According to California’s Penal Code 166 and 978.5 PC, a specific warrant that is prominent is called a “bench” warrant.

It is known as a warrant that is put in place from the “bench” in a court room by the presiding judge. A bench warrant differs from the usual arrest warrant for it is not issued as a result of criminal behavior and activity.

Here is a list of possible reasons a bench warrant will be issued due to a failure of:

  • Pay court ordered support of spouse
  • Pay court ordered support of child
  • Pay traffic citations
  • Personal appearance in a court room when required, no matter the reasoning
  • Obey a court order to vacate a said property (eviction)
  • Obey any terms of defendant’s probation and/or post-release community supervision

A “Failure to Appear” (FTA) in court warrant is among the most commonly issued bench warrants. If a defendant chooses to fail to appear personally in court when required or when a progress report hearing is not attended that is mandated by the defendant’s probation. Also, not reporting for a trial that is mandated by the court as a “necessary party” i.e. witness, juror etc. as well as not showing providing proof of enrollment or finishing of a court ordered program (Prop 36, DUI school).

Legal Consequences

There are several situations where a Failure to Appear can end up with considerable penalties. A failure to appear written promise can land a defendant with up to $1000 fine as well as one year in California county jail as well as loss/suspension of driver’s license. Failure to appear in any misdemeanor case, a defendant may face up to $1000 fine and up to one year in California county jail for “evading the process of mandated court.” Failure to appear in any felony case is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and up to 3 years in county jail. If bail is met under a felony case with a failure to appear, the fines are from $5,000 to $10,000.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant in California is a warrant that gives police the authority to apprehend and detain a person that is suspected of committing a crime based on either following an indictment from a grand jury or evidence that is delivered by a peace officer/District Attorney. An arrest warrant is comprised of the city of issuance, time of issuance, name of the defendant, name of the presiding court and the crime that the defendant has been accused of. Only a judge can issue an arrest warrant by either probable cause or when an officer suspects a crime is being committed outside their presence. An arrest warrant can only be issued if a misdemeanor between 6am and 10pm unless the apprehension is in a public setting, the judge allows the warrant can be performed at any time or the defendant is already in custody. A felony warrant can be executed at any time of day or night.


For all the listed reasons, it is important to have great attorneys on your side.

The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong come equipped with the best lawyers in order to represent and defend the accused on all violent crimes convictions. The talent of the lawyers is apparent due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the special attention each defendant receives throughout this tedious process.

If there has been a warrant issued to you or a loved on, contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, immediately. An experienced defense attorney will review your case and tell you how to best proceed with the warrant.