What do I do if I have a Florida warrant and I live out of state? The short answer is CALL ME.
The much longer answer is that it depends on whether or not the warrant is for a felony or misdemeanor crime.
FELONY WARRANTS: If you call the sheriff’s office of the county where your warrant is, they will ALWAYS tell you to turn yourself in. Do not do that. Not yet anyway.
First, hire a lawyer. A lawyer like one of the Clearwater criminal lawyers at Pawuk & Pawuk, can sometimes negotiate a lower bond, or a plea deal, before you turn yourself in. Plus, if you have a competent attorney on your side, you will be better able to negotiate the system. You will feel more comfortable and so will your family. With that said, no lawyer should make you a guarantee that they can do all of the above for you. I tell people who want me to guarantee that I can “get them off” – that I never make guarantees, and, in fact, it is unethical for a criminal defense attorney to do so. I will, however, tell you how I think your case will be resolved based on my knowledge of the law, and my experience handling other cases similar to yours.
If you need advice as to how to hire a lawyer, see my webpage on that. But whatever you do, make sure you are confident in your choice. Don’t pick the cheapest attorney because, like everything else, you get what you pay for.
Once you hire Pawuk & Pawuk to handle your warrant, we will negotiate with the State attorney to get you the best deal possible. This depends entirely on the crime charged and the facts of your particular case.
On a felony warrant you will most likely have to come to Florida and turn yourself into the jail. If you have a bond, you can bond out right away. If you do not have a bond, you might have to sit in jail for several days. Since every case is different, I can not predict an exact outcome but would be more than happy to talk to you about it if you call me. We can often negotiate a lower bond for you, however, we usually can not do that until the warrant has been executed.
On Felony warrants, when you are traveling to Florida, we always try to make things go as quickly as possible. Which is why it is important to hire the lawyer before you turn yourself in.
MISDEMEANOR WARRANTS: Misdemeanor warrants are usually easier to handle, because most judges will accept a Plea in Absentia. What that means, is that after we negotiate with the State, we then set a hearing with the judge. If the judge agrees to the terms of the negotiations, then we can mail you paperwork to sign and mail back to us. To be honest, this works best if you are in a financial position to pay off all of the fines and court costs at that time. A judge will most likely not allow an out of state defendant go on probation on a misdemeanor charge. Although it might happen if the circumstances were exceptional.
Once you mail the paperwork back to us, we go back into court, and if the judge accepts your plea in absentia, the misdemeanor warrant will be withdrawn, and your case will be over.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A FLORIDA WARRANT FOR MY ARREST: Most of the people we deal with on these types of issues have warrants from five, ten, or even 20 years ago. Most people tell me they thought the warrant would go away after a certain period of time. IT DOES NOT. Although there may be a statute of limitations issue with the warrant, we won’t know that without extensive research. And if there is a statute of limitations problem with your warrant, it requires us to set it for a motion, at which time the State will attempt to prove there isn’t a problem. We have successfully had felony charges dropped on statute of limitations issues.
If you’d like to check an see if you have a warrant, sometimes, but not always, the warrants are listed on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. Or you can check the Clerk of Court in Pinellas or Pasco Counties. Pinellas County includes St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and most of the beaches. Pasco County includes New Port Richey and Dade City.
If you have any questions about your felony or misdemeanor warrants, or even if you want to know whether or not there are any warrants for your arrest in Clearwater, Florida or New Port Richey, FL – feel free to call us. We always offer free consultations on criminal cases.