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Bench Warrants - Why you should take care of them Now

Updated on February 29, 2012

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.

Murphy's Law

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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    • tim robets profile image

      tim robets 3 years ago

      Thank you for your advice and quick response.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 3 years ago from Michigan

      When you go to court for your ticket, more than likely you will not be required to show ID. I am of the opinion that you should pay the 'fake name' ticket and be done with it for a very simple reason... should you ever be 'found out' that fake name will be considered an 'alias' and will follow you wherever you may go. Also - if there is another person by that name they could be held responsible for your misinformation.

      But I see what you are asking... If you gave a fake name well then there is no person to be held responsible... no such address etc... But for instance you don't show up and they then come to your house (because that it where the license plates were registered) what if by chance that same Officer who wrote the original ticket happens to be the one knocking at your door...

      I think that at this time it is a matter of what you think you should do - leave it alone or pursue it... I'd hate to give you advice that would get you into more trouble. I guess - let your conscience be your guide.

    • tim robets profile image

      tim robets 3 years ago

      Oh ok. Looking back, I wish I had given the officer my real name, because i could have easily fought it since I have my license back and not suspended anymore, but I panicked at the time. When you say, "if you don't show up at court at all, there will be a bench warrant put out for you." Put out on the fake name or actually me? My court date is on the 26th of this month, and i received the ticket a month ago. The officer did no attempt to pursue or feel suspicious since he did not hand back the license plates to the actual owner (me), but I did get new license plates at DMV. So who will the bench warrant be put out for? How will the officer know for sure the owner of the plates was actually me who was driving that day? i ask because he pulled my real name up on the computer and no picture of me was shown, so I was let go.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 3 years ago from Michigan

      Oh boy have you gotten yourself in a sticky situation... If he feels that there was more to the story than what you told him he may begin to pursue it. (More for his own peace of mind than anything) It only takes a second to run the address of the plates and he may want to return them to what he feels is the rightful owner (if they are not expired). He may attempt to call 'them' (you) first and ask if they are stolen.

      If you attempt to rectify this he could now charge you with lying to a police officer...

      Out of curiosity do you know what would have happened had you just told the truth at the time? In Michigan - my brother hasn't had his licence in years (unpaid tickets) yet from time to time he does drive and from time to time he gets pulled over. The first few times he just got tickets for driving on a suspended - no jail time. Now of course he does go to jail usually with a large bail amount. He keeps telling me he is going to get them paid...

      Personally, my conscience would want to rectify this. It sounds by your question that you do as well. I guess what I would do is this; If you have a job, talk to your boss and first ask "If I went to jail would I still have a job when I got out" if he/she says "yes" then this - Call the police officer who wrote the ticket tell him you need to clear your conscience and then explain the truth... He may or may not be angry, more than anything he is going to be surprised (people just don't do that) - Explain to him that you just don't want to get into any more trouble this is why you are calling him, that you know the truth always comes out and you'd rather you tell it than let him find out another way and be angry about it etc.. You might be surprised as well by his actions.

      If you don't show up at court at all it is guaranteed there will be a bench warrant put out for you. I promise. Then things will get really bad for you. It's better to straighten them out now while he can still help you.

      Best of Luck to you!! Let me know what you finally decide to do.

    • tim robets profile image

      tim robets 3 years ago

      Hi, I need some help. I knowingly gave a false name, birthdate, and address when i got pulled over because my driver's license was suspended. I was pulled over in Virginia bc I didn't have front license plates (i have va plates). The car was not registered, so the plates were for another vehicle. Since the officer could not find me on his computer in his car, he gave me a ticket for "no driver's license", and improper tags. Here where it gets tricky, the officer took the license plate, which is really mine, and he even asked me if I knew who the owner of that license plate was (which was actually me), however I told him that he was a friend of mine My question is: if I don't show up for court, will the officer come after the owner of the license plate tags even if they weren't for that car I was pulled over in?

    • profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago

      We recently had a fellow who'd skipped bail and was down in Kentucky or someplace similar.

      We went and got him after he blew up his Facebook page with 1. Where he was, 2. Where he worked, 3. His personal life and 4. How stupid we were. Really...

      He's currently enjoying the hospitality of our Sheriff.

      Most criminals are incredibly stupid.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      Good hub. Voted up. Love the pic of '"bracelets" that made me laugh. It is a serious matter to have outstanding warrant, good advice.

    • 34th Bomb Group profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago from Western New York State

      But I'm from the D.A.'s Office and I'm here to HELP you!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Ummm, LOL... Well there is always that!

    • profile image

      34th 5 years ago

      Thanks! It's all true!

      One Hub I must write is: How One Can Really Irritate Defendants, Resulting in Their Demise, Without Doing a Single Thing Illegal or Impolite!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Well I'm so glad you popped up here to comment!

      The one thing I try to instill on my readers is being kind, it REALLY goes a long way with officials. Judges all the way down to the lowly (just a figure of speech here!!) court messenger - talk to each other on a regular basis. They do know if someone is being rude and it will get back to the ones you don't want to make mad.

      Everyone in the Courthouse is human and feelings do get hurt, saying something nasty at a Courthouse can only roll uphill. Those court clerks hold more power than anyone (outside of the Court) wants to give them credit for.

      I have always held a great respect for the law and the law makers, they do hold all the power!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!! Glad to have you!

    • 34th Bomb Group profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago from Western New York State

      GREAT HUB!!

      As a (ahem) Prosecutor/Investigator, I assure you that your "Murphy's Law" WILL happen - often at the instigation of the Police and/or Prosecutor. Usually both.

      If you're one of the Defendants who have been rude, obnoxious, etc. to our staff - you WILL pay. In droves. Most folks have enough sense to not piss off the cop or D.A., but don't realize that we couldn't do our jobs without the support staff and if you hurt their feelings, we will hurt you tenfold.

      We're usually very nice, even in difficult situations and can be of great assistance even while you're being arrested, but the moment you even mutter rude words in a foreign language directed at the Prosecutor, we will no longer be as accommodating. Most of the "bad guys" in my Jurisdiction are now aware that I understand Spanish, Italian, a bit of Polish and a lot of Yiddish/German. They keep their mouths shut - as everyone should do with the exception of an occasional "Yes Ma'am" or "Thank you." You can throw in "I want my Lawyer" too.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      LOL - Sagacious?? (truth be known I did have to look that up) But hey, someone's gotta do it! Gotta let the public know what happens when you ignore the big man at the top of the heap!! (That would be a Judge) They get a might testy when you do that causing them to rubber stamp those Bench Warrants and all.

      Thank you for the vocab. lesson of the day... Sagacious - I Like it!!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Very wise, clear-cut advice, susie. You have now done your part in advising the bench warrant scoffers of the trials and tribulations that await them if they have not heeded your sagacious words.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Awww that is very sweet, thank you! I do my best to try an help those that I can.

    • profile image

      taz24 5 years ago

      Very well written suzzy. People like you can help make a diffrence in this world. :)