New York Traffic Arrest Warrants & Bonding: 20 Tips | Law Office of James Medows

29 May New York Traffic Arrest Warrants & Bonding: 20 Tips

New York Traffic Arrest Warrants & Bonding: 20 Tips

Traffic tickets can be very easy to forget, especially since there is no email reminder, text reminder, or convenient deadline reminder for paper tickets as discussed at Instead, the reminder for some people is an arrest warrant for unintentionally failing to pay their ticket. This article will look to discuss New York traffic arrest warrants and how to go about things if you get one.

When will an arrest warrant be issued?

According to, if you fail to pay traffic fines or fail to appear in court, a bench warrant could be issued for your arrest. Law enforcement and district courts take unpaid tickets very seriously hence why bench warrants are issued in such situations.

How serious is a bench warrant?

A bench warrant is very serious. When a bench warrant is issued against your name for failing to pay traffic fines or appear in court, you could be taken into custody immediately by police if you are stopped for any reason and the office determines that there is an active warrant for your arrest.

Reasons for a bench warrant

Failure to appear in court

Under New York law, a judge can order a bench warrant for several different legal violations, and failure to appear in court is one of the most common ones. If you are required to attend court to respond to a traffic ticket or to face charges for a criminal traffic offense and you do not come to court at the appointed time, a bench warrant may be issued.

Failure to complete required rehab or counseling

This is another reason that may lead to a bench warrant being issued as discussed at If you are mandated to attend a rehabilitation program after a drunk driving arrest or drugged driving arrest and you do not complete the program, a judge could issue a bench arrest warrant.

Failure to pay a fine

Also, if you fail to pay a traffic citation and do not fight the ticket, or if you fail to pay any fine that has been ordered by the court, then this could result in a bench warrant being issued for your immediate arrest.

Violating any other court order or legal requirement

The law requires that any court order issued by the judge be considered to be binding and to be abided by. If you are found to be in violation of any other court order or legal requirement, then you could be held in contempt of court for your violation, which could result in a bench warrant being issued against your name.

These are the common reasons why bench warrants are issued in New York.

What is the purpose of a bench warrant?

As is articulated in detail over at, the purpose of the court issuing a bench warrant is to ensure that you are taken into custody so that you can be made to appear before a judge and resolve the underlying legal issues. It is meant to ensure that you are brought to court where you can face your charges.

Dangerous myths about traffic arrest warrants

It is just a traffic ticket warrant, I won’t be arrested

This is a common myth as most people think arrest warrants for traffic tickets are not taken seriously. But it is totally untrue. A warrant for your arrest issued by a court is a warrant for your arrest and can be enforced by any law enforcement agency in New York. Open warrants for traffic tickets will result in your arrest the next time you get pulled over by a police officer. Law enforcement officers can also actually show up at your home or place of work to arrest you.

If I get arrested, I will just pay the fine at the jailhouse

In most jurisdictions, you won’t be able to pay the fine until after you are bonded out of jail. This is because police officers and jailers don’t have the authority to lift an outstanding warrant; they can only find you and arrest you as discussed at Only a court can lift your warrant. Your fine(s) will be owed to the court and there usually isn’t any way to pay the court from jail.

Overworked police officers have bigger fish to fry

As already mentioned, if you are stopped for a ticket, any existing open warrant anywhere in New York will come up in the officer’s routine computer check. In the vast majority of cases, the officer will arrest you, impound your automobile, and take you to jail. In certain circumstances, with other urgent police calls pending, an overworked police officer may decide not to arrest you, but such instances are extremely rare and it is dangerous for your freedom to depend on such an unlikely scenario. While busy police officers may not like doing it and would rather be doing other police work, they will arrest you if you have an outstanding warrant.

If they don’t find me, I’m good until they do

As per, there are effective ways for jurisdictions to deal with outstanding warrants and their unpaid fines. For instance, a freeze could be placed on the auto registration of those who owe a city or county in New York money, which could block your ability to renew the annual registration of your vehicle. Such a block means that you won’t be able to drive with a current license registration, which greatly increases your chances of being pulled over for expired registration, your warrant being found, and you being arrested.

Warrants expire after a year

This is one of the most dangerous myths of them all, and it is simply not true. Warrants never expire, and if you have a traffic arrest warrant issued against your name, it will remain outstanding until it is lifted by you settling the underlying legal issue(s).

I can’t afford to pay so I shouldn’t worry about arrest warrants

You should know that your inability to pay your fines won’t absolve you from the traffic ticket, its fine, and any resulting arrest warrant. Remember also that one unpleasant way to “pay” your fine is with jail time. However, courts consider jail term a last resort, which is why most of them, if not all of them, allow payment plans where you can pay off the fine in a judge-approved pre-scheduled plan. Regardless of your financial situation, the ticket must be resolved in some way with the court, or it will lead to your arrest and even more fines and bonding costs if you simply ignore your ticket because of finances as per

Penalties and consequences of a bench warrant

Your arrest

The obvious consequence of a bench warrant being issued against your name is that you could be arrested at any moment and be taken into custody as a result of any interaction with the police. If you are pulled over for an unrelated issue and a law enforcement officer runs your license, the bench warrant will show up on the computer, which can result in your immediate arrest.

Mental anguish

Having an arrest warrant issued against your name can be nerve-wracking as you will be living under the threat of being arrested at any moment. It can be frightening to live with the uncertainty of knowing that police can arrest you at any time.

Other additional consequences

If you are taken into custody unexpectedly, which is always likely to happen with a bench warrant, this could cause you to experience additional legal consequences and complications. For instance, your car could end up being towed, or you could find yourself in trouble at work when you are not able to show up because you have been arrested as a result of your bench warrant.

These are just some of the consequences you risk exposing yourself to with a bench warrant.

Is there a statute of limitation for bench warrants?

Just like the way arrest warrants never expire, the court can also issue a warrant years after you were first ticketed. There is no statute of limitations or set date by which the courts must issue an arrest warrant according to Any county can turn a legal issue into a bench warrant at any time – even a decade later.

How can I check to see if I have outstanding tickets or warrants?

You can check the New York State Department of Transportation website for a search option or look into your own driving record online. By searching your name and information, you can often find any outstanding issues that may come back to cause larger problems.

Your warrant can easily follow you across state lines

If you think your traffic arrest warrant is only binding in New York, think again. This is because the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) spans all 50 states, which means that your tickets or warrants can easily follow you across state lines.

Should I just pay the ticket to clear the warrant?

While it is true that going to a court and “just paying” your ticket that has gone into a warrant will lift the warrant so that you won’t get arrested, it will result in other issues. “Just paying the ticket” will result in a conviction and could cause additional costs, including increased insurance premiums, and driving license suspensions. It is better to get a qualified attorney like who will lift the warrant, plead the case to avoid convictions and reduce the fine, court costs, and warrant and collection fees.

Remember, while helps motorists to comply with laws related to traffic citations, parking tickets, and traffic offenses so that you can avoid having a bench warrant issued, the team can also assist you in being proactive in dealing with an outstanding bench warrant.