Difference Between

What is the Difference Between a Bench Warrant and an Arrest Warrant?

The complexity of the legal system can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to understanding the differences between terms that may seem similar on the surface. Two such terms are bench warrant and arrest warrant. In this article, we will delve into these two concepts and highlight the distinctions between them, helping you grasp the nuances and be better prepared in case you or someone you know is faced with either scenario.

The Basics: Defining Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is an order issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement officials to take a person into custody. It’s called a “bench” warrant because it originates from the judge’s bench, as opposed to an arrest warrant that is typically initiated by law enforcement. Bench warrants are usually issued for minor offenses, such as forgetting to appear in court or not paying a fine. They can also be issued for violations of probation or parole.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is an order that authorizes law enforcement officials to arrest a person in connection with criminal activity. The warrant must include the name of the accused, the crime they are charged with, and other relevant information. Unlike bench warrants, arrest warrants can be issued for serious crimes such as murder or rape.

The Process: How Warrants Are Executed

Bench Warrant

In the case of a bench warrant, law enforcement agencies generally don’t actively search the person named on the warrant. Instead, the warrant is entered into a database, and if the individual has any future encounters with law enforcement, such as during a routine traffic stop, the bench warrant will be discovered. When the individual is apprehended, they may be detained or required to post a bond to ensure their appearance in court.

Arrest Warrant

When an arrest warrant is issued, law enforcement officers are more proactive in searching for and apprehending the suspect. Officers can arrest the individual at their residence, at their workplace, or anywhere the suspect’s location is discovered. The level of urgency typically depends on the severity of the offense for which the warrant was issued.

Consequences and Legal Ramifications

Bench Warrant

Since bench warrants are for less serious offenses, the consequences may be less severe than those associated with arrest warrants. However, if you have an outstanding bench warrant, it’s important to seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal lawyer in Minneapolis, to prevent further complications or penalties.

Arrest Warrant

The consequences for an individual named on an arrest warrant can be much more severe, including potential jail time. If an arrest warrant is issued against you, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney to understand your rights and navigate the legal process.

To Sum Up

While these warrants might seem similar, the key differences between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant lie in their origin, the nature of the offenses involved, and the manner in which they are executed. Understanding these distinctions is essential in avoiding legal pitfalls and ensuring that you follow the appropriate course of action when faced with either scenario. Thank you for reading!