which resulted in the bench warrant or arrest warrant out for your arrest.
Sometimes Judges when they issue a bench warrant, arrest warrant or warrant out for your arrest because you failed to come to court and they see that you previously failed to appear in court before on a cite and release citation - this might cause the Judge to then issue another bench warrant for your arrest and order a no cite and release which means the officer is to take you to jail instead of citing and releasing you.
#3) YOU WILL BE HANDCUFFED, ARRESTED AND TAKEN TO JAIL - the third and worst thing that can happen to you is the police officer will see that there is a bench warrant, or arrest warrant out for your arrest and he will then handcuff you and take you directly to jail. You will then have two options while you are in jail waiting to see the Judge - you can post the court ordered bail to get out of custody or you can wait to see the Judge which might take a few days.
When the Judge issues a bench warrant or warrant for your arrest the Judge will typically attach a bail amount to the warrant. For example, the Judge may issue a bench warrant for your failure to appear in court on your case setting a bail of $30,000. The Judge has discretion along with the bail schedule to set the bail amount. Bail allows someone to be released from jail on the posting of a bond, cash deposit, or or other security deemed necessary to guarantee your appearance in court. This means if you are taken to jail you have the right to post bail to get out of jail. Keep in mind even if you post bail you will be given a future court date requiring you to go to court to see the Judge. Deputies from Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department will normally cite and release people with bench warrants and arrest warrants if the bail is under $26,000. If the bail on the bench warrant or arrest is warrant is $26,000 or higher deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department are more likely to take you to jail. The higher the bail the more likely you are to be handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail for an outstanding bench warrant or arrest warrant. A no bail warrant means the Judge has ordered that you are not allowed to post bail in order to get out of jail.
We can help with your bench warrant
If there is a bench warrant issued for your arrest please contact us immediately so that we as experienced warrant lawyers can help you get this warrant recalled. We specialize in helping people with any type of warrant, including bench warrants, arrest warrants or 853.7 Penal Code Warrants. If you call us we will find out why there is a bench warrant, arrest warrant, 853.7 Penal Code Warrant out for your arrest and what is the best way to do to clear up the warrant for your arrest as fast as possible and to protect you so that you do not go to jail.
An arrest warrant is very similar to a bench warrant in that it can be issued by a Judge or obtained by the police. An arrest warrant is essentially an order to arrest a particular person and bring him or her before the issuing judge. Arrest warrants, just like bench warrants, allow the police to handcuff and take you to jail to be held until you are brought before the Judge.
PENAL CODE 853.7 WARRANT
Penal Code Section 853.7 states than "any person who willfully violates his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court is guilty of a misdemeanor, regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested." Oftentimes, 853.7 Penal Code Warrants are issued when people fail to go to court for misdemeanors for penal code violations such as Metro fare evasion tickets, trespassing tickets, etc.
THERE IS NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR BENCH WARRANTS OR ARREST WARRANTS
If the Judge issues a bench warrant or warrant for your arrest, the warrant will stay in the police computer warrant system until you take care of the warrant. Many people find out about warrants years after they were issued. Warrants stay active until they are cleared up and just because many years have passed by does not mean the bench warrant or arrest warrant goes away. These warrants remain in the police computer warrant system until they are cleared up. To clear up the warrant requires a court appearance in front of the Judge. We can help clear up bench warrants or warrants out for your arrest. We specialize in clearing up warrants please call Los Angeles Court Warrant lawyer at 310-285-1516 for help.
How you get an arrest warrant after a failure to appear
Under California Vehicle Code section 40509.5(e) an arrest warrant cannot be issued for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 40508(a) Failure to Appear unless one of the following applies:-
- The underlying offense is a misdemeanor or felony
- The alleged underlying offense is a violation of any provision of Division 12 (commencing with section 24000), Division 13 (commencing with Section 29000), or Division 15 (commencing with Section 35000), required to be reported pursuant to Section 1803
- The driver's record does not show that the defendant has a valid California driver's license
- The driver's record shows an unresolved charge that the defendant is in violation of his or her written promise to appear for one or more other alleged violations of the law.
Superior Court System
We clear up bench warrants and arrest warrants in all the following Los Angeles Superior Courts. If you have a warrant in any of the following courts please call us.
- Airport Court Warrant,
- Alhambra Court Warrant,
- Bellflower Court Warrant,
- Beverly Hills Court Warrant,
- Burbank Court Warrant,
- Chatsworth Court Warrant,
- Compton Court Warrant,
- Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center Warrant,
- Downey Court Warrant,
- East LA Court Warrant,
- El Monte Court Warrant,
- Glendale Court Warrant,
- Governor George Deukmejian Court Warrant,
- Long Beach Court Warrant,
- Inglewood Court Warrant
- Metropolitan Court Warrant,
- Pasadena Court Warrant,
- Pomona Court Warrant
- Newhall Court Warrant,
- Santa Clarita Court Warrant,
- San Fernando Court Warrant,
- Santa Monica Court Warrant,
- Torrance Court Warrant
- Van Nuys Court Warrant,
- West Covina Court Warrant
We specialize in clearing up warrants out of every Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.
Do I have a warrant?
Two methods for checking whether you have a warrant in Los Angeles. The first method is the best.
1. Courthouse warrant search
The best way to check to see if you have a bench warrant or arrest warrant or Failure to Appear warrant in Los Angeles County is to go the courthouse listed on your traffic ticket and go to BOTH the traffic clerk window and the criminal clerk window and have them run your name and date of birth through a warrant search on the court computer.
Unfortunately, because of budget cutbacks, it is very difficult to speak to someone by phone at Los Angeles county courthouses to see if you have a warrant for your arrest. If you like you can call us at (310) 285-1516 to speak with a Los Angeles Warrant Attorney and we can try to help you find out if there is a warrant for your arrest in a Los Angeles Superior Courts.
2. Los Angeles Superior Court website - warrant search
Sometimes a search on the Los Angeles Superior court website will show if you have a traffic-related arrest warrant or bench warrant or 853.7 Penal Code Warrant out of Los Angeles County. Go to the Los Angeles Superior Court website:-
- Select "Search by Drivers License" and enter your California driver's license number and date of birth. The court website will pull up the status of all of your traffic tickets in Los Angeles County.
Status of your ticket. If the status of your ticket says bench warrant or arrest warrant, that means you got a traffic ticket with a misdemeanor violation (most likely for driving on a suspended license VC 14601.1 or for driving without a California License VC 12500 or driving on an expired California driver's license VC 12500) and you did not go to court.
Driving on a Suspended License (VC 14601.1) is a misdemeanor charge and a serious violation because it can put 2 points on your license which can really affect your insurance rates. Four DMV points in a 12-month period can result in a 6-month license suspension. If you have prior Driving on a Suspended License convictions you may face increased punishment.
Will a warrant show up at the DMV?
It is important to check the COURT computer!
If you :-
- Get a ticket from a police officer for a misdemeanor such as :-- driving on a suspended license (vehicle code section 14601.1)- or driving without a California license (vehicle code section 12500)- or driving on an expired license (vehicle code section 12500)
- AND you do not appear in court ...
- then the judge has the power to issue a warrant for your arrest. This is called a bench warrant. A warrant is an order from the Judge to the police to arrest you and bring you to court for your failure to appear in court.
If you get a traffic ticket for a misdemeanor and you do not show up in court, a warrant for your arrest will be most likely be issued by the court. Under the law, misdemeanor punishment can include jail and that is why a failure to appear for a license violation - FTA Vehicle Code 40508a - will usually result in a warrant for your arrest.
Most traffic tickets you get are considered "infractions" which means you cannot go to jail for these violations. Infractions are not punishable by imprisonment in jail. The worst that can happen to you with an infraction is a fine and the DMV suspends your license for failing to appear or the DMV puts a hold on your license.
However if you get a ticket and the police officer circled M next to the violation written on your ticket, that means you were cited for a misdemeanor. Under the law, misdemeanor punishment can include jail. You cannot go to jail for an infraction but you can for a misdemeanor.
The most common misdemeanor violations for traffic tickets are for:-
- Driving on a suspended license because you have a failure to appear on your driver's license, (VC 14601.1)
- Living and driving in California but not having a California license (VC 12500)
- Having an expired California driver's license (VC 12500)
Failure to go to court when you get a ticket for a misdemeanor violation will result in either a bench warrant or an arrest warrant.
Read more about Infractions vs Misdemeanors
Avoid jail - clear up your warrant as fast as possible
Under the law, misdemeanor punishment can include jail and that is why if you fail to appear in court (FTA), a bench warrant or arrest warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Arrest Warrant or Bench Warrant out of state traffic ticket
If you live out-of-state (not in California), or out-of-town (a long distance from Los Angeles County), we can usually help you clear up your arrest warrant or bench warrant for license violations without you having to come back to court in Los Angeles.
Probation violation warrant
Call us immediately for a free legal consultation with an attorney as we have an excellent track record in obtaining alternatives to Los Angeles County Jail for probation violations (310) 285-1516.
Warrant Attorney - we can help
Call us for a free legal consultation with a Los Angeles Warrant Attorney to discuss your options (310) 285-1516.