Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Too many Florida vacations end with an arrest warrant in Tampa Bay, Florida.
An Arresting Florida Vacation
Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys are often asked about how to take care of an arrest warrant in Tampa Bay, Florida. If you know there is an outstanding arrest warrant in your name, then you need to take care of it as soon as possible or you could be arrested at anytime under the warrant. 

First, what is an arrest warrant? An arrest warrant is a legal document signed by a judge establishing probable cause that a crime has been committed with details of the person who committed the crime granting law enforcement officers the right to  make an arrest of that person. 
An arrest warrant allows officers who have no knowledge of a case to arrest the suspect. This means that someone stopped for a mere traffic infraction could be arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Just as Florida honors other state's arrest warrants so other states will honor Florida's arrest warrants even if the Defendant has not actually committed a criminal act. If an arrest is made in another state then that State will place a hold on the Defendant in jail while Florida makes a decision on whether to extradite the Defendant to Florida to face criminal prosecution. 

Arrest warrants often are issued without direct notice to a Defendant so that learning of an outstanding warrant can come as a surprise to someone years after the alleged misconduct. In Florida tourists often find themselves the target of arrest warrants years after their Florida vacations end. The time lag makes mounting an effective defense of an older criminal case that much more difficult.

Once an arrest warrant has been issued in Florida, it will be listed on the FDLE web page wanted person search, in Tampa it will be listed with the Hillsborough SheriffWhat should you do if you or a member of your family finds that there's an active arrest warrant in Florida? 
It may be possible to turn yourself in on the warrant. To do this you'll need to have knowledge of the amount of the bond or the likelihood of being released on your own recognizance. If you turn yourself in at the Jail you'll either need the full amount of the bond or a bail bondsman. 
If you turn yourself into the Court, you'll need to make sure the prosecutor and the Judge have your file at the hearing or you'll wait in jail until the file is found usually at least a week or two.
The fact that you have taken action to take care of the warrant is helpful. Other factors which a Judge may look at in determining an appropriate bond for someone who has turned himself in on a warrant would be the severity of the alleged offense, whether the alleged offense was violent and flight risk, though by turning yourself in to face criminal prosecution you are an unlikely flight risk.
If you find that police in Tampa Bay, Florida have an arrest warrant against you or someone you care for, you'll need an effective criminal defense lawyer in Clearwater to find the best possible outcome.

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