Monday, February 6, 2017

What does it mean to have a bench warrant in Maryland?

A common question we receive from potential clients is: "What is a bench warrant and what do I have to do to make it go away?"

In Maryland, you are made aware of the fact that you have an active bench warrant, that means that the police can arrest you on sight if they stop you and run your name in their system to see that you have an active warrant for your arrest. The most common reason that a bench warrant is issued by a judge is because a defendant has missed a required appearance in court. If you have a court date scheduled for a certain day and you do not appear, as soon as the judge calls your case and sees that you are not present, he/she will sign a bench warrant. This action then enters your name in the sheriff's database for all police officers to see. Therefore, if you are stopped by police for any reason and they run your name in their system, they will automatically see the active warrant and will arrest you. Many people think they can stay out of trouble with the police and choose to risk being arrested by doing nothing about their warrant. We do not recommend that, especially as police officers continue to use more advanced technology, such as the license plate readers that allow officers to scan hundreds of license plates in a minute.

If you have missed a court date and have an active bench warrant, don't just ignore it and risk being arrested. Make sure you hire an attorney as soon as possible and they can draft a motion to quash the warrant to help get you a new court date so that you can resolve your matter in court.

If you have an active arrest warrant in Maryland, call Portner & Shure for a free consultation and let us quash that warrant and help you resolve your matter and put it behind you. (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515

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