Dealing with FL Warrants
There are many reasons that one can get a warrant (also known as a capias under certain circumstances). It can be issued due to your failure to appear in court. The judge will usually set a bond amount in those circumstances, which allows you to post that bond and turn yourself in. Another situation is where one accused of violating their probation (VOP). If the case is a misdemeanor, in the majority of cases, the judge will issue a warrant with a bond amount, and again, you can simply turn yourself in and bond out. It should be noted that, even on misdemeanors, the judge has discretion to issue a “no bond” warrant which means that you will not be able to bond out immediately. For felonies, judges will almost always issue “no bond” warrants. It should be noted that by hiring an attorney, whether before or after an arrest on such a warrant, that I can get you set in front of a judge for a bond hearing as soon as possible, where the judge has discretion to then set an actual bond allowing you to be released on bond, or in some cases, even ROR. There is no guarantee, and it is difficult but not impossible to accomplish this. It should be further noted that whether it is a “technical” violation or not, that a “no bond” warrant, particularly for a felony is not only legal but considered the norm. One final possibility is that the State does what is called a “direct file” charge. In these cases, the State alleges that you committed a crime at some time in the past, but you never got arrested for it. It can happen in any criminal case, but is often seen in domestic violence cases, drug sale and possession cases, theft cases, and even DUI crashes, among others.
So what should one do about an outstanding warrant. First, if possible, meet with an attorney so that you have representation from the very beginning. Furthermore, in some very limited circumstances, it may be possible to avoid a jail turn-in and go directly to the judge. It is a myth, however, that this can be done in every case. In fact, it is unusual to do it this way. I have been able to do it situations where you have an amenable judge willing to do in the first place, but also depending on the facts and circumstances of your case as to why there was a warrant issued. Another thing you can do to help yourself is to call a bondsman, any bondsman, as they will have information about your warrant that often only they know and the prosecutor knows, and is not available to the general public, including defense attorneys in some cases.
For out-of-state clients that have Florida warrants, it can be tricky and confusing, especially when it comes to extradition and ability to extradite someone from another state. As a VERY general rule, the further away from Florida, the less likely that Florida will agree to let that state extradite you. Also, as a VERY general rule, the more serious the crime, the more likely that Florida will extradite you back regardless of location. As noted, this is in general. There have been several times that the State wants a person back in Florida to “answer for their crime” so bad that they will go to great lengths to get them back. This can happen in DUI cases, Domestic Violence cases, and other misdemeanors, as well as more serious felonies. So, don’t assume Florida doesn’t want you. Probably the biggest misconception is that once you are arrested in another state on a Florida warrant, and Florida chooses not to extradite you, then the case is over. I can’t emphasize enough that, even if Florida doesn’t extradite you, the Florida warrant NEVER GOES AWAY. It will stay there until you either return to Florida to resolve it, or hire an attorney to assist in resolving it, and sometimes both are required. In other words, if you get arrested but not extradited in one state, you can still be legally extradited in 49 other states. It is crucial to call our office as soon as possible in order to mitigate any outstanding warrants if you live out of state so that I can take steps to help your case.
It should also be noted that if you ever leave the country and get stopped at a border checkpoint, whether it be Canada, by air, or by sea, you WILL be detained. The same very general rules apply regarding extradition, but the wait tends to be longer at the border than in other places stopped.
While there are many reasons one personally feels that they should hold off dealing with a warrant, the fact is that usually the longer you wait to deal with the case, then the harder it is to get prosecutors to deal fairly with your case, as they view you as a fugitive from justice, who is just trying to avoid the law. As an experienced criminal defense attorneys, I have been able to explain to prosecutors the possibly good reasons for delay and try to work not only avoidance of arrest, but mitigation of the case itself, whether it be a VOP, an open charge, or a Failure to Appear. Call our office today to see what I can do to help you with your warrant situation.