Warrant Law and Legal Definition
A warrant is an order of a court which authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest and bring a person before the judge. A warrant may be issued when a person is charged with a crime, convicted of a crime but failed to appear for sentencing, owes a fine or is in contempt of court.
A bench warrant is a court order authorizing the seizure of a person in order for them to appear in court. It is commonly found in the situation of a person who is required to answer a charge of contempt or a witness who has failed to appear in court after proper service of a subpoena. If a person fails to appear in court when she has been properly ordered to do so, the judge is authorized to issue a bench warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to arrest someone. Arrest under a bench warrant may usually be made at any time of the day or night.
Once a bench warrant is issued, the police can treat it like any other arrest warrant -- and use it to bring the defendant back in front of the judge. By contrast, the arrest warrant process is started by a police officer.
A "search warrant" is an order permitting a law enforcement officer to search a particular premises and/or person for certain types of evidence, based on a statement by a law enforcement official who has probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be located.