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Bench warrant, arrest warrant, 40508a warrant

Bench warrant, arrest warrant, 40508a warrant

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

If there is a warrant out for your arrest the best thing to do is take immediate action to clear it up. Not doing anything out of fear is not a good idea. Many times we can go to court for you and clear up the warrant without you having to appear in court at all.

Can I have a warrant without knowing?

Yes,  a warrant can be issued without notification.  If you have been cited for a misdemeanor and you do not go to court, the Judge or court will almost always issue a warrant for your arrest - and many times they do it without any notification at all. People usually find out about it the hard way, either by the police or a job background check.

The Law in California
VC 40508(a) - See: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=40508.

What's the difference between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant?

A bench warrant may be issued when you fail to adhere to the instructions of the court, or miss your scheduled court appearance. (The term ‘bench warrant’ originates from not taking a seat on the bench in front of the judge.)

An arrest warrant can be issued where the judge considers that a criminal offense has been committed.

Bench Warrant

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 basically 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.

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 a bench warrant for your arrest. (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

Bench Warrants can present problems for you if you are pulled over by the police and while checking your record they see a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant allows the police to handcuff you and take you to jail to hold you in jail until you are taken to see the Judge at the courthouse who issued the bench warrant for your arrest.

We can help with your bench warrant

If there is a bench warrant issued for your arrest please contact us immediately so that we can help you get this warrant recalled. We specialize in helping people with their bench warrants.

Arrest Warrant

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.

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:-

  1. The underlying offense is a misdemeanor or felony
  2. The offense relates to an equipment violation, a towing or loading violation, or overweight or oversized violation
  3. The driver has no driver's license
  4. The driver has other pending failures to appear.
In summary, if you miss your court date and one of the above 4 things applies to you, you risk a warrant for your arrest being issued by the court.
 If there is an Arrest Warrant or Bench Warrant or Failure to Appear Warrant out for you in Los Angeles County please call us so we can help you get this warrant removed from the system and help remove any risks of you being taken to jail for your bench warrant or arrest warrant.

Call immediately to speak with a Traffic Ticket Attorney (310) 285-1516. We can help clear the warrant for your arrest in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Warrant Search

warrant search

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

los angeles warrant searchThe 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 Traffic Attorney and we can try to help you find out if there is a warrant for your arrest in a Los Angeles county courthouse.

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 out of Los Angeles County. Go to the Los Angeles Superior Court website:-

traffic ticket search

Traffic Ticket Search

- 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.

Please keep in mind you still may have a bench warrant or an arrest warrant even if this court website does not show one for you - so don't rely completely on this website. It only shows traffic-related warrants and sometimes fails to show warrants you may have.

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. If you have prior Driving on a suspended license convictions you may face increased punishment.

If the status of your ticket is arrest warrant or bench warrant we can help you clear up these traffic warrants and then help you fight the misdemeanor charges, fines and any DMV points you are facing. Please call us at 310-258-1516 to discuss.

Will a warrant show up at the DMV?

It is important to check the COURT computer!

NOTE: Many times arrest warrants and bench warrants do NOT show up on your California DMV driver's license record. You can still have a warrant for your arrest even if you are able to renew your license or the DMV computer shows your license is clear of traffic tickets. That is why it is so important to check the court computer to see if there is a warrant for your arrest. The Department of Motor Vehicles and the courts have independent computer systems. The DMV computer may not show the bench warrant or arrest warrant or 40508a warrant.

Warrant FAQs


Click on each blue title to expand:-

What is a bench warrant?

How you get a Failure to Appear Warrant - FTA 40508a

What's the difference between Infractions and Misdemeanors?

Do I face jail-time for a misdemeanor?

Will I go to jail because of my warrant?

I have a warrant but I live out-of-state or out-of-town

I have a Probation Violation Warrant

Will I be arrested if I go to the courthouse with a bench warrant?

Can you go to court with me to protect me?

Warrant Attorney - we can help

We can help clear your arrest warrant or bench warrant or 40508a warrant
We will do everything possible  to keep you out of Los Angeles County jail.

Call us for a free legal consultation with a Los Angeles Warrant Attorney to discuss your options (310) 285-1516.

This website has been created by the Law Office of Pardoe & Associates, Traffic Ticket Attorneys in Los Angeles. We help with traffic ticket problems in Los Angeles County, including driver's license problems, DUI, GC Services, warrants, court appearances & more. Call us at (310) 285-1516 for a free legal consultation.

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Telephone: (310) 285-1516