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Can missing your court date result in your arrest?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2021 | Traffic Tickets |

If you receive a traffic ticket, you would do well to read it carefully. If it lists a hearing date, time and place, you need to show up for it.

As FindLaw explains, when you fail to appear at the appointed time and place, you now have two charges pending against you: the charge listed on your ticket and a new failure to appear charge. Both entail penalties.

Bench warrant

If the judge chooses to issue a bench warrant for your arrest, he or she has the right and authority to do so. Like a regular arrest warrant, the bench warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest you anywhere and any time they find you. This applies not only to officers employed by the city or county where you got your ticket, but also to all surrounding jurisdictions.

The bench warrant goes into the court’s computer system that links with the respective systems of police departments throughout the area. Consequently, you now have multiple jurisdictions keeping a lookout for you. Also keep in mind that a bench warrant carries no expiration date. It remains in effect until officers arrest you or you discover its existence prior to arrest and go to the courthouse in question to get the warrant set aside and face its charge, plus the original charge listed on your ticket.

Likely arrest scenario

While officers can come to your home to arrest you, they likely will not do so for a minor traffic charge. Instead, you face more likelihood of an officer pulling you over some day as you drive down a street or highway. Remember, your license plate number attaches to the bench warrant, so officers can easily identify you.