Having a warrant out for your arrest can be a scary time in your life. You could be picked up any time, even while at work. It could cause you to lose your employment and therefore your means to pay for your home. However, if you have a warrant out, there may be another way to resolve the situation. A Tampa warrant lawyer may be able to help you have the warrant withdrawn so that you don’t have to worry about being arrested at any given time.
There are several different types of warrants and each case has to be handled differently depending on what type of warrant you have.
A probable cause warrant is a warrant that is issued if police have investigated a case against you and determined that they have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. This warrant is issued before the state attorney’s office has had a chance to look at the case and has made a charging decision. It is extremely important to hire a Tampa warrant attorney as soon as possible if you have this type of warrant. Your attorney can then speak to the state attorney’s office and may be able to help you avoid the state filing charges against you or your attorney may be able to convince the state to file a reduced charge (maybe even a misdemeanor instead of a felony).
A bench warrant or capias is issued if you fail to appear in court for a case. A criminal defense attorney who handles arrest warrants may be able to help you have this warrant lifted so that you don’t have to worry about being arrested and can then handle your case.
A direct file warrant is issued after the state attorney’s office has reviewed your case and has made a decision to file criminal charges against you. This warrant is used to start the court process to handle that case against you.
A probation violation warrant is issued you have failed to abide by the conditions of your probation. A lot of times a probation violation warrant does not have a predetermined bond, which means that if arrested you may sit in jail until the court sets a hearing in your case. Sometimes this can be a long time. A Tampa warrant lawyer can not only help you fight the actual violation but he or she can also help you get a sooner court date so that you can hopefully be released as soon as possible.
A juvenile pick up order is a warrant that is issued by a judge in juvenile court for example if a juvenile fails to appear in court.
A fugitive from justice warrant is issued if you have an outstanding warrant from another state. If you are picked up on an out of state warrant in Florida, the Florida judge will not have the ability to change the conditions or the bond that is attached to this warrant. But Florida will have a hearing while you are in jail in Florida and before the other state is going to pick you up. A warrant attorney may be able to help you shorten the time until you are picked up and, therefore, shorten the time until you can be released.
An out of county warrant is a warrant from another county in Florida that was issued either because you failed to appear in another county or because you may have violated your probation or are wanted for a crime.
How you resolve an outstanding warrant depends on the circumstances in your particular case and what kind of warrant was issued in your case. An attorney can help you figure out the circumstances surrounding your warrant. An attorney can:
Check what type of warrant was issued in your case,
Whether or not you are able to bond out,
If you don’t have a bond or if you can’t afford the bond,
an attorney can help you lower the bond or possibly get a bond. Another concern is also that arresting officers may try to ask you questions about the case when you are arrested. An attorney can help you invoke your constitutional right to remain silent so that you don’t say something that then maybe used against you at a later time.
A Tampa warrant lawyer cannot only help you with the warrant but he or she can also help you with the entire case.
There are several ways to check whether or not there is a warrant out for your arrest. One way is to check the Florida statewide database of all of the warrants that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has. This database shows warrants from any county in Florida. You can check this database at the following website: http://pas.fdle.state.fl.us/pas/restricted/PAS/person/WantedPersons.jsf. Some counties in Florida also have a local database online that you can check to see whether or not there is a warrant out for you in that particular county. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office allows you to search for active warrants at the following website: https://webapps.hcso.tampa.fl.us/WarrantInquiry.
Unfortunately, those online databases are not always up to date and may be a day or even more behind. That means that even though nothing shows up on those online databases, you may still have a newly issued warrant out for your arrest.
Many people may not find out that there is an active warrant for them until they receive a letter or postcard from a bail bondsman stating that there is a warrant for their arrest.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has what is called a “Self-Arrest” Program. The program was established in 2005 and it allows defendants who have an active warrant for their arrest to turn themselves in on the warrant and post bond. If you use the self-arrest program, which is also called “walkthrough” you will avoid being arrested by surprise at home or at work and it will also save you time because you will not be fully booked into the jail, you will not have your belongings taken and inventoried, you will not be medically evaluated and be put in jail clothes. Instead you just go in ready to post bond and the jail will verify your identity, fingerprint and photograph you and assign you a booking number. In most cases you will be in and out within 20 minutes to 2 hours. The self-arrest program is only available Monday - Friday between 9am and 3pm except on holidays.
In order to qualify for the self-arrest program, you must have a reasonable bond already assigned for your case, you must have a valid Florida ID and be dressed appropriately. A bondsman will be able to tell you whether or not you are eligible.
When you have a warrant for your arrest in Tampa, Plant City or anywhere else in Hillsborough or the surrounding counties, it is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the process the particular county and judge uses. An attorney who is familiar with the county where your warrant was issued can help you make the best argument to have your bond lowered or have the warrant set aside because he or she will know what the particular judge is looking for.
Kerstin Wade has over 10 years of experience handling criminal cases and warrants in the greater Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas and surrounding counties. Kerstin Wade knows the judges in the area and can help you put together the best arguments for your circumstances. If you hire her early enough, she will be able to attend your first appearance hearing, if necessary, and make the best possible argument to have your bond lowered or possibly even have you released on your own recognizance (ROR). If you have an outstanding warrant in Tampa or Plant City or anywhere else in Hillsborough or other surrounding counties, call Kerstin Wade today at 813-401-0130 for a free consultation.