NJ Bench Warrant - Basics
An NJ bench warrant is a problem. If you have a bench warrant, this means you failed to comply with your court-ordered appearance. Getting a warrant will complicate your case & can be very expensive. Avoid getting an NJ bench warrant at all costs.
A few reasons for Getting a NJ bench warrant
NJ bench warrants empower judges. Courts use this tool to enforce your legal obligations. The majority of people ordered to appear in court comply with this order. Depending on where you are in your matter, the court will order you to appear for different reasons.
For example, you may order to appear for a “first appearance”. First appearances are uneventful. The court is required to inform you of the criminal charges against you & notify you of your constitutional right to counsel. Call us to see how we can help you.
Courts get frustrated when defendants don’t show up for their first, second, or third appearance. The message is clear: you have no respect for the legal system & you do not intend to resolve your legal problems.
Other situations involving NJ bench warrants arise when a case has ended. Perhaps you lost your Simple Assault trial and the judge imposed fines & did not incarcerate you. You asked for a payment plan and the judge granted your request. Your appearance in court was no longer required but you failed to honor your payment plan.
The judge gets a report of all outstanding fines and issues notices for people to appear in court. When people fail to appear or fail to pay their fines, an NJ bench warrant is issued.
Other reasons for issuing bench warrants include:
- Your agreement to pay traffic fines
- Your agreement to pay criminal fines
- Your agreement to pay ordinance fines
- Your agreement to pay child support
- Your agreement to comply with probation
- Your agreement to show up for court
Is a NJ bench Warrant really that bad?
An NJ bench warrant is serious.
Aside from getting on a judge’s bad side, you risk a surprise arrest & incarceration.
For example, once a judge issues a NJ bench warrant, the police have a “standing order” to take you in. The police need not investigate anything. They will not ask questions because they are not investigating anything. Once they identify you as someone with an outstanding NJ bench warrant, the handcuffs go on & you go to jail.
When judges issue bench warrants, it gets marked on your file. This NJ bench warrant now becomes a part of your record. Anytime you go to court, your file reflects all of your warrants. This leaves you with a bad reputation before every court you appear in.
The fancy legal term for this is a scofflaw. It means a person who has no respect for the law. If you get a “scofflaw” reputation, judges favor keeping you incarcerated.
Judges also have the power to suspend your driver’s license. Your license loss will prevent you from working & having a social life. Worse, restoring your license is an expensive nightmare.
Getting an NJ bench warrant will also result in:
- Parole or probation violation
- Rejection from any diversionary program
- More criminal charges
Clients complain that the worst part of getting a NJ bench warrant is feeling paranoid. There’s no worse feeling than living with a warrant hanging over your head. You are “looking over your shoulder” everywhere you go. It’s not worth it.
Do NJ Bench Warrants Expire?
NJ Bench warrants do not expire.
They stay in place until you get arrested or take responsibility and go to court. If you go to court, prepare yourself to explain your reasons for failing to comply with your legal obligations.
If you have a valid reason like hospitalization or funeral, you will need to provide proof.
Do Not lie about why you failed to appear in court.
This is the worst thing you can do. You will only make matters worse.
How to know if you have a NJ bench warrant
If you failed to appear (FTA) for your court appearance, you likely have a NJ bench warrant. To be certain, you can call the court administrator and ask.
This is not always a good idea. You might get nervous and lie about why you missed court. When you lie to the court, you further damage your case.
The best way to know if you have a NJ bench warrant is to have your attorney make the call.
How do i clear a NJ Bench warrant?
Your lawyer is most qualified to get your NJ bench warrant lifted. Do not attempt this on your own. A bad reason or a lie will make matters worse.
Courts will usually accept the following reasons to lift a warrant:
- Due Process Violations (insufficient notice)
- Attendance at a funeral (proof required)
- Hospitalization (proof required)
- Administrative error
Life happens and you have to deal with it. We understand that some problems go away if you ignore them. But this is not true for legal problems. When you fail to appear for your court appearance or fail to honor your payments, courts will issue an NJ bench warrant for you.
To live your life in a paranoid state because you have an NJ bench warrant issued in your name is no way to live. The consequences are severe & no benefit exists.
Your legal problems will persist & must get resolved sooner rather than later.
Call us today and let us help you lift your NJ bench warrant.