Information for Defendant's with Warrants
How do I avoid getting a warrant?
The best way to avoid a warrant is to appear in court as ordered. When you receive a traffic citation, you are signing a promise to appear without admitting guilt to the offenses charged on the ticket. You are given fourteen days from the date you receive the citation to appear at the court. If you fail to appear within the fourteen days, you may have a warrant issued for your arrest. If you are charged with a crime which does not require you to personally appear, a warning letter may be mailed to your address as listed on the citation. Failing to appear in court on your citation can lead to a significant increase in any fines imposed upon your conviction. In addition, a separate criminal charge, punishable by up to six months in jail and fines and assessments of up to $1,940. You can be convicted of the crime of failing to appear even if you are found not guilty of the underlying offense.
Do I have a Warrant for my arrest?
You may search the Utah Statewide Warrants file at https://secure.utah.gov/warrants/index.html
Why do I have a Bench Warrant?
Bench warrants are issued when a defendant fails to appear in court as ordered. If you missed a court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Why are you ordering my arrest when I am "presumed innocent until proven guilty?"
You are presumed innocent of the criminal accusation against you regardless of the bench warrant. However, this presumption does not allow you to simply ignore the accusations. Generally, the court will not proceed with your case without your presence. The court prefers individuals to appear as ordered voluntarily. However, if a person will not appear voluntarily, the court has the responsibility to get you to come to court.
Do I have to go to jail?
Reporting to the jail is one way to clear a warrant. If you do report to the jail, you can expect to be held in custody until you: 1) post bail; 2) qualify for release through Salt Lake County Pre-trial Services; or 3) are transported for a court hearing.
What if I don’t want to go to jail?
The best way to avoid jail is to show up for court when ordered
"Cash Bail" may be posted at the court or at the jail. "Cash Bail" can be deposited in the form of U.S. currency; Cashier’s Checks; or Money Orders. Personal checks will not be accepted for bench warrant security. If you need to leave court to arrange to pay for your "Cash Bail," be advised that your warrant will not be recalled until your bail has been posted.
What if I can’t post bail?
The court holds "walk in" times for people who have missed court and who cannot post bail. Cases are heard are on a first-come, first-served basis after all of the scheduled matters have been completed. Space is limited. If this is the first time you missed court, you may schedule a bench warrant recall hearing. Your warrant will remain active, but you will have a time and date when your case will be heard. Individuals may only schedule one bench warrant recall hearing. If you fail to appear to that hearing, then you must come in on a "walk in" basis.
Plan to arrive early
Why can’t I schedule a new court date?
If you have a bench warrant, you already had a scheduled court hearing and failed to appear as ordered. By signing your citation, you did not admit guilt, but you did promise to appear in court in not less than five days and not more than fourteen days after issuance of the ticket. If you missed a subsequent hearing, you signed a scheduling memo promising to appear as ordered. Only a limited number of cases can be scheduled each day. Because of the thousands of cases filed with the court each year, it would be impossible schedule a new court dates for those individuals who miss their court hearings without delaying someone else’s case. It is unfair to delay scheduling someone else’s case because you failed to appear as ordered.
Why is my bail so high?
Bail and fines are generally two separate issues. A fine is imposed after conviction as punishment for an offense. Bail is simply security to ensure that you will show up in court when ordered. You usually start without having to post any bail at all. You simply sign a citation or scheduling memo promising to appear in court. Once you’ve missed court, a warrant is issued and bail is set. The amount of the bail is determined by the judge. It is usually set in an amount which the judge determines is enough to ensure you will show up to court. If you show up, the bail can be exonerated and returned to you or it may be held to ensure future court appearances.