What Do I Do If I Have a Bench Warrant Out For My Arrest in California?

Many people contact my office after learning that they have a bench warrant out for their arrest in San Francisco. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the reaction is usually the same—fear in the form of being arrested and held indefinitely in jail. 

(“FTA” or Failure to Appear) bench warrants are the most common types of warrants.  A failure to appear occurs when you do not appear in court after being arrested or cited.  Once a bench warrant is issued, your name goes into a statewide database, which serves the entire law enforcement community.  

The good news is that most warrants in San Francisco can be cleared up ahead of time, so that you may not have to be arrested at all. Our office routinely walks into court and adds on warrant cases so that they may be heard before a judge. This allows us to get ahead of the situation. In many cases, the judge will then recall the bench warrant, meaning that you are no longer subject to arrest. 

Having a warrant out for your arrest is not a pleasant feeling, so the sooner you reach out the better. It is not an issue that will get better by itself. But by being proactive, you can avoid dealing with a worse case scenario.