Floridian judges and magistrates issue warrants whenever an individual fails to attend scheduled hearings and when they've received probable cause from one of the state's law enforcement agencies.
Read on to learn if you have active warrants in Florida and what to do immediately to obtain the order's information.
How do find active Florida warrants?
Here are the actions you can take to find out if there's an arrest, search, or branch warrant assigned to your name in Florida's criminal public records:
Florida criminal records-holding agencies
Visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's official website and check around the homepage for a warrant search tool called Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC).
The tool allows residents and non-residents to search for their warrants in Florida. To access this updated database, you must register an account, log in, and provide personal information like the person's surname, first name, and date of birth.
Once you input these, the website will display a list of warrants related to your submitted keywords. Alternatively, you can check your community court's website for warrant documents.
It is worth noting that most courts regularly update their warrant information database.
Hire a Florida-licensed criminal attorney
You can also contact a criminal attorney to educate you on how to check various warrants in Florida. Specifically, your county or where you suspect the order was filed.
Attorneys have access to credible information and resources that will help them retrieve your warrants quickly.
Moreover, they can review your case and provide you with sound advice on the best action to take. Florida permits your lawyer to represent you in court and to negotiate a favorable outcome with the prosecutors.
What to do when you discover you have a pending warrant
Some people immediately attempt to flee Florida when they discover they have active warrants based on alleged criminal actions or misdemeanors.
However, that's the worst mistake you could make because the warrant will forever be waiting for you. Not to mention that the state could issue a fugitive warrant to law enforcement agencies in other states.
Discuss with your lawyer before you turn yourself in on the warrant. Experienced attorneys can work out a deal to get the warrant recalled long enough for you to post bond.
When to turn yourself into the authorities
Turning yourself into the authorities after you've discussed it with your lawyer helps you exert control over the situation.
While in the custody of the FDLE, ensure you wait to respond to any inquiry only when your attorney is in the same room.
If you doubt the importance of turning yourself in, consider the possibility of law enforcement apprehending you anywhere, including your workplace.
The embarrassment that could cause and the awkwardness may linger even after you've squashed the warrant. In Florida, the best weekdays to turn yourself in include Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The department will be less busy during this time.
Distinctions between an arrest warrant and a bench warrant in Florida
An arrest warrant authorizes police officers and prosecutors to apprehend a person if they are suspects or accessories in a crime. It usually highlights the person's name, alleged crimes, and the court where prosecutors present the suspect.
In contrast, a bench warrant is a legal document issued when a person holds the court in contempt or refuses to comply with the judge's directives.
Bench warrants have no connection with criminal investigations but with court violations. The critical distinction between an arrest warrant and a bench warrant is the reason they are issued and the level of urgency with which the court expected the police officers to deliver the suspect.
Arrest warrants have higher priorities and must be executed within a few days of receiving the order. You can retain a bench warrant for weeks until the court is willing to present a more severe warrant.
Additional types of warrants in Florida
Florida fugitive warrants
Fugitive warrants, or "Fugitive from Justice Warrants," are specifically issued to apprehend individuals who have committed crimes in a different jurisdiction. When an individual commits a crime in Florida and flees to another state to evade law enforcement, a prosecutor can request a fugitive warrant for their arrest in that state.
Individuals arrested under this order are deported to the jurisdiction where the crime was committed to face trial and receive punishment.
Florida search warrants
A court is responsible for authorizing law enforcement officials to search a specific location, but only if there is probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring. This warrant can be authorized based on a sworn written statement by a police officer.
Search warrants across all Floridian jurisdictions specify the address to be searched and the items that may be seized and provide details about any known individuals involved.
Florida judges also issue no-knock warrants for officers to search a premise without announcing themselves or bothering about the presence of the occupant.
Expiration of Warrants in Florida
Generally, warrants expire in Florida once the police successfully fulfill their objective. An arrest warrant becomes ineffective when apprehending a suspect, while a search warrant becomes invalidated ten days after issuance.
If a warrant becomes ineffective before it is executed, law enforcement officers can obtain new warrants using the same evidence or more.