If you have an arrest warrant to your name in Florida, you could be apprehended by a police officer at any moment. Regardless of how minor the criminal offense is, this is something you should take seriously and not let damage your future.
What Is an Arrest Warrant in Florida?
An arrest warrant is a legal document signed by a judge, authorizing law enforcement agencies to arrest the named person. The document will detail the criminal offense and provide information that can help law enforcement agencies to locate you.
Arrest warrants also usually have rules regarding when officers can arrest the individual, such as during certain hours or at certain locations.
Law enforcement officers obtain arrest warrants in Florida by submitting a written affidavit to a judge. This document details why the officer has ‘probable cause’ to believe a crime has been committed. An officer without a warrant cannot make an arrest unless they see the crime taking place.
Types of Warrants:
There are various types of warrants that can be issued for many different reasons, including:
- Extradition Warrants
- Failure to Appear Warrants
- Felony Warrants
- Violation of Probation Warrants
What are Bench Warrants?
A bench warrant is similar to an arrest warrant, but it is only issued when someone has violated the rules of the court. A bench warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest an individual and is issued by a judge. They are treated exactly the same as arrest warrants.
What are Search Warrants?
Search warrants are issued by judges to authorize law enforcement to conduct a search at the specified location, to seize certain items and evidence.
A law enforcement officer must submit a written affidavit to a judge to be issued a search warrant. To convince a judge, they must have ‘probable cause to believe a crime is or has occurred at a location, or that criminal evidence may be found there.
What to Do If You Have an Arrest Warrant in Florida:
If you have an outstanding warrant to your name, you don’t need to sit around fearing an officer arriving at your home. You should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately.
Actions a Defense Attorney Can Take
They may be able to help you with solutions, such as:
- Determine the required bond amount for release or if you have a “no-bond” warrant.
- Determine if you should “motion to surrender” and negotiate the terms.
- Determine if other possible defense strategies, such as mistaken identity or lack of probable cause should be taken.
- Protect your rights against self-incrimination.
- Fight for your release from custody by scheduling an emergency bond reduction hearing to petition the court for a reasonable bond amount.
These options are often possible with minor crimes, where the accused person does not pose a threat to anyone.
It is advised that you deal with your arrest warrant fast. Don’t waste time. Failure to do so will see a range of problems and stresses arrive all at once, often in embarrassing and public circumstances – even for the most minor of traffic stops.
Do Not Make Statements to The Police
Every person has a constitutional right to remain silent. You should not make any statements without a criminal defense lawyer present, or after receiving advice from them.
- Do not make any statements to the police or any other person in custody.
- Do not make verbal or written statements.
- Be careful of what you say while using a telephone at the police department or in jail, as it may be recorded or overheard.
Bond Hearing Process
A bond is a fee set by a judge that must be paid for an individual to be released from jail.
If you have an active warrant to your name, you should call a lawyer immediately. They may be able to convince the judge to lower the bond amount. Alternatively, there may have been no bond amount set; in these scenarios, an attorney will work to get one determined.
Should I Contact a Bail Bondsperson?
Many people hire a bail bondsman to post bond for them. However, bail bondsmen will charge 10% of the total amount of the bond as their fee. They will not provide other legal services that cannot protect your future.
How Do I Know If There is an Arrest Warrant in Florida to My Name?
How To Check If I Have an Arrest Warrant in Florida?
To discover if you have an outstanding arrest warrant to your name in Florida, you can search the FDLE database. This system lists active warrants.
Select ‘search wanted persons’ and then enter your name.
Alternatively, you can contact a criminal attorney who should help you through the process of making a warrant search.
Arrests for New Offense
If an arrest warrant is for a new felony offense, then the court case and an arrest warrant will remain sealed until the person is arrested or after one year since the warrant was issued.
Court files are sealed to prevent suspects from escaping arrest.
Arrests for Failure to Appear and Probation Violations
Any arrest warrant for failure to appear or a probation violation is not sealed and the status can be determined by contacting the Clerk of the Court.
Do Warrants in Florida Expire?
Contrary to popular belief, warrants in Florida do not expire. They can be executed at any time and will be active until it is served or recalled by the judge.
Should I Seal or Expunge My Record?
A sealed record prevents the public from viewing your record unless they have a court order or are a government agency.
An expunged record means that no one, even government agencies, can view the record unless they have a court order.
They can make it far easier to get a job, get into college or find a home, as criminal activity will show up during background checks. If you wish to seal or expunge a record, whether it’s a felony crime or misdemeanor crime, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, Florida
If you have an arrest warrant to your name in Florida, then our criminal defense attorneys can help.
We’ll work to get the warrant withdrawn or resolved quickly to avoid damaging your future.
Sean McQuaid is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He has handled countless Florida domestic violence charges in his career. He is the president at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight an arrest warrant in Florida.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300