Quashing a Warrant

The Process of Quashing a Warrant

  • To quash a bench warrant in Pierce County Superior Court, you must come to our offices in Suite 334 (949 Market Street) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • To quash a bench warrant in Tacoma Municipal Court, you must go in person to Room 841 in the County-City Building (930 Tacoma Avenue South).
  • To quash a bench warrant in Pierce County District Court, please contact Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel (DAC) at (253) 798-6062. Depending on the type of warrant and the amount of bail, in certain circumstances DAC may be able to set the quash hearing for you. Otherwise, you may be directed to the District Court Clerk’s office, Room 239, in the County-City Building (930 Tacoma Avenue South).

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is issued by a judge when a defendant violates the rules of the court. Most often, the defendant has simply failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance. Once a bench warrant is issued, the police can treat it like any other arrest warrant - and use it to bring the accused back in front of the judge.

By contrast, the arrest warrant process is started by a police officer. The officer files a statement with the judge explaining why he believes that the person named has committed a crime (in legalese, the officer is showing "probable cause" to arrest the person). If the judge is convinced, she signs the warrant, and the police can make the arrest. That doesn't mean that police officers must go running back to court for arrest warrants for every purse-snatcher they see, however. Many arrests do not require a warrant at all. The most typical use of an arrest warrant is when an officer wants to nab an unsuspecting suspect in the comfort of his or her own home. Simply busting down the suspect's front door in such a non-emergency situation would be neither polite nor legal.