A bench warrant is an order issued by a Judge for the arrest of an individual. If an individual has failed to appear in Court in either his own case or another case in which he has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness, the Judge may issue a bench warrant ordering their arrest. Also, a bench warrant may be ordered when a defendant does not pay his fines or comply with bail or probation conditions, or when the defendant picks up a new case while out on bond on another case. A bench warrant authorizes law enforcement to locate and arrest an individual, and bring them before the issuing judge to answer the charge of contempt.

If you have a warrant issued due to your failure to appear in a traffic matter, an OJW hold will be placed upon your license and your privilege to drive will therefore be suspended. Until the warrant is cleared in your case and an OJW fee is paid, and an OJW clearance letter sent to the DMV, you will be unable to reinstate your driving privileges and will face charges of driving under suspension if you are pulled over.

If there is a bench warrant for your arrest, you should consult with a defense attorney at your earliest convenience. A defense attorney may, in certain circumstances, be able to file a motion with the Court asking that the warrant be vacated and that a court appearance be set, thus negating the need for you to turn yourself in and go into custody. If you reside out of state, your attorney may be able to have your presence waived at any subsequent court appearances in the matter. In other circumstances, your presence may be required, but the presence of an attorney may assist in mitigating your situation upon your appearance and possibly vacating the warrant at that time without the inconvenience of an arrest.