While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when faced with the possibility of an arrest warrant, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Proactive measures are your best defense against the consequences of a potential arrest.
It’s best to avoid assuming that an arrest warrant exists unless you’ve taken steps to confirm it. Confirming the existence of the warrant allows you to confidently move forward with the next steps.
One of the simplest and most reliable ways to confirm a warrant is to perform a Wanted Persons Search with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
After inputting your information, the database will display any warrants that have been recently reported by law enforcement agencies in Florida that were authorized for public release.
You can also try searching a county-level database, if applicable. Most counties don’t display this information online, but some do, including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Unfortunately, in most cases, warrants are NOT made public prior to the arrest of the person sought, therefore it is extremely difficult and frustrating when you are stuck wondering if there is a warrant.
If you confirm the existence of a warrant, or if your search results are inconclusive, your next step should be to contact a criminal defense attorney.
They can take further steps to confirm the warrant, determine its status, and advise you on your best course of action.
Your attorney can also get ahead of the situation by beginning to work on your defense, even before you’re taken into custody. This means you’ll be better prepared to face the police and possible legal proceedings.
Again however, this may turn into additional frustration, as law enforcement will not and is not required to tell anyone, including your attorney if there is a warrant for your arrest.
The relationships we have built with law enforcement do sometime lead to us being able to learn more than you could on your own.
Once you’ve consulted with an attorney and have a clear understanding of the situation, you can make an informed decision about your next steps.
In some cases, it may be possible to arrange a voluntary surrender with your attorney’s assistance. This option can help you avoid being arrested at your home or place of work.
If voluntary surrender is the best course of action, your attorney may instruct you to appear at a specific law enforcement agency on a specific date and time. The police will take you into custody and process your arrest, then a court date will be set.
Alternatively, your attorney may be able to get the warrant recalled by filing a motion with the court, or arrange for you to surrender in court, where a judge can immediately set bond.
Many times warrants have a bond amount set when they are issued. Prior to turning yourself in, your attorney can help you arrange to do a walk through, which means you are processed in, bonded out immediately and processed out.
Alternatively, if there is no bond on the warrant, after you’re brought into custody, a judge might set bail. If bail is set, you must pay it in order to be released pending trial.
The amount of bail varies and largely depends on the nature of the crime and your prior criminal history. The money is returned after you attend all court hearings.
Preparing to post bail ahead of time can make the process smoother. If you’re unable to post the full bail amount, you may be able to utilize the services of a bail bondsman.
These professionals allow you to pay a portion of your set bail, charge a fee for their services, and often require some form of collateral. Choose a bail bondsman in advance so you’re ready to post bail when the opportunity arises.
Your trial may be weeks or months or even years away, and there’s much work to be done in the meantime. After you post bail and are released, you should continue to work with your attorney to prepare for trial and any pretrial court hearings.
This may involve reviewing evidence, meeting with witnesses, or participating in plea negotiations. The more time and energy you invest in preparing for your court date, the better chance you have of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Remember that if you’ve been issued a warrant, the smartest and safest approach is to contact a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers in Orlando as soon as possible. Reach out to Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 to schedule a consultation and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. We look forward to assisting you.