Bench Warrants - Why you should take care of them Now
Your new Bracelets?
Since I wrote my Hub on “What to do if you have a Bench Warrant” I have had a lot of comments of people asking me questions on how to get them taken care of. I do my best to answer those questions as they come up. For the most part making a simple phone call to the County Clerk’s office is the first route you should take. Not to worry, you can call them ‘private’ they certainly can’t arrest you over the phone.
Be as nice and polite to them as humanly possible, remember they have your file in front of them and can make notations in it as you are speaking if that is their desire. Being nasty to the Clerk is probably one of the absolute WORST things you can do. The Judge may hold all the power but the clerk is the one doing the filing and they are human, their feelings do get hurt also. I heard a Judge tell the group in the Court room “The clerk is the LAST one you should be making mad”.
Got that out of the way
Now that I’ve said my peace on that subject let’s move on to the purpose of this Hub. Why you need to get that Bench Warrant cleared up.
Just the beginning
Let’s for the sake of argument say that you are a man, that you have not paid your child support in a few years. It may not be much, the ex-wife hasn’t demanded much from you (yes, it happens) and kept the amount you pay at a reasonable level, never asking for raises. You never see the children they have moved to another State and you have no idea where they are. It sets in the recesses of your mind, always planning on doing something but it never quite gets that far.
You’ve moved on, re-married and have another family that you are doing your best to support. It’s Christmas Eve, your car is loaded with wrapped gifts for your family, you are headed to someone’s house, all set for a fun filled time at the Holiday. You might have a child or two of yours in your vehicle, maybe a couple of teens to help carry those gifts. You are excited and might be going just a bit too fast in an area that is known for having one of those speed traps.
Whoo-Hoo it's a Party!!
All of a sudden you see the disco lights in your rear view mirror, look down at your speedometer and say “Shoot!” (more colorful words may pop into your mind). You immediately pull over; after all you know you are guilty of speeding. You may not even know you have a bench warrant at this time but when your name is run, the Officer comes back to your car and says those dreaded words “Step out of the vehicle please”. At this point you know something is up and are hoping it will be explained.
When you are informed that you have a Bench Warrant and will be taken to jail your mind begins running “What did I do now?” The officer looks over the information he has at his fingertips and all he can tell you is it’s a Bench Warrant for non-payment of child support. Now what do you do?
You have two teenagers in the vehicle, neither one has a driver’s license; your wife is at the in-laws and probably has had a few drinks. It’s Christmas Eve for cripes sake!!
It begins hit you...
Because the Officer has a little compassion he decides to let you use his phone to make a phone call. It’s either that or the teenagers get picked up by CPS and taken somewhere along with your vehicle being towed. Your wife and her father come to get the car with the kids while you sit there in the police car watching the world go by, probably feeling sorry for yourself.
They take you to jail and do all of the booking that comes with the territory. Now you are feeling dejected and left out. You know your kids and wife will miss you, you also know that you may not get to see the look on your wife’s face when she opens that present you bought for her that she REALLY wanted.
Santa will NOT visit you here!!
Christmas morning comes, as you wake you realize that Santa didn't bring you anything good. There are no warm Cinnamon rolls and coffee and you are not surrounded by the excitement and laughter that the children will bring after seeing what Santa has brought. No, you are given a breakfast of cold coffee and room temperature prunes. You may also be visited by the local Jailhouse Ministry and brought some brand new underwear and socks along with prayer or two. For lunch you get to look forward to cold bologna sandwiches and warm Kool-Aid and if you’re really good they might give you the same for dinner.
You are allowed to make a few collect calls from your jail cell – In the background you’ll hear the kids whining and crying because Daddy isn’t there. Mom may or may not tell them where you are, the teens will of course know. They may still be recovering from the shock of seeing you in handcuffs or they might be making jokes, in my house it’s always the later. The younger ones will of course be terribly upset, thinking that Christmas is cancelled. Once they find out it’s not, they discover it’s still no fun opening gifts without Daddy there.
Everyone Sing - "Memories!!!!"
You know you will have to wait until the day after Christmas because unless you have a gazillion dollars stashed in the bank, oh wait – It’s Christmas you’ll have to have cash because they don’t take checks!! Besides most ATM’s have a limit per day, not only that if you had that kind of money you probably wouldn’t be in jail in the first place.
You get out the next day; Christmas has come and gone you will never get that day back. Your kids will forever remember “The Christmas that Daddy went to Jail” as the worst Christmas ever. When they grow up you will have to endure the memories of that Christmas that you missed each and every Holiday.
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Back to the subject at hand; if you do have a Bench Warrant DON’T wait until you get pulled over to take care of it. Do it now, when it is fresh in your mind; when a few phone calls or a few dollars each week can take care of it. It is guaranteed that on a VERY important day, the birth of a child, someone’s wedding, a funeral when you are rushing that you will get pulled over and thrown in jail. So for the sake of your memories and for the memories of your family and loved ones, take care of that Bench Warrant. If you're anything like me or my family - Murphy's Law WILL happen.
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