When a warrant is issued for your arrest, a court has authorized law enforcement to arrest you because they have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. Once an arrest warrant is issued, it will remain active until you are arrested, which can happen at any time or place.
If you fail to appear in court on a scheduled date, a bench warrant can be issued for your arrest, even if you didn’t receive the notice. No matter what alleged offense you have a warrant for, here is some important information you should know about responding to the warrant and getting legal help.
How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant for Your Arrest
The best way to find out if you have a warrant out for your arrest in Florida is to search the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Wanted Persons database. The online search is free and will list the offense for which the warrant is issued as well as the reporting agency or county.
However, not all warrants issued are available immediately on the Wanted Persons database. You can also search the sheriff’s office website in the county where the crime allegedly occurred or contact the appropriate county clerk’s office.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
If you have a warrant out for your arrest in Florida, retain the help of a criminal defense attorney immediately. Your lawyer will advise you on the best way to turn yourself in, how much time you can expect to spend in custody, and possible bond.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a lawyer might also have the warrant recalled so you can post bond without being taken into custody.
Turn Yourself In
Ignoring a warrant won’t make it go away; in fact, evading one can cause you to face a harsher punishment later. But you can maintain some control over the situation by turning yourself into the precinct of the issuing jurisdiction.
If you enter custody, don’t answer any questions asked by police until you retain an attorney, if you haven’t already.
The police can arrest you in any location if you don’t turn yourself in, including your home or your place of work. An unexpected visit from the police creates an uncomfortable situation for you and your family. Turning yourself in can avoid a humiliating scene.
Minimize Time Spent in Jail
Talk to your attorney to make sure you turn yourself into the correct location. Appearing at the wrong one results in you being extradited to the issuing jurisdiction, which means you’ll spend more time in jail than necessary.
Generally, the best days of the week to turn yourself in are Tuesday through Thursday, when the sheriff’s department is less likely to be busy.
It is wise to turn yourself in first thing in the morning if you can post bond. You can also go in the evening if there is no bond, so you can be processed quickly and appear in court.
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you know has an arrest warrant out in Florida, don’t wait to contact a criminal defense attorney. Partnering with a lawyer can help you understand your rights and decide the best course of action to resolve the warrant properly and efficiently.View All Blogs