Do criminal bench warrants expire or become invalid after a certain period of time in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?
Our criminal defense lawyers represent individuals charged with crimes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Some of these persons are initially arrested and appear in Court on these charges, but for whatever reason fail to resolve the matter either through a negotiated, open guilty plea, or pre-trial dismissal (motion) or an acquittal at trial.
What causes a bench warrant?
When a person fails to appear for subsequent Court proceedings, a bench warrant is issued. A bench warrant could also be issued in situations where a person is provided with a Summons to appear in Court for an initial appearance and fails to do so. Bench warrants are serious matters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and can seriously derail a persons professional and personal life. Every bench warrant is different, but in most situations if a person has an existing bench warrant, they will be arrested during a routine traffic stop or perhaps going through a security check point at an airport, train station, or bus depot.
Does a bench warrant expire or become invalid after a period of time?
No! If you have a bench warrant, it is important to recognize that the matter will not simply go away or become invalid or expire with the passage of time. This means that a bench warrant will remain in existence and on your criminal record until it is completely addressed. It will also come up on any background check for employment. A bench warrant is a violation of a court order to appear in court at a specific period of time. A court can issue a bench warrant for the failure to appear in court for an in person or a virtual appearance?
If you have a bench warrant in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to advise you on the best course of action. In most situations, you will not be able to address the bench warrant without appearing in that Court with your criminal attorney to address it. This is the situation regardless of where you live, whether it be in the United States or overseas
While this can create additional expenses, the long-term consequences of not addressing a bench warrant are far more expensive (loss of job) along with professional and personal embarrassment.
How is bail determined in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Pennsylvania and New Jersey have very different systems with regards to bail. Pennsylvania is still a cash bail system where a Judge will assign a dollar amount to a bail based on a person’s contacts to the community and propensity towards violence. New Jersey uses the same analysis to determine bail but will not assign a dollar amount.
In New Jersey, following the bail reform the prosecution needs to file a Motion to detain an individual following his or her arrest. The cashless bail system in New Jersey requires a public safety assessment and are argument before a Superior Criminal Court Judge. In the case of a bench warrant, however, bail, in most situations has already been set and your criminal defense lawyer is simply asking the Court to reinstate bail with his conditions. In Pennsylvania, this may mean asking the Court to reinstitute bail which was previously forfeited and in New Jersey it may involve asking the Judge to reinstate the conditions of pre-trial release.
What to do if you think you have a bench warrant?
If you have questions regarding bail in Pennsylvania or New Jersey or you believe that you have a bench warrant, do not assume that the matter is not serious because police or other law enforcement members are not actively looking for you. In most situations, police will not maintain an active search for a criminal defendant but will simply rely on the person going through a security check point or being stopped for unrelated traffic offenses. If you have questions regarding bench warrants, please contact our office to address these matters.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.