How to Check For Bench Warrants

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What Is A Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is an open warrant that is typically the result of a missed court date, unpaid court fine or an unpaid traffic citation, which are all infractions. The court system, at least for most infractions, is designed to provide individuals with access to a judge in a timely manner. Over time, the meaning of timely has shifted, and many people have court dates months out from the time they receive an infraction.

For some people, simply staying on top of a court date for something minor like a moving violation can be tricky. For others, avoiding court is made easier due to long lead times before you have to go in front of a judge.

When a court date is missed or other laws of the court are violated, a bench warrant may be issued. Use this guide to learn more about bench warrants, how you can check to see if you have one and how to deal with it if you do.

A bench warrant is a type of warrant issued by a judge. This can happen when a person misses a court date where they were scheduled to appear. However, bench warrants can be issued for other infractions, and a broader definition allows judges to issue them when a person simply violates any of the rules of the court.

For all practical purposes though, bench warrants are issued when a person does not show up for a court date. Police can arrest individuals who have a bench warrant.

How to Find Out If I Have a Bench Warrant

  • Contact the courthouse listed on your citation. The most direct method for finding out if a bench warrant has been issued for you is to visit the courthouse where the ticket was issued. You’ll find this information on your citation. Visiting the traffic clerk and criminal clerk window is often ideal to ensure that you’re warrant-free.
  • Contact the police. Judges issue bench warrants, but the police are the ones who enforce them. Contact your local police or sheriff’s office. Some cities like Las Vegas have websites that private citizens can access.
  • Third-party websites. In some states like California, you may be able to use online third-party sites to check and see if you have a bench warrant. These sites are often effective in helping you find answers quickly without making phone calls to the courts or visiting in person. Many third-party sites also allow you to check your criminal record at the same time.
  • Talk to your attorney. Your attorney can help you find out if you have a bench warrant without you doing the work for yourself. They may be able to help set a new court date for you and stop the bench warrant.

Checking to see if you have a bench warrant can feel like a complicated process. If you fear that you may have one, you have a few options to help you get the information you need to act accordingly.

Bench WarrantHow are Bench Warrants Issued?

A bench warrant will be issued by a judge and the court where the judge presides. The police then enforce the bench warrant, helping to bring the individual to court. In many cases however, a bench warrant differs from an arrest warrant in the veracity with which the police pursue the issue.

Most bench warrants are issued because of failure to appear violations, many of which are resolved when the individual gets a notice from the court through the mail. Typically people are not arrested

Bench Warrant vs Arrest Warrant

A bench warrant is typically issued by a judge, which sets it apart from an arrest warrant, which will usually be issued by local police in the area where you live. Typically a bench warrant is issued because a person did not show up in court – on the bench in front of the judge – at the agreed upon time.

While a bench warrant is issued by a judge, it is the police who will enforce it and help ensure that the individual does end up in court. For all practical purposes, a bench warrant can be treated just like an arrest warrant.

Most of the time though bench warrants are resolved by the court and the individual without police intervention. Extradition or other similar actions are unlikely for most bench warrants.

How to Fix a Bench Warrant

  • Try to schedule a new court date. You can do this in person at most courthouses.
  • Ask your local court clerk if you can see a judge the same day. This can happen in some cases. Other courts may give you a time the next day or even the same week to ensure that you show up.
  • Talk to the police in your area. They can help you clear up a bench warrant and ensure that you’re cooperating with the courts.

Trying to figure out what to do when you’re served with a bench warrant can be a little confusing. While contacting the courts, the police or using a third-party website is best, it won’t help you actually clear up the matter. Your attorney can help with that, but if you want to do it on your own or you don’t have an attorney, you do have options.

Bench warrants are not something you want to mess around with since the police do enforce them. However, most people get bench warrants because they simply forget about a court date due to other life circumstances and long wait times. If that happened to you, simply contacting the court is your best bet.

Act quickly, ideally as soon as you remember that you missed a court date, and leniency may be granted. Some areas charge court fees and fines for missing court dates and bench warrants, but if you’re dealing with a traffic ticket or minor violation, you won’t be put in jail!

Bench Warrants - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have a bench warrant?

It's possible you have a bench warrant if you've missed a court appearance or have unpaid court fines or fees. You can check with your county courthouse clerk if you've actually got an active bench warrant.

Can I get arrested for a bench warrant?

Yes, it is absolutely possible that a bench warrant can result in an arrest depending on the nature of the bench warrant. A missed court appearance for a misdemeanor or felony court case can result in an arrestable bench warrant.

Are bench warrants public record?

Yes, bench warrants are public record via the Freedom of Information Act. Anyone can find out if you have a bench warrant by checking with online resources like

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Responses to “How to Check For Bench Warrants

  1. Do I have a warrant? I got a citation yesterday and have my court date scheduled for October 13ty at 1 30pm
    Anne Colyn Wagner DOB 01/29/1981

    North Carolina

    1. We are happy to run a Bench Warrant Check for you Johnny but we’ll also need to know your DOB to confirm any active bench warrants under your name

  2. Hi my name is Jennifer Jennings I did not receive a court letter in the mail and I would like to take for y\’all to reschedule my court date you can give me a call back at 443 381 1262 I was calling my attorney since July 1st she did not reply back to me then out of nowhere she called me after the seventh talk about some I had to show up in court or I think it was the fifth but I call her my phone is off so I had to use another phone to get to my voicemail and I told her that phone does not work and I asked her where they\’re going to send me our court letter she said yes I never received any type of Court letter and this will be the third time because every time I go to court they don\’t send me no type of letter out since I\’ve been here in California sir or ma\’am so please do your give me a call back soon as you get this message thank you

  3. My name is Lydia Ahmed and I need to know if there is a bench warrant for me in Buffalo NY from the early 80\’s

    1. Michele, we ran a Kentucky bench warrant check for you and did not find anything at this time that would indicate an active bench warrant

    1. William, you have a very common name in Kentucky. Can you provide us with your full name age so we can run a proper Kentucky bench warrant search for you?

  4. Hello wanted to check if I have a bench warrant in New Jersey, I owe them fines and I haven’t been able to pay. Lashyia Johns 06/29/1989. Thanks a lot!

  5. Would you please check if there is a bench warrant in Oregon for Juan D. Soldevilla. Age 33, grants pass, oregon.

  6. My name is Brittany m wolney. I am from Louisville Kentucky. I was trying to see if I had a bench warrant out for me? Could you please help me?

    1. Desmond, we ran a Kentucky bench warrant search for you and could not find anything active at this time.

      Do I have a bench warrant in Kentucky?

      There are a couple of ways to find out if you have a bench warrant in Kentucky. You can inquire with the clerk of the courts in the Kentucky to find out if the courts have issued a bench warrant for you. Another option is to use an online public record website, like, to find out if you have a Kentucky bench warrant, which is also an anonymous service.

    1. Jenee, we’re happy to assist you with a bench warrant search in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Our search did not reveal any active bench warrants for you.

  7. I was wondering if you could check to see if I got any kinds of warraants for South Carolina. Thank you.
    Shyana Cassatt
    Blacksburg, SC

  8. I was arrested in 2007 on no operators an insurance in the stat of Kentucky but my understanding was the cop was gonna call and have it threw out an I never received a letter or anything. So I thought it was taken care of and this past weekend I went threw a road check and was told I had a warrant out on me I was wrote another citation and was informed by the cop to call over and see what I can do before my next court date. Was wondering if I went in to ask about it without an attorney will they arrest me or should I seek counsel

    1. Thank’s for reaching out about our How To Check For Bench Warrants post. To answer your question that really depends on the Kentucky traffic court and how they view the delinquency in payment of fines and fees. In many cases this is not an arrest worth offense. Your best option would be to contact the Kentucky county courthouse clerk and ask how best to go about settling up and getting this bench warrant removed.

Author: SQAdmin
Last Updated: February 19, 2020

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