Warrants / Failure to Appear

A person can have a warrant out for his or her arrest for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is a failure to appear. Missing a court date can happen in a variety of situations, including never receiving notice of the date or a simple misunderstanding. No matter the circumstances, there could be harsh consequences.

When a person fails to appear at a court date without making prior arrangements with the court, the judge can issue a warrant for his or her arrest. However, there are ways to address the warrant without actually being arrested. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate your situation.

Don't just wait for a law enforcement officer in Palm Beach County to come to your home or work to serve the outstanding warrant. Instead, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you understand your options. Depending on the judge and the circumstances, your attorney might be able to file a motion to quash or set aside the warrant so that you do not have to surrender on the warrant.

Attorney for Warrants in West Palm Beach, FL

Having an outstanding warrant could be an overwhelming burden. You may live with the constant fear of not knowing if or when you could be arrested. It is important to know there are ways to handle a warrant rather than simply being arrested. A West Palm Beach warrant lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell have years of experience on both sides of the law, and they understand how critical it is to resolve these issues. They can help you decide the best route to take when handling your warrant and work with you to ensure your rights are represented. You have options, and Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help.

Call (561) 945-8484 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. They represent clients in West Palm Beach, Wellington, Lake Worth, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Greenacres, Royal Palm Beach and the surrounding areas.


Information About Warrants and Failure to Appear


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Types of Warrants in Florida

Several different types of warrants that can be issued in Florida. The type of warrant issued depends on a variety of factors, including the type of offense committed. Generally, warrants allow law enforcement to take some sort of action. In some instances, that action could mean making an arrest. 

Bench warrants typically are issued after a person fails to appear in court for a minor offense. For instance, if a person has a court date set after a minor traffic violation or a probation violation and he or she fails to appear, a bench warrant can be issued for his or her arrest. This failure to appear warrant may seem minor, but it should be taken seriously.

Law enforcement officers generally will not search for the person based on the misdemeanor warrant. However, these bench warrants often become issues when the person is stopped for another offense, such as a traffic violation. This means if a person is stopped for speeding and an officer sees there is bench warrant for his or her arrest, the driver could be taken to jail.

If a person committed a felony offense and failed to appear in court, the court can issue a felony warrant, known as an alias capias. These often are issued for serious felony, and sometimes violent, offenses. In these cases, law enforcement would be more likely to actively pursue someone who has a warrant for his or her arrest.

Additionally, once a person is arrested, he or she likely will not be able to post bond. Instead, he or she likely will be required to stay in jail while the court schedules a new date in which he or she can appear. These are more serious than bench warrants, and they should be dealt with accordingly.


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Consequences for "Failure to Appear" in West Palm Beach, FL

The biggest consequence for failure to appear in court is having the burden of a bench warrant or a felony warrant. Although the warrants can seem minor, they can carry severe consequences. Most importantly, a person can be arrested any time or any place as a result of the warrant.

When a person fails to appear in court and a warrant is issued, law enforcement officers can take the person to jail no matter the time or place. For example, a person can be arrested while on the job or even while at school for the simple warrant that could have been resolved.

These warrants can appear any time a police officer runs a person's information. This means if an out-of-state visitor with a bench warrant is spending time in the Sunshine State and he or she is stopped by an officer, there is a chance that person could be arrested. This could have a serious impact on your personal and professional life.

No matter how long a person waits, a warrant for his or her arrest does not simply go away or disappear. It has to be resolved in some way, which can include an arrest. However, this should be a last resort. An arrest could mean jail time, fines and bonds.  A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney can help you be proactive in resolving your outstanding warrant.


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Resolving an Outstanding Warrant in Florida

Getting arrested after a bench warrant is the worst way to resolve the issue. It often can create additional punishments and drag out the already lengthy process. There are other options available when handling the warrants.

Some ways in which a person can proactively resolve his or her outstanding warrant include:

  • Self-arrest program
  • Surrendering to the police with arrangements to have an attorney present
  • Appear with an attorney in court to file a motion to surrender and petition for a quick release
  • Schedule an emergency bond hearing to attempt to lower the bond amount due to exigent circumstances
  • Petitioning the court to withdraw a bench warrant or felony warrant that was improperly issued

All of these options could be beneficial when considering the best way to resolve a warrant. Rather than simply waiting until officers make an arrest, the issue could be resolved in a simpler way. A Palm Beach County failure to appear attorney can help you get a favorable outcome.


Additional Resources

Find Warrants Information in Florida - Visit the website of the Florida Crime Information Center, a Public Access System (PAS), provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). You can search by name, race, sex, and date of birth. The FDLE database contains Florida warrant information reported by law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. If you find information about a warrant, you should then confirm that the warrant exist with the local law enforcement agency or with the reporting agency. Information on outstanding warrants is updated from the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) files every 24 hours.


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Finding a Warrant Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach County

If you have an outstanding bench warrant or a felony warrant, it is best to handle the issue before it leads to an arrest. Contact a West Palm Beach warrant attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our partners can help you deal with the issue before it creates more penalties. Call (561) 945-8484 to schedule a free consultation or

We represent clients on a variety of different types of warrants including a beach warrant, a capias, a failure to appear warrant, or a violation of probation warrant. Call (561) 945-8484 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.


This article was last updated on Monday, August 14, 2017.

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