DUI Bench Warrant Lawyer

If you have been issued a DUI bench warrant in California, or if you have other questions regarding your DUI, it’s vital that you consult with a bench warrant lawyer right away. Here we discuss what a bench warrant is, the punishment for bench warrants related to sections of the California Penal Code and Vehicle Code, and why working with a bench warrant attorney can increase your likelihood of a favorable outcome.

What Is a Bench Warrant in California?

If you or a loved one have been issued a DUI bench warrant, you might have wondered, “What is a bench warrant?” Also sometimes known as a “body attachment,” a bench warrant is issued by “the bench,” AKA a judge.

A bench warrant is not an arrest warrant for criminal activity. Rather, it’s most often issued for one of three situations:

  • Failure to obey a court order
  • Failure to pay a fine
  • Failure to appear in court

A bench warrant for DUI, therefore, is related to failing to do one or more of the things listed above pertaining to a DUI (driving under the influence) case. This is considered contempt of court and may subject you to further penalties, in addition to those already on the table for a DUI.

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What Happens If I Go Directly to Court?

If you are issued a warrant and then go to court, what happens? The answer depends on the severity of your case. If you have a felony warrant, it is highly likely you will be arrested. This is why working with a bench warrant lawyer is so essential.

If yours is a misdemeanor case, the court may be more flexible in terms of how they handle your appearance. Again, working with a bench warrant lawyer is the smart move here, as they may be able to come up with a solution to resolve the warrant in your favor.

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What Are the Penalties for Failing to Appear (FTA)?

What does “failure to appear” mean? This is the term used when you are legally required to show up in court but you voluntarily do not do so. There are various sections of the California Penal Code and Vehicle Code devoted to failure to appear (FTA). As you can see, the code covers a wide range of situations, one or more of which may apply to your case.

Penal Code 1320 PC

This part of the code says it’s a crime to fail to show up in court if:

  • You have been released from custody on your own recognizance.
  • A court order requires you to appear in court.

If you have been charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor, an FTA can result in:

  • An additional misdemeanor charge, and
  • Up to six months of county jail time

If you have been charged with or convicted of a felony, failing to appear can be penalized by:

  • An additional felony charge, and
  • Up to three years of time in jail or the state prison system

Penal Code 1320.5 PC

This code refers to FTA when:

  • You have been released from custody on bail.
  • A court order mandates you appear in court.

A failure to appear related to this code is a felony. It is punishable by:

  • Up to three years of incarceration in the county jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000, or
  • Incarceration in the state prison for up to three years

Penal Code 853.7 PC

This section of penal code makes it a crime to willfully fail to appear when you have given a written promise that you will show up in court.

An FTA pertaining to this code is charged as a misdemeanor and punishable by:

  • County jail custody for up to six months, and/or
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Vehicle Code 40508 VC

This statute makes it a crime to:

  • Fail to appear in court as promised for a traffic ticket
  • Following a ticket, fail to pay bail

This is charged as a misdemeanor, even if the original traffic ticket was merely an infraction. Violators are subject to:

  • Up to six months’ time in the county jail, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $1,000

You may also be subject to losing your driving privileges for up to 30 days.

Vehicle Code 40509.5 VC

This part of the California Vehicle Code allows for additional penalties for people who violate Vehicle Code 40508 VC (above). It allows the DMV to put a hold on your license until you appear in court or pay your fine.

How Can a Bench Warrant Lawyer in California Help?

There are multiple reasons why working with a bench warrant lawyer is the wisest decision you can make when you have been issued a bench warrant. First, it shows the court you take the warrant seriously and are working to restore good standing with the court.

You might be wondering, “Can a bench warrant be dropped?” This is another way a bench warrant attorney can assist you. It’s not easy to get a warrant removed, but an attorney will know if there is anything in your case that justifies this. An attorney may also help minimize the consequences for things like a bench warrant for DUI and drugs. You might be able to avoid being taken into custody.

What you don’t want to do is wait to be arrested. This can be embarrassing, and without an attorney present, you may say or do the wrong thing. Or your rights may be violated without you even realizing it.

How Do Bench Warrants Differ from Arrest Warrants?

An arrest warrant is issued when the law thinks you may have committed a crime. You probably won’t even know an arrest warrant has been issued.

A bench warrant, on the other hand, is issued when you fail to appear in court or answer a subpoena. This is the most common type of warrant issued in California. Remember, a bench warrant is not the same thing as an arrest warrant, but it’s still a serious matter.

What If the Police Violate Your Rights?

There are numerous ways your rights can be violated by law enforcement, but one of the most common is failure to be read your Miranda rights, named for the 1966 Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. If you are taken into police custody, law enforcement is required to inform you:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you.

If you were not read your Miranda rights when arrested, or if you think your rights have been violated in another way by police, you should speak to an attorney immediately.

When Should You Speak With a Bench Warrant Attorney in San Diego?

If you or a family member have been issued a bench warrant in the San Diego area, you should speak with a bench warrant lawyer right away. In addition to consulting an attorney for an FTA charge or FTA warrant, you may have questions about or need help with:

  • Bench warrant for DUI program
  • Bench warrant for penal or vehicle code violations (see above)
  • Removing a bench warrant
  • Reducing the severity of bench warrant punishment
  • Surrendering before arrest takes place
  • Violation of your rights

You might be worried about something like, “What happens if I get a bench warrant for not paying a DUI?” and we can help you with that scenario.

Ezquerro Is a Dedicated San Diego Bench Warrant Lawyer Here to Help You If You Are in Need!

If you or a loved one is facing a bench warrant, you don’t want to run out the clock. Ezquerro is an experienced bench warrant attorney that can assist you immediately. Call our law offices today at +1 619-485-8150, or set up a consultation online. Time is of the essence!

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