If you believe you are under investigation, or you missed a court hearing, chances are you may have a warrant out for your arrest right now. Trying to figure out whether you have an existing warrant can be extremely stressful. You may feel as if you have to constantly look over your shoulder in order to avoid being arrested at any time. Having an outstanding warrant in Florida is something you should probably take care of sooner rather than later. Taking care of a warrant voluntarily is often a less embarrassing and more convenient way to resolve current legal problems.
Before we begin discussing ways in which you can find out if you do in fact have a warrant for your arrest in Florida, we will first discuss arrest warrants, so you have a better understanding of what they are and why they are generally issued.
What Is An Arrest Warrant?
A warrant in Florida is an order signed off by a judge or a magistrate that authorizes the police to take an individual into custody. Typically, warrants will identify the crimes in which a person is alleged of committing. The state offense is what the warrant is based on.
Police officers in Florida do not go around arresting people based on hunches. Instead, they have to seek out permission from a judge before they are able to arrest a person. This is true unless a person engages in the act of committing a crime in front of the officer. When a person is caught committing an act, they are able to take them into custody immediately.
Imagine the scenario where a person’s home was burglarized. After combing through the crime scene, officers locate a fingerprint that matches Dave. After running a criminal background check on Dave, officers find that Dave has burglarized a home in the past. At this point, officers have probable cause to request a warrant be issued in Dave’s name. Once Dave has a warrant issued, he will be given a date to appear in court. If Dave fails to show up at court, Dave will have a “no-bail warrant” issued in his name instead, which means Dave will be arrested immediately the next time he interacts with cops, and he will not be able to get out on bail.
In order to obtain a warrant from a judge, the officer must provide enough factual information to demonstrate that they have probable cause that a suspect committed a criminal offense and should be arrested for it. Once an arrest warrant is issued, law enforcement officers are able to come and arrest you at any location. Now that you have a better understanding of what a warrant is and how it is issued, it is time to determine where you can check to see if you have an active warrant out for your arrest.
Checking To See If I have An Arrest Warrant
There are various places a person can look to see if they have a warrant out for their arrest. Typically, it is recommended for individuals to check out the Florida Crime Information Database Website. This database allows individuals to review a list of warrant information in Florida after it is reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by the law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, this website will not always show every active warrant in the state, so it is important to check various websites to see if they have different information.
If your name does not come up in the database, you can check online through various counties to determine if your name is listed there. For example, you can check the Clay County website, the Duval County website, and the Nassau County website to see if you have an active warrant.
If your name does not come up in the county you search, there is still another action you can perform to see if you have an active warrant in Florida.
Other Options Not Listed
If you are unable to perform an online search to verify whether you have an arrest warrant, you can always call the Clerk of Court located in the county where you believe you have a warrant. The Clerk will be able to check your name in the system to see if you have an active warrant. If you do have an active warrant, they will be able to tell you what the offense is and other information pertaining to the case.
Finally, if you do not want to call the Clerk of Court on your own, you can contact a local bail bond agency to have them find out quickly if you have a warrant. Bail bondsmen are extremely quick to verify whether or not warrants exist. They can also determine whether you will have a preset bond, which may enable you to arrange for a walk through to voluntarily surrender. Going this route enables you to pick a date to process into the jail instead of being caught off-guard. Additionally, voluntarily surrendering will help you avoid changing into jail clothes, joining in the general prison population, or spending the night in jail while awaiting your first appearance.
A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
Regardless of whether you have an existing warrant out for your arrest, of if you have been formally charged with a criminal offense, it is imperative for you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys at Musca Law have over 150-years of combined experience helping individuals beat even the most difficult cases. contact our law firm at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible.