Difference Between Warrant & Bench Warrant

Warrant vs Bench Warrant

Many people are familiar with the term “warrant” from detective shows, where it is used when the person suspected of a crime is arrested. Warrants come in various forms, such as arrest warrants, search warrants, or bench warrants. While some may refer to bench warrants as arrest warrants, it is more accurate to understand them as a type of arrest warrant and not confuse them with general arrest warrants.

What is a Warrant?

In this article, a warrant refers specifically to an arrest warrant. A warrant is issued by the court for the purpose of arresting a person suspected of committing a crime, but only if the judge finds that there is probable cause to arrest the person in question. Probable cause means there is a reasonable amount of evidence implicating the suspect. The process of issuing a warrant unfolds following a request from the police or law enforcement authorities. A warrant typically contains the name of the accused and describes the particulars of the crime they are charged with having committed. It is a legal document, preceded by an affidavit submitted by the police or a sworn complaint. In many countries, the affidavit accompanies the warrant at the time of arrest.

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant, but its particulars differ from a general arrest warrant. Typically, a warrant is issued in a criminal case, while a bench warrant is issued in both civil and criminal cases. Issued by the court, a bench warrant authorizes the arrest of a person who has either failed to appear in court after having been summoned on a particular date or failed to respond to a subpoena. In a criminal case, a bench warrant is issued when the accused or defendant does not appear in court for their trial and remains at large. If you are ordered by the court, either as a defendant or witness, and you ignore that order, a bench warrant will be issued against you. Unlike an arrest warrant, a bench warrant may not be effected at once. A bench warrant can also be issued for contempt of court or refusal to respond to jury duty.

Key Takeaways

  • A warrant is issued by the court following a request from the police to arrest a person suspected of committing a crime.
  • A bench warrant is issued by the court directly, without a request from the police, when a person fails to respond to an earlier order issued by the court.
  • Warrants are typically issued in criminal cases, while bench warrants are issued in both civil and criminal cases.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles