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Don't Let a Bench Warrant Hold You Back


Have you ever gotten a traffic or parking ticket and wondered “What’s the worst that could happen if I just completely blow this off? Or maybe you had a hearing on some summary offense and completely skipped the hearing altogether, or skipped a preliminary hearing or arraignment date, and you thought there would be no repercussions. Well, what happens in these scenarios is that the Magistrate or Judge will issue a warrant for your arrest!

If you have a warrant for your arrest that you have not dealt with, your next encounter with police, no matter how innocent seeming, may end with you in cuffs at the county jail. The warrant for your arrest is considered a detainer, meaning that you will be held in jail until the issue is disposed of at a hearing. At the hearing, a purge condition will be set for disposing of the issue. This may include ordering you to pay a lump sum of money for your release, setting up a payment plan, or other appropriate remedies. In cases where you have a warrant due to skipping hearing dates, you may be facing revocation of your bail, or alteration of your bail conditions to something more limiting of your liberty. If you are unable to meet purge conditions, you may find yourself sitting in jail for another 30 days awaiting another hearing!

The Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure govern the procedures to be followed after someone is arrested on a bench warrant. The important thing to note is that you may be held in the county jail on a bench warrant for up to 72 hours prior to the hearing. If the 72 hours expires on a nonbusiness day, then the time for hearing may be extended until the close of business the next day.

Outstanding warrants on things even as simple as traffic tickets can have effects that ripple throughout your entire life. Warrants may hurt you in background checks for work, they may affect your professional licenses, they can result in judgments that hurt your credit, they can prevent you from entering certain alternative sentencing programs if convicted of another crime, and ultimately end with you spending unnecessary time in jail.

If you have past criminal or traffic issues that you blew off don’t wait for them to come back to haunt you. A consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is exactly what you need. Attorney Frank Walker can tackle these issues head on, potentially get your detainers lifted, and prevent you from having these issues keep you up at night. Don’t gamble with your freedom anymore! Call Attorney Frank Walker today at 412-315-7441.