I Missed my Maryland Court Date, and now I have a Bench Warrant! Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Yes, an attorney can help you immensely in this situation. In addition to providing you with representation on your criminal or traffic case, an attorney can possibly get the warrant removed or otherwise improve the situation so that you do not spend time in jail prior to getting a new court date.

What is a bench warrant?
A bench warrant is a warrant issued by a judge (hence the term “bench”). The most common reason a bench warrant is in place is for failure to appear for a court date. If a defendant misses a court date for a criminal case or a traffic case that carries a maximum penalty of jail without a valid emergency (such as being in the hospital), the judge will in all likelihood issue a bench warrant. This warrant gives the police the authority to arrest the defendant and have that person transported back to the jurisdiction of the court, where the judge will then reset/revoke/revisit bail, or in extreme circumstances, hold the defendant in jail pending a new court date. A defendant will not be able to get a new court date while an outstanding bench warrant exists in that case.

Speak with an attorney about removing your bench warrant
Maybe you forgot you had court that day or moved and didn’t receive notice of your court date in the mail. Whatever the reason, an attorney can help explain it to the judge. That attorney can file with the court a motion to recall or quash the bench warrant and ask that the case be set in for a new court date. I have successfully accomplished this for a number of clients in the past. Instead of walking around with a warrant and their cases stuck in limbo those clients have been able to rest easy and prepare for their day in court.

Sometimes an attorney cannot successfully recall the warrant. If that is the case, the attorney can still help you with the process of turning yourself in; arranging where to go, the best time to go, arranging a preset bond if possible, and providing representation in front of a commissioner or judge for a bail review hearing if necessary are all steps a lawyer can take to assist you.

Have an outstanding bench warrant? Think you might have one? Give the Law Offices of Christopher L. Peretti a call at 301-875-3472 and we can help you out. We will be happy to consult you regarding your case and also see if we can recall the bench warrant and get you a new court date without turning yourself in.

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