If you are reading this article, you may be wanted by the police for a crime committed in Pinellas County, Florida. If you have an active arrest warrant and law enforcement wants to find you, there are a number of ways they can do so. I know this based on personal experience. For years, I was the prosecutor who found people who were wanted.
What You Need to Know When You’re Wanted by the Police
During my time as a prosecutor in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, I covered Pinellas and Pasco counties. During my time as an Assistant State Attorney working at the Pinellas County Justice Center on 49th St, I was also a member of the Electronic Investigations Unit. This was a special unit at the State Attorneys Office set up to solve crimes, locate missing persons, and find individuals who had active warrants. I worked with local, state and federal agencies using the latest investigative techniques. I received training from the FBI, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Secret Service related to how cell phones and other electronic devices can be used to pin-point a person’s location during specific time periods in the past, as well as in real time. All smart phones now have GPS, bluetooth and wifi which enable your phone to keep track of you at all times, sometimes even if you activate all of your privacy settings. Even iPhones, which claim to be secure, are tracking you. Because everyone has a smart phone with them pretty much all of the time, these tools and techniques can be very effective tools for law enforcement in their efforts to solve crimes and locate suspects.
Now, as a criminal defense attorney, I use what I have learned to help people prepare to defend themselves and make sure law enforcement is playing by the rules. If you believe that law enforcement is looking for you, I can help.
How the Police Will Look for You
One of the most common ways to be arrested on a warrant is being stopped by the police. If you are ever stopped by law enforcement or in the car with someone stopped by law enforcement, the police will always check to see if you have an active warrant. There is a national database maintained by the FBI, so even if you move out of state law enforcement will be able to see if you have an active warrant. Once they determine that you have a warrant, they are required to arrest you and take you to jail. They will not negotiate.
Some law enforcement agencies have dedicated units whose job is to locate fugitives and people who have active warrants for serious crimes. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Violent Offender Warrants Unit proactively searches for persons with warrants for violent crimes.
Your Phone Is How They Will Find You When You Are Wanted by the Police
When you are wanted by the police, there are some things you should take into consideration.
Your phone is constantly keeping track of you at all times, day and night. Your phone communicates with cell towers, applications (apps), other phones, via its cellular signal, wifi and Bluetooth. If law enforcement knows your phone number or can find any of your social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram, they can obtain a warrant and find out your exact location and see where you live and work. Sometimes, if they have a warrant, they can even see where you are in real-time. If the police are looking for you, they can ask a judge for a warrant to locate you through your phone or social media. For example, in child abduction cases, law enforcement would work with me to obtain a warrant to track the suspect’s phone in real time and to locate the child. Oftentimes, we would be able to find the suspect’s exact location from the suspect’s cell phone company in a matter of minutes after the warrant was executed.
Another way law enforcement can find you is through social media such as Facebook or Instagram. Social media providers and Apps such as Facebook and Instagram keep track of your location and can be used by law enforcement to locate you. Additionally, if you set your profile to public or post pictures, messages, or comments online, law enforcement can use that information to find you. It is always safer to have your setting set to private regardless whether you may be wanted. For example, if you are riding down the road, using Google Maps and checking Facebook, Google will know where you are, Facebook will know where you are, and your cell phone company will know where you are. Law enforcement can and will obtain a warrant to any of those companies to find you.
As you can see by the above, if law enforcement wants to find you, they can devote tremendous resources to doing so. Having a lawyer who has handled these exact situations can be a tremendous advantage for you. I am happy to provide my insight and help.
How is an Arrest Warrant Issued?
When you are wanted by the police, there are several ways in which an arrest warrant can be issued against you: (1) law enforcement has probable cause to believe that you committed a felony; (2) law enforcement has reason to believe that you committed a misdemeanor and you fail to appear after a summons was issued; (3) you fail to appear on a criminal charge; and/or (4) you violate the terms of your pre-trial release or probation. Once an arrest warrant is issued, law enforcement all over the country will be able to see that you have a warrant and are authorized to arrest you and bring you back to Pinellas County.
Do You Think That You Are Wanted by the Police in Pinellas County?
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
If you believe that you may have a warrant, contact us immediately.
We can determine (1) whether there is a warrant, (2) what it is for, (3) the amount of your bail. With our criminal law experience, we have successfully handled every type of criminal case in Pinellas County. We specialize in Pinellas County because it gives us an advantage in knowing the techniques by law enforcement, the prosecutors, and the preferences of the judges. In some cases, we may even be able to have the judge recall the warrant or allow you to be released on your own recognizance (ROR) or on a low bond. No matter how bad you think it will be to turn yourself in, the consequences may be even worse if you wait for the police to find you.