If a bench warrant is issued for your arrest, there are ways to remove it, but you will have to take certain steps first.
Bench warrants based on a failure to appear in court are handled differently depending on the jurisdiction that is handling your case. If a bench warrant is issued for your arrest because you failed to appear in court, you can resolve it before you are actually arrested. This is easiest when the Municipal Court has jurisdiction over your case. Although you can avoid jail time after a bench warrant is issued in the State or Superior Court, it is much more challenging. An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you remove a warrant so you avoid jail time.
What are Bench Warrants?
If you have received a ticket or citation for violating the law, you have a legal obligation to appear in court. A failure to appear order will be issued if you do not meet this legal obligation, and that can result in a bench warrant for your arrest.
Bench warrants are typically issued when someone fails to appear in court, when they do not pay a fine, or when they drive on a suspended driver’s license. If you do not appear in court for either a traffic citation or a criminal charge, not only will the court likely issue a bench warrant against you, but they will also suspend your driver’s license for a longer period of time.
Under O.C.G.A. Section 17-7-90, bench warrants in Georgia can be issued for an individual’s arrest when they fail to appear in court. These warrants are issued after:
- The person receives notice of an upcoming court date in open court
- A notice was mailed to the individual’s last known address and contains the court date, location, and time, or
- An individual has been notified of an upcoming court date personally from a court official or officer of the court in writing
Failure to appear suspensions are effective 28 calendar days after the Department of Driver Services receives notification of the person’s failure to appear.
Receiving a Failure to Appear Warrant
Failure to appear statuses remain in place until the applicable fines are paid and the matter is resolved before a judge. This is done during a failure to appear hearing. During the hearing, you will either have to pay a $100 fine for missing the initial court date, or you will have to appear before a judge. If you appear before a judge, they will consider any mitigating circumstances in your case, such as if you were in the hospital and could not appear.
If you only pay the fine, you will receive a Form 912 FTA Withdrawal, which will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Driving Services (DDS). You will also receive a Fail Safe letter, which states that your warrant has been removed. If you are stopped by law enforcement on your way to the DDS, you will have to show the Fail Safe letter to the police officer to prove you are legally allowed to drive.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Atlanta Can Help You Remove a Warrant
If you have a warrant out for your arrest, our Atlanta criminal defense lawyer at Ghanayem & Rayasam can help you remove it. Call us today at (404) 561-0202 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to obtain the sound legal advice you need.