What is Bench Warrant?

Legal Definition
An arrest warrant issued directly by a sitting judge or magistrate to a law-enforcement officer in a criminal or civil court proceeding. The bench warrant authorizes the arrest of an individual who has been held in contempt of court, especially when the criminal defendant on bail makes a nonappearance or when a witness under subpoena does not appear for hearing or a trial. In the event that an individual was on bail, the court will usually set a higher bail amount or eliminate bail altogether.
Legal Definition
Crim. law. The name of a process sometimes given to an attachment issued by order of a criminal court, against an individual for some contempt, or for the purpose of arresting a person accused; the latter is seldom granted unless when a true bill has been found.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Process issued by the court itself, or "from the bench," for the attachment or arrest of a person; either in case of contempt, or where an indictment has been found, or to bring in a witness who does not obey the subpoena. So called to distinguish it from a warrant, issued by a justice of the peace, alderman, or commissioner.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A warrant issued by a judge for one’s apprehension.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary