A warrant is a document signed by a judge that authorizes law enforcement to take a specific action. There are three basic types of warrants utilized in the state of Florida: bench warrants, arrest warrants and warrants for failure to appear in court (alias warrant). If you or someone you know has an outstanding warrant, or have been the subject of a warrant, call our office immediately. Our attorneys are experienced in handling Florida warrant issues.
A bench warrant is a common criminal warrant that calls for an arrest. The warrant is signed by a judge. Typically, these types of warrants are issued when an individual has been notified to appear in court and has failed to appear. Failing to appear in court can result in a criminal charge if it is found that the individual intentionally failed to appear.
If you have a bench warrant out for failing to appear in court, contact our attorneys so that we can assist you. Our experienced bench warrant attorneys can seek to have the warrant lifted and arrange a future court appearance. Do not wait for law enforcement to come to your home, your place of employment or your school to arrest you.
An arrest warrant is similar to a bench warrant. The primary difference is that an arrest warrant cannot be issued without a supporting affidavit made by a law enforcement official. An affidavit is a sworn statement alleging the reasons why the warrant should be issued. A judge signs the warrant, also known as a capias, in the state of Florida, and law enforcement officials are ordered to arrest the subject of the warrant. Arrest warrants are usually issued for one of the following reasons:
- The commission of a felony
- A violation of probation
- Failure to appear in court
When a judge issues an arrest warrant, a bond amount is designated by that judge. The bond amount may be set at zero, meaning the individual cannot bond out of jail. The seriousness of the charge along with the history of the case will usually dictate the bond amount. In less serious circumstances, a judge may set a lower bond. Our attorneys can immediately request a bond hearing if you are arrested and fight for a bond amount that you or your family can afford.
Search warrants, similar to arrest warrants, require a supporting affidavit stating the facts that justify the warrant. A search warrant authorizes law enforcement to search a person or specific property for evidence that has been or is likely to be used during the commission of a crime. The law is very specific when it comes to individuals and their rights to privacy. Often, search warrants are not executed properly which can result in the violation of constitutional rights. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to contest these types of warrants.
If you failed to appear for court, it is likely a warrant has been issued for your arrest. You may find out by calling the clerk’s office, searching public records online or calling an experienced criminal defense attorney to research the issue for you. Often, especially on sale and possession cases, warrants may be issued for your arrest without your knowledge. Typically, these arrests do not happen at the time the crime took place because officers do not want to blow their covers.
You may turn yourself in so the warrant is executed. You may set a hearing and ask a judge to withdraw the warrant. It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can walk you through the process. If the warrant was issued for failing to appear for a scheduled court hearing, there may be a simple explanation for the failure to appear (FTA). If the warrant was issued for a new charge, you are best served to have an attorney present when turning yourself in because law enforcement officers can, and often times do, use this opportunity to question you about the offense(s).
You may have missed a court date, violated probation, or been accused of committing a new crime. An experienced attorney can determine the reason for the warrant and assist in having the warrant withdrawn or setting a reasonable bond.
You should arrange to turn yourself in or set a motion to withdraw a warrant. Contact our office to learn the best approach to resolve your outstanding warrant.
See our discussion regarding arrest and bail bonds for a lengthy discussion on your rights regarding bail bonds.
Not necessarily. Police may search your home if they have a search warrant. However, they may also enter and search your home if you give them permission or if there is some exigent circumstance that requires a search. Many people feel compelled to give in to law enforcement officers when they request to enter and search a home. DO NOT do this. You have a highly protected right of privacy regarding your home. Law enforcement officers should not enter your home without a warrant or some emergency that justifies a search. Even then, there are limitations. With this being said, NEVER fight with law enforcement officers. If one insists on entering your home without a warrant, do not put yourself in danger. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately so you can be properly advised. Our office accepts calls 24-7. We will promptly make ourselves available to you even if that requires responding to the scene. You have rights, make sure you know them or have access to an attorney who can advise you at a moment’s notice.
Yes. However, there must be legal justifications for the search. In other words, the officer must have probable cause or reason to believe you are armed. Additionally, you or your vehicle may be searched incident to an arrest.
A Terry Stop is another way for law enforcement to stop you under the law. An officer may briefly stop and detain you if the officer has specific articulable suspicions that you are involved or were involved in some criminal activity. Under a Terry Stop, the officer may also do a brief pat-down of your outer clothing if he or she has reason to believe that you are carrying a weapon. The law regarding Terry Stops is very specific. If you or someone you know has been the subject of a Terry Stop and have questions regarding the search and seizure, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to find out if you have a legal argument that can be asserted by filing a motion to suppress the evidence seized. Remember, identity is evidence as well and may be suppressed if obtained because of an unlawful search and seizure.
Each jurisdiction has different impound procedures. We have been successful in suppressing evidence obtained during an impound due to proper procedure not being following by local law enforcement agencies. Our attorneys maintain an up to date database of the Tampa Bay area law enforcement agency impound procedures and can advise whether the evidence was seized unlawfully in your case. If the evidence was seized unlawfully, we will promptly file a motion to suppress the evidence. These motions often result in a full dismissal of the charges and can be used to negotiate an acceptable disposition if you have multiple charges pending against you.