What is a bench warrant, and what can I do if I have one?

A bench warrant is issued by a judge when a person with a pending criminal case violates the rules of the court. Sometimes a warrant is issued for violating pre-trial release conditions. Most often, people with bench warrants simply have failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance. Once a bench warrant is issued, the police can treat it like any other warrant and use it to arrest people and keep them in jail, until the appear back in front of a judge. If you have a bench warrant, you need to contact your attorney as soon as possible.

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1. Is my public defender a “real lawyer”?
2. Since you’re paid by the government, the same as prosecutors, aren’t you just working together?
3. Can I call or drop by the Cowlitz County Office of Public Defense for some quick legal advice?
4. What is an arraignment?
5. What is a pre-trial hearing?
6. What is a trial readiness hearing?
7. What happens in trial?
8. What happens in a sentencing hearing?
9. How does COVID-19 impact my court hearings?
10. How do I discuss my case with my attorney during COVID-19?
11. What is a bench warrant, and what can I do if I have one?
12. Why hasn’t my attorney gotten my case dropped?
13. What if I forgot my court date?
14. How do I get my record vacated/sealed?
15. If I have a problem with my court-appointed lawyer, how do I complain?
16. What can I do to help with my case?