What to Do When You Have a Bench Warrant for New Charges in Pennsylvania

Finding out there is an active bench warrant for your arrest can be scary. While it may sound like you will face charges and will have to serve time in jail, this is not necessarily the case. Instead, there are current charges pending against you, you have missed a court date or you are in Contempt of Court, such as violating your probation. Regardless of the reason for the bench warrant, it is important to understand a few aspects of the law as they apply to bench warrants in the State of Pennsylvania.

Bench Warrant Process for New Charges

If there is a bench warrant for your arrest due to new charges you are facing, there was a criminal complaint filed that was signed by a judge. The person does not always know there are charges against them as these warrants are put into place after the crime occurred. This can also happen when someone makes allegations against someone, whether the crime occurred or not. Sometimes during an investigation, the suspect is not told or they cannot be found. In other cases, the crime did not occur so the person is unaware.

When you receive a bench warrant for new charges, you have two options: to turn yourself in without an attorney or to contact an attorney and have them negotiate the terms of your surrender to authorities. When someone chooses to turn themselves in without an attorney, they contact the police department or the detective investigating the case, then arranging turning yourself in.

By turning yourself in without an attorney, you save money by not hiring a lawyer. However, this is where the upsides end. On the downside, police will attempt to take a statement from you and you won’t have legal representation. In a lot of cases, you will wind up needing the lawyer anyway. In these statements, points of innocence are often ignored and it is usually used against you in the case.

In this case, you also cannot negotiate your surrender, including bail. When an attorney handles surrender, they can negotiate your bail to a reasonable number, or they will “Sign On Bond (SOB) or “Release On Own Recognizance,” so you won’t have to sit in jail while waiting for trial. Most are unaware of these terms or conditions and are therefore unable to negotiate them on their own. Even those that do know the terminology are often less educated on their execution.

If you have a bench warrant, it makes more sense to hire an attorney at the beginning. If you or a loved one currently has a bench warrant to answer, contact our team today for legal counsel.