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Let's talk about warrants

It's been a while, but I'm back. Instead of my usual topic, domestic violence, I'm coming to you with a whole new topic Today, I want to talk about warrants, in particular arrest and bench warrants. First, let me explain to you the difference between the two, just in case you didn't know. An arrest warrant is issued when a criminal accusation or charge has been brought against you. Some are no-brainers; some have to be investigated and confirmed in order for an arrest warrant to be signed. In order for an arrest warrant to be issued, the investigating officer has to show the judge compelling evidence that the person they are asking the warrant for probably did it. If the officer does not have enough evidence, then the warrant will not be issued and the judge will tell the officer that they need more evidence to convince them that that person probably committed the crime in question. The second warrant I want to discuss is called a bench warrant.

Bench warrants are issued when the person who has already been charged for whatever reason fails to show for their court appointment. In that case they are usually tried in their absence and are found guilty; then the court issues a bench warrant, which usually comes with a fine, jail time or both. In a lot of cases, individuals state that they forgot or weren’t told about the court date. All I will say to that is, if you have been stopped or arrested by law enforcement, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you have to do in order to correctly take care of that particular situation. As we all know, ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse to use if you find yourself in a negative law enforcement involved situation. There are other warrants also, which include family court and drug court, but they mainly function as bench warrants. Also, one of the most important things about warrants is that they don’t go away unless they have been served, the individual has paid the fine or did the time, if it’s a bench warrant, or if the agency that issued the warrant recalls it for whatever reason. If one of those three things has not happened, then the warrant is still considered active. This means if you have done something 20 years ago and for whatever reason you were not arrested or you didn’t pay the required fine of the warrant, you can and will be arrested if you are stopped by an officer and they check to see if you have a warrant. Again, this is regardless of how long ago the offense happened. If for whatever reason you think or want to make sure you don't have an active warrant, feel free to call me at (*03) 435-4414, ext. 2416, from Monday through Friday at the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office Warrant Division.


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