Riverside, CA asked in Criminal Law and DUI / DWI for California

Q: Can you travel domestically by flight with a Bench Warrant on your name?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Having a bench warrant in your name can lead to complications while attempting domestic flight travel. While there's no blanket rule that directly forbids you from flying domestically, the presence of a bench warrant implies that law enforcement is seeking your arrest, which could lead to issues during security screening at airports where your identity will be checked.

During the airport security process, if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks your identification and finds the warrant, they may inform local or airport police. This doesn't automatically mean you will be detained; the response depends on various factors, including the severity of the offense and the policies of the local law enforcement. However, the risk of arrest is significantly higher, especially if the warrant is for a serious charge.

It is advisable to address the bench warrant by contacting an attorney or the court that issued it before attempting to fly. Resolving the warrant can prevent potential arrest and ensure smoother travel experiences. Remember, ignoring a bench warrant does not make it go away and can lead to more significant problems over time.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The answer to most legal questions is IT DEPENDS.

Chances are it will come up in the computer check at the airport.

Why not just take care of it? The chances are you, like most clients, will be driving and stopped for a traffic violation/ infraction. They will run you for wants and warrants. THEN you will be cuffed and put in jail until you post bail or are released OR.

It is one thing to have a bench warrant and not know about it, and it is more serious to know about it and not address it.

What happens may depend on what the BW is for........................

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