A bench warrant can interrupt your life unexpectedly. Something that should only be an insignificant frustration, like getting stopped for a minor traffic violation, can quickly turn into a major hassle if you find out that there’s a warrant for your arrest.

Bench warrants are a tool that the courts can use to ensure that their court orders have meaning. If you miss a court date or fail to comply with your probation, you may receive a bench warrant. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers explain bench warrants and what you can do if you receive one.

What Is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is a court order for someone’s arrest. It’s typically issued by the court when the court believes that someone hasn’t complied with an order. With the bench warrant, the police can take a person into custody. Bench warrants are a way that the courts exercise their authority to enforce their orders.

Judge Issues Bench Warrant

When there’s a bench warrant out for someone, there are several ways to respond, including posting bail to secure appearance or filing a motion to quash through an attorney. A bench warrant is a way to ensure that someone appears in court when they’re accused of violating a court order.

How to Quash Bench Warrants in Nevada

To quash a bench warrant in Nevada, file a Motion to Quash Bench Warrant with the court. You file the motion in the court with jurisdiction over the case. The court hears the motion, and unless there are extenuating circumstances, typically approves it.

You may still be arrested up until the point of the hearing. Alternatively, to quash a bench warrant in Nevada, you may post the amount of bail stated in the warrant with the court as security for your court appearance at a later time.

What Is the Difference Between a Warrant and a Bench Warrant?

The difference between a warrant and a bench warrant is that a warrant is for committing a crime, whereas a bench warrant is for failing to follow a court order. A warrant is an arrest warrant for a person who is accused of committing a crime. The police request the warrant to arrest the person so they can respond to the charges against them.

On the other hand, a bench warrant is issued directly by the court. It has to do with not following an order of the court such as an order to appear before a judge or pay a fine. Arrest warrants and bench warrants are different because they are issued for different purposes within the criminal justice system.

Reasons You May Get a Bench Warrant

Here are some reasons that someone might get a bench warrant:

  • Missing a payment of fines and costs
  • Not complying with an order for counseling or education courses
  • Non-compliance with a community service order
  • Ignoring a subpoena to testify in court
  • Failing to show up for jury duty
  • Failing to comply with any other term of probation

How Do Bench Warrants Work in the State of Nevada?

In the State of Nevada, a bench warrant is issued by a judge for a case that they oversee. If the judge believes that their court order hasn’t been complied with, they can call the person in to ask them why they haven’t complied. If the court finds that the person did not have a good excuse for failing to follow their court order, Nevada law 22.100 allows them to penalize the offender with a fine of up to $500 and 25 days in jail in addition to any other penalties like revoking probation and ordering jail time if there is an underlying charge.[1]

Issuing a bench warrant typically isn’t the court’s first choice. The court would rather have people appear without an arrest to talk about non-compliance with court orders. Following Nevada Revised Statutes 22.040, the court typically issues an order to show cause before issuing a bench warrant.[2] The show-cause order allows the person the opportunity to answer the allegations of contempt of court without facing arrest.

Nevada Revised Statutes 22.010; Nevada Bench Warrant Law

Nevada Revised Statutes 22.010 is the Nevada bench warrant law.[3] The law says that disobedience to a lawful court order is contempt of court. A violation of a court order is contempt of court under Nevada Revised Statutes 22.010, whether the violation occurs before or after trial. Nevada law 22.010 allows a court to issue a warrant if the court suspects that a person is in violation of a lawful court order.

Nevada Revised Statutes 22.030, Nevada Revised Statutes 22.090; Summary Judgment Contempt of Court; Due Process Rights

Under Nevada law 22.030, summary judgment for contempt of court is appropriate only if the court witnesses the contempt.[4] Under Nevada law 22.090, the court must hear the defendant’s answer for why they failed to comply with a court order.[5] The court must listen to witnesses and the person’s reasons for why they allegedly failed to follow the order. In doing so, the justice system must provide due process before issuing penalties for non-compliance.

How Do You Get a Warrant Quashed?

You get a warrant quashed in Nevada by filing a Motion to Quash Bench Warrant. Typically, your attorney files this motion on your behalf. When you file the motion, the court sets a hearing in 2-5 days. During that time, you may still be arrested by the police.

Most of the time, the courts agree to quash the warrant as long as they know that the defendant is going to appear to answer the allegations. Having an attorney is usually enough to convince the court that the person is serious about responding to the charges. However, in cases of felony charges, situations where the defendant has a history of failure to appear, or when the person has a significant criminal history, a motion to quash the bench warrant may not be enough. Sometimes, you may also need to post bail to resolve the warrant.

Contact Our Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers

Do you have an outstanding bench warrant? Our Nevada bench warrant attorneys can help. Call us today for a confidential consultation regarding your case.

Sources

[1] NRS 22.100

[2] NRS 22.040

[3] NRS 22.010

[4] NRS 22.030

[5] NRS 22.090

About the Author

Mark Coburn, Esq.

Mark Coburn is a dedicated and experienced defense attorney serving the Southern Nevada area. His passion for the law and commitment to his clients has made him one of the most prominent defense attorneys in Nevada. If you’re in need of a defense attorney, contact Mark Coburn for a free consultation on your case.