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Do bench warrants ever expire in Utah?

Arrest warrants can expire in Utah. But depending on the nature of the charges involved and the age of the warrant, a court may renew and reissue the warrant. While a statute of limitations can prevent the filing of criminal charges after a certain period of time, Utah law regarding a statute of limitations does not prevent the repeated renewal of an old warrant.

If you believe that a warrant remains outstanding for your arrest in Utah, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for assistance. Utah lawyer Stephen Howard has assisted clients in clearing old warrants and resolving charges in a variety of cases. He has a track record of achieving real results in both felony and misdemeanor cases.

What will happen if I am arrested on an old warrant?

Regardless of the age of the warrant, a person can be arrested on a Utah warrant if the warrant remains active. But the ultimate outcome of the court hearing on the warrant can depend on a number of factors, including the age of the warrant, the nature of the underlying criminal charges, the status of the case prior to the issuance of the warrant, the reason the warrant was issued in the first place, what kind of activities the person has been engaged in since the warrant was issued, and more.

If you are arrested on an old bench warrant in Utah, you can be booked into jail. In some cases, a judge may issue a "no bail" warrant. But for most warrants, a bail amount is set. If you can post bail (either as a cash bail or through a bond company), you may be released from jail. But just being released from jail does not mean that the case is over. If you have bailed out of jail or had a bond posted, you should contact the court to schedule a date to see the judge. If you fail to contact the court or fail to appear on the scheduled court date, a warrant will likely be re-issued at a higher amount. If you cannot afford to post bail or if the judge has issued a "no bail" warrant, you will be held in jail until your court date.

What will happen when you see the judge will depend largely on the status of the case was at the time the warrant was issued. If the warrant was issued while the original case was still pending (prior to trial or prior to a conviction by plea agreement), then you still retain the right to a trial and all of the procedural and Constitutional protections that go along with the presumption of innocense. If the warrant was issued for a probation violation, then you should be entitled to a hearing on the order to show cause, where you will be provided an opportunity to an evidentiary hearing where you may contest the allegations that you violated probation or to present reasons to the court why your original sentence should not be imposed.

What if the warrant was issued just for failing to pay a fine?

The court's authority under a warrant issued for failing to pay a fine can depend on whether the warrant was issued during the original probation period or after probation had expired.

If the warrant was issued during probation, then the court can retain the jurisdiction and authority to impose the original sentence. Depending on the nature of the original case, this can include jail time or prison.

Upon the expiration or termination of the original probation period, the courts's authority becomes more limited. Under Utah law, Utah courts still retain jurisdiction over the case to enforce collection of unpaid fines, restitution, or other accounts receivable. The court can issue a warrant for your arrest if money is still owing in the case for fines, restitution, or other court-ordered payments. But the collection of these moneys is enforced through the court's contempt power. In such a circumstance, payment of the outstanding obligation will usually satisfy the remaining obligations to the court.

Finding a Utah Criminal Lawyer

Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney UtahIf you have been arrested on an old warrant, or if you know that you have an old warrant still outstanding for your arrest, you should contact an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and what options may be available to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard is pleased to offer legal services to clients throughout Utah.  His track record includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals on some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
How can I find out if I have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah?
Can I refuse if police ask for consent to search my car?
What will happen if I fail to appear at a court date in a Utah criminal case?


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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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