How to Clear a Bench Warrant
In Rio Rancho Municipal Court, bench warrants are issued for people who fail to appear in court on misdemeanor offenses such as:
- Animal control or City code enforcement citations
- Possession of marijuana or paraphernalia offenses
- Minor in possession of alcohol offenses
- DWI or unlawful use of license
Bench warrants are also issued for failure to appear in court for Driving on a Suspended License citation, for failure to clear a suspended license and for failure to pay fines on any of the above offenses. If a bench warrant has been processed and signed by the judge, there is a mandatory $100.00 bench warrant fee added to any possible fines.
If a bench warrant has been processed for you, you have several ways to clear it. All bench warrants have a set appearance bond. Bond amounts may be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as a few thousand.
If you are arrested, you must post a bond to be released from custody. If you do not post a bond you will be set for arraignment at the next available court date. An appearance bond is money that you post with the Court to guarantee your appearance at all court hearings.
A "cash" bond must be cash. A "cash or surety" bond means you can either post cash or use the services of a bondsman. If you post a cash bond, you (or whoever posted the bond for you) may sign a form allowing it to be converted to fines when you are sentenced and any balance will be returned.
If you wish to avoid being arrested you may turn yourself into the Court and appear at a regular scheduled arraignment. Arraignments are held on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 AM in the Municipal Courtroom at 500 Quantum Road. To turn yourself in, you must report to the Court Clerk's office by 8:30 AM. Be aware that if you plead "not guilty", the judge may require you to post the bond or you will remain in custody.
If you have a warrant for failure to pay fines you may be able to clear it by paying the outstanding fines and bench warrant fees at the payment window. Again, please be aware that the $100.00 fee will be charged in addition to your fines. The bench warrant will not be recalled until the outstanding fines and fees are paid in full.
If you think there may be an outstanding bench warrant for you, please contact the Municipal Court at (505) 891-5999 for information. You can obtain information regarding your options and it is hoped that you can clear the warrant without being arrested.