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What is a Bench Warrant and How to Recall it in Queens

March 21, 2024

What is a Bench Warrant and How to Recall it in Queens

A bench warrant is a warrant issued by a judge for the arrest of an individual who has failed to appear for a court date or has otherwise violated a court order. Bench warrants are commonly issued in criminal cases when a defendant misses a scheduled court appearance without a valid excuse.

There are a few ways that a bench warrant can come about in Queens County, New York:

  • Missing a scheduled court date
  • Violating a condition of bail, probation, or parole
  • Failing to comply with a court order to appear for something like a drug test or counseling session

Once a bench warrant has been issued, it will remain active until the individual voluntarily surrenders or is arrested. Active bench warrants can have serious consequences like:

  • Additional criminal charges for bail jumping
  • Increased bail amount or bail revocation
  • Incarceration while waiting for the next court hearing

Recalling a Bench Warrant

If you find out that there is a bench warrant issued for your arrest in Queens County, you will want to act fast to get it recalled before you are taken into custody. Here is what you need to know about recalling a Queens bench warrant:

Hire a Queens Criminal Defense Attorney

The first thing you should do is hire a criminal defense attorney who practices regularly in Queens County Criminal Court. An experienced Queens warrant attorney can file the proper paperwork and represent you in court to get the warrant vacated and recalled. They can also advise you on whether you should voluntarily surrender.

Determine Where and Why the Warrant Was Issued

Your attorney can access information about your warrant from the court system’s database. They will be able to tell you important details like:

  • Which judge issued the warrant
  • What court part it was issued out of
  • The exact reason it was issued (missed court date, failed drug test, etc.)

This information will help you and your lawyer make the right tactical decisions about recalling it.

File a Motion to Vacate the Warrant

Your criminal defense lawyer will prepare legal paperwork asking the judge to withdraw or recall the bench warrant. This is known as a motion to vacate. The motion will explain the circumstances around why you missed court or violated the court order, and request that the warrant be recalled.

Possible reasons a Queens judge may withdraw a warrant include:

  • You have a valid medical reason for missing court, and can provide documentation
  • You never received proper legal notice of the court date
  • There was a death in the family, car accident, or other emergency
  • You were incarcerated or hospitalized on the date you missed

Your lawyer will gather evidence and documentation to prove your reason warrants vacating the warrant.

Appear Before the Judge and Request Recall

In most cases, you will need to voluntarily appear before the judge along with your lawyer to ask to get the warrant recalled. Your attorney will present the motion to vacate and argue for setting aside the warrant. The district attorney may argue against this depending on the case specifics.

If the judge agrees that your excuse for missing court or violating the order is reasonable, then they will grant the motion and recall the bench warrant. This means withdrawing the active warrant for your arrest and allowing you to remain free without being taken into custody.

Surrender on an Active Warrant with an Attorney

In some situations, your criminal defense lawyer may advise voluntarily surrendering on the bench warrant instead of trying to recall it. Reasons why you may want to turn yourself in include:

  • There is little chance of getting the warrant withdrawn (no valid excuse)
  • The judge has discretion on bail, so appearing voluntarily can help
  • Surrendering looks proactive and responsible to the court

By surrendering with your lawyer present, it shows the court you are taking the matter seriously. In many cases, having a bail hearing immediately after surrendering results in being released on your own recognizance or affordable bail.

Bench Warrant Consequences

If you do not proactively address a criminal bench warrant in Queens County and end up arrested on it, there can be serious fallout like:

  • Getting detained in jail until your next court appearance
  • Having your bail revoked entirely
  • A judge refusing to lower your bail amount
  • New criminal charges for bail jumping

These outcomes can completely derail an otherwise strong defense for the underlying criminal allegations. This is why you need an experienced Queens bench warrant attorney on your side early on.

For more information on recalling or surrendering on a bench warrant in Queens County, check out these attorneys. Reach out for a free consultation if you have an active warrant and need legal help.


Here are some additional resources on bench warrants in Queens:

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