I just found out today that I have a bench warrant for court down the country. I was due in court a few weeks back but thought it was for this month instead. The guards came to my parents house and want me to go down to the station or I will be arrested.
If I go down the station what happens? Will I have to go to court down the country where I didn't show or just here in Dublin?
I have work tomorrow but want to get this sorted out.
Any info would be great
A bench warrant allows for your immediate arrest and for you to be held until the next sitting of court. You may also be charged with breaching your bail. You will have to convince the judge why he should give you bail and not keep you in custody.
If you present yourself in person to the Gardai who called to your parents house, they will probably have no option but to arrest you and bring you in front of the local district court where the judge may or may not give you bail. What might be an option is to phone the Garda who issued the summons against you in the first place, explain that you made a mistake over the dates and offer to turn up at the next sitting of the district court named on the summons. Then when you meet the Garda inside or outside the court, he will formally arrest you and bring you in front of the judge.
At that stage you can either have a fully briefed solicitor at the ready and let the case go ahead, or bring a person of means ready to go bail for you if the case is adjourned to a future date and the judge isn't prepared to release you on your own bail. The fact that you voluntarily turned up on the day would be in your favour and a lot of judges would probably be prepared to give you your own bail but as you say that it's down the country, it's probably not worth taking the risk that the judge won't release you on your own bail so you really will need to have someone ready to go bail for you.
Whether you get bail or not will largely depend on the mood the judge is in but also what the local Garda says so be very nice and apologetic to him and he will probably tell the judge that there's no objection to you getting your own bail.
Thanks for the reply - more worried now but I know it's my fault.
Do you know if I would be going to court in Dublin or have to go down the country where it happened?
The first thing to do is get the Garda onside. Contact him directly (not anyone else in his station) and explain to him that you got the dates mixed up. Ask him when would it be suitable to meet at the next court sitting in the district. When you meet him on that date he will formally arrest you to execute the warrant. Be sure to have legal representation and treat the Judge with respect. Be prepared to aploogise, or your solicitor, profusely as you will need to get bail again. It might be no harm to have some friend present with a bank statement who will go bail for you in case the Judge wants a surety
You will be brought to a Dublin court to execute the warrant, but more than likely you will be remanded back to the court down the country unless you plead guilty on the first day and the Garda is in possession of the facts of your case.
Make contact with the Garda who called, and make an appointment to have the warrant executed, if you do this and don't have a history of failing to turn up to court you will get bail, unless the offence you committed is very serious.
It has to be the Court that issued the Bench Warrant. Sort it out, either in person or through a solicitor most AGS agree to arrest at a set place and time, that is 10:30 am on the day the court is sitting outside the Court, (BTW that's says to the Judge its ok it was a mistake). You do not want to ignore this AGS can and may arrest you at you home or place of work.
If you do the right thing it will more than likely be turn up get bail and get new date.
Arrests at the court house won't happen in Dublin. They process prisoners through the stations first.
The most efficient way to sort it is to have it executed by the Garda who is prosecuting your case at the country court.
If you present yourself to any member of the Gardai near to where you live, you will be immediately arrested and brought before the next sitting of the local (Dublin) district court, this will probably involve you being locked up somewhere for the night.
No judge in Dublin will hear the case, if you're lucky you will be remanded on bail (most likely with an independent surety) or in custody, in either case the remand will be back to the court that issued the warrant, the court that you were summonsed to in the first place.
Why would a judge in Dublin hear the case when the prosecuting Garda and the witnesses are all down the country?
BTW, judges only issue bench warrants for serious cases where there is a reasonable prospect that the defendant will get a jail sentence if found guilty. Do you not have a solicitor at this stage, and if you do, did he/she not appear in court on the day?
As it is a bench warrant, talk to a solicitor practising in the court area involved.
Agree with advice to contact the Gárda involved directly
I rang the station where the Garda was but he is not back until Friday so can't get to talk to him before then.
When the Guards came my mother told them that I would be back today and where I worked. They didn't even know I was up in court over this so had a bit of explaining to do. I don't want them calling back or coming to arrest me so I am going to go down tomorrow like they said so I don't get arrested over this.
I've only ever been in court before for driving stuff and got that over and done with on the day. That was in the courts just behind the Four Courts.
When I was asking about Dublin or the country I meant would I have to be brought down the country for the warrant to be dealt with but from what people said here that will be done in Dublin.
The case is for public order and criminal damage - I'd never get jail for that - would I? The date I missed was the first day in court - as it was down the country I was going to get a solicitor when I went down to court - didn't think it would make sense to get a Dublin solicitor.
Just a couple more questions from what people said:
If I go down to the station in the morning what will happen there?
Will they tell me what court I am going to - so that I can get someone to come with me just in case I need that surety?
Could I just bring some cash with me so I could use that if there was any problem with getting bail?
Will I be able to speak to one of the solicitors when I get taken to court tomorrow - don't have one yet?
Will I just be sitting in court with the Guard until I get called?
I've already told you twice what will happen and so did MagicSean who is a serving member of AGS. Read the xxxxing posts FFS.
Rather than letting yourself get arrested would it not be better to get a set aside. That should give you a chance to have the case heard again and should stop the warrant being served.
That's what I'd be doing, wilfully getting yourself arrested sounds like madness.
A bench warrant can not be set aside, also the case has not been heard. The normal in such cases is that the accused agrees to be arrested and brought before the DJ if the court decides it was a mistake then bail will be set and the matter listed for another day. But the person has to be arrested as a DJ has made an order of arrest.
We don't know the case hasn't been heard, can't see it. Could be a delay in warrant being served if set aside would change conviction if op turned up with his license and insurance for instance.