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Bench Warrant Attorney Utah - Salt Lake Criminal LawyerA Utah bench warrant or arrest warrant is an order from a judge to have a person arrested. If you have an outstanding bench warrant or arrest warrant, posting a bond through a bond company is just one of your options. An experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can help you find other less expensive ways to secure your release from jail. With the assistance of a good criminal attorney, the court may agree to recall the warrant, reduce the bail, release you on your own recognizance, or release you through a pretrial supervision program. Contacting a criminal attorney in Utah for assistance before you are arrested is critical to the process.
Why do Utah criminal court's issue bench warrants?In Utah criminal cases, bench warrants or arrest warrants are commonly issued when the case is first filed. While a judge usually has the option of issuing a summons instead, the issuance of a warrant is common. Bench warrants are also commonly issued if the defendant does not appear at a required court hearing (often referred to as a "failure to appear").
Utah criminal courts also may use issue a bench warrant if information is brought to the court's attention indicating that the defendant is not in compliance with a court order. In such circumstances, a court will issue an "order to show cause" requiring the defendant to show the judge why probation should not be revoked and the original sentence imposed. Arrest warrants are commonly issued in connection with orders to show cause.
What do I do if I find out that I have an outstanding Utah bench warrant?If you have an outstanding warrant, you have the option of posting bail or a bond, or appearing in court and requesting that the judge recall the warrant. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine which course of action is best for your circumstances.
Some Utah courts will allow you to schedule a court date to see the judge and ask to have the warrant recalled. Other courts will require you to appear on what is sometimes called a "walk-in" calendar. Either way, if you are going to ask the judge to recall the warrant, you should be prepared to give a good reason why the judge should do so.
If the warrant was issued when a new criminal case was filed, you should be prepared to convince the judge that you are not a flight risk, that you are not a risk to the community, and that you will appear for all scheduled court dates. A demonstration that you have strong local ties, a steady job, and a good history of appearing in court (if you have prior cases) can help.
If the warrant was issued for missing a court date, you will need to be prepared with a valid explanation for why you missed court. For example, if you claim that you missed court because you were sick or in the hospital, documentation from your doctor may help convince that judge that your explanation is legitimate.
If the warrant was issued for an alleged violation of probation, your situation will be somewhat more complicated. You will have to first address the outstanding warrant. But even if the warrant is recalled, you will still be left with an Order to Show Cause for the probation violation. Although it is usually not in your best interest to address all of the allegations on an order to show cause the first time you come to court on it, your situation can sometimes be helped if you have documentation of what you have done to comply with your probation conditions. (Note: If any of the allegations in an order to show cause involve new criminal charges or relate to the investigation of new criminal activity, it is critical that you speak to a defense attorney before you make any statements regarding those allegations. Any statements you make can be used against you both on the order to show cause and on the new case if charges are filed.)
What if the judge refuses to recall the warrant?If you are not able to convince the judge to recall the warrant, you have the choice of either posting bail in the full amount of the warrant, or working through a bond company. Most bond companies will charge you 10% of the bail amount, and may still require that you agree to a lien against property (such as your home). The 10% fee you pay is normally non-refundable.
How do I find an experienced criminal defense attorney in Utah?Before you make any decisions on how to deal with your outstanding warrant, you should talk to an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer to make sure that you are making the decision that will help your case the most.
Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah, and has handled thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases during his career. If you believe that you may have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, contact us now.