bench warrant

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A bench warrant is a process or a legal document issued by the court itself or from the “bench” for the detainment or arrest of a person in a criminal or civil court proceeding, either in a case of contempt, especially when the criminal defendant is on bail or a witness under subpoena does not appear for trial, or where an indictment has been filed against the defendant. 

[Last updated in January of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]