Arrest Warrants in Florida Defined
An arrest warrant is an order issued by the court advising the police to arrest a person for breaking the law.
Under Florida Statute 901.01 a judge can issue a warrant when:
1. The Judge is satisfied that there is probable cause to issue the warrant
2. The complaint is within the judge’s jurisdiction
3. The complaint has been filed for a misdemeanor
4. The summons has been unserved on the defendant
Determining If You Have a Warrant
If you believe that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, you should first verify that you do in fact have a warrant for arrest. Your first stop to check a warrant should be the Florida Crime Information Database. Enter your information into the database, and you will receive results informing you as to the warrant status, if any. Please be aware that you can still have a pending warrant that is not posted in the database. Sometimes warrants expire, yet still appear in the database. Sometimes warrants are pending, so do not yet appear in the database.
Your second option to verify whether you have a warrant for your arrest is to check with a bail bondsman. A bail bond agency can quickly check to see if you have a warrant and what type of warrant you have. If the warrant is a preset warrant, you can arrange a time to surrender yourself, which allows you to pick the date of surrender avoid being processed by the jail and placed in general population.
A third option is to check with the local Clerk of the Court or Sheriff’s Office websites. In most counties this would be the best method to determine whether you have an arrest warrant, but in the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Duval, Clay, and Nassau) it is not necessarily the best choice. Sheriff’s Offices and Clerks in Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties only post limited types of warrants on their websites, such as for violation of probation. Most types of warrant, like those for felony offenses, are not posted online. The above Sheriff’s Offices suggest that you come in person to determine if you have a warrant. Of course, if you appear at the Sheriff’s Office and have a warrant, you will likely be arrested on the spot.
Dealing With Your Warrant
You have several options for disposing of your warrant. Once you determine what you have a warrant for your arrest, you should consult with an attorney who can help you decide the best approach and negotiate with the court to keep you out of jail.
The easiest option is to surrender yourself to the jail. If you do this, without having a preset bond, you will be arrested and processed. This means that you will be taken into jail, have a mug shot, be searched, and placed in the jail population until you have a first hearing within 24 hours and post bond.
If that option is not right for you, you may want to hire an attorney to request a court date on your behalf to appear before the court that issued the warrant and resolve the underlying issue that caused the warrant in the first place. This is the safest method to prevent being arrested and to address the entire criminal case, rather than piecemealing penalty after penalty for related matters and dragging out the case.
A third option is to work with a bail bondsman to create a surety bond. A surety bond is one in which the bondsman guarantees that you will appear for court. If you do not appear, the bondsman is on the hook. Because of the risk the bondsman incurs to make this guarantee, s/he will require you to pay at least 10% of the bond cost to the bond agency. You may also be required to provide collateral for the other 90% of the bond cost. Collateral is usually something like the title to your vehicle or the deed to your home. If you do not appear, the bondsman can collect on the collateral.
No matter which way you decide to deal with your warrant, it is always better to address it sooner rather than later because waiting may result in the police arresting you in an inconvenient place at an inconvenient time—like at work. Your most secure method is to hire an attorney to advocate on your behalf and to serve as a buffer between you and the court.
Hire an Attorney You Can Trust
As an Experienced Public Defender, attorney David Cronin has represented thousands of clients like you in cases ranging from misdemeanor assault to major felony offenses. David Cronin has been practicing law throughout Florida for nearly 20 years- working directly with people who are facing harsh penalties for mistakes they wish they could undo. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and will fight not only to reduce your penalties, but also to uphold your rights, because your rights matter too.
Call (904) 239- 6047 for a free consultation today.The Law office of David Cronin defends in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. John’s counties.