Do you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest? You’re not the only one. Florida police officers made over 700,000 arrests in 2017 alone. Over 43,000 of those arrests took place in Palm Beach County. In the five years between 2012 and 2017, the number of outstanding warrants in the state more than tripled.
If you have one or more outstanding arrest warrants, you can be taken into custody at any moment. That’s enough to give anyone anxiety. It’s important that you speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. A qualified lawyer can help you clear your name.
Defense Attorney for Arrest Warrants in West Palm Beach, FL
The lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have years of experience dealing with arrest warrants in Florida. We know how to work with any arrest warrant. Our attorneys will ensure you are treated fairly by law enforcement. We will also help you avoid making any mistakes that might land you in even more trouble.
Take care of your warrant on your terms. Don’t wait for the police to find you. Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today. Call (561) 557-8686 or fill out our online form. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents Palm Beach County clients in West Palm Beach, Greenacres, Boynton Beach, and other communities in South Florida.
Overview of Arrest Warrants in West Palm Beach, FL
- What is a Warrant?
- Different Types of Warrants in Florida
- How to Handle a Warrant in West Palm Beach
- Additional Resources
What Is a Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a legal document, called an order, issued by a judge. A warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to take a suspect into custody. Police may apprehend a suspect without an arrest warrant for certain violations such as driving under the influence or domestic violence.
In many cases, law enforcement must obtain an arrest warrant before arresting a person. This requirement stems from the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. The officer must complete an affidavit for review by a judge. If the judge agrees there is probable cause a crime was committed, a warrant is issued.
Police may arrest a suspect without a warrant in a handful of situations. Some of the more common situations include:
- The officer witnessed the suspect commit a misdemeanor or felony;
- The officer witnessed the suspect commit a traffic violation; and
- The officer has probable cause to believe the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
Different Types of Warrants in Florida
In most cases, a warrant must be issued by a judge for a suspect to be arrested. Three of the most common warrants are bench warrants, alias capiases, and arrest warrants.
A bench warrant is often issued when you miss a court date you were required to appear at. Even a citation for something minor like speeding or changing lanes without using your turn signal can become a warrant. Bench warrants are usually issued for misdemeanor charges.
When the bench warrant is issued, your name is entered into a database with other wanted individuals. The police aren’t likely to come after you, but your next run-in with the cops will probably result in your arrest.
The alias capias is similar to a bench warrant. The main difference is the alias capias is usually issued when a defendant fails to appear in court following a felony charge. Because the alias capias is tied to a more serious charge, you are much more likely to be actively located by law enforcement.
A judge issues an arrest warrant after an officer presents evidence a suspect has committed a crime. Arrest warrants are issued to summon people before the court to be formally charged with a crime. Arrest warrants are commonly issued for violation of probation (VOP). An arrest warrant is more serious than a bench warrant, so it is more likely police will find you, arrest you, and book you into jail.
How to Handle a Warrant in West Palm Beach
Don’t wait for the police to find you before trying to get a handle on your legal situation. If you take the first step to resolve your warrant, you’re likely to save time and energy. It may even be possible to keep you out of jail.
If a judge has issued a bench warrant for your arrest, the warrant will have a bond amount attached. A bond is an amount a defendant may pay to get out of jail and ensure they appear at their next court hearing. The booking process must be completed and charges determined before the bond amount can be established.
If you have an alias capias or a VOP warrant, no bond will be attached. This means you will need to be booked into jail while you await your hearing with the judge. You will not be able to pay money to get out of jail.
The options available to you largely depend on the nature of the violation that lead to the issuance of the warrant. It’s important you speak to one of our attorneys to discuss your unique situation as soon as possible. We will be able to guide you and help you make the best possible decision.
UCR Arrest Data | FDLE – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement hosts statewide arrest statistics on its official website. Visit this page to view arrest totals for Florida ranging from 1989 to last year. There is a separate set of data broken down by county for each year.
Warrants Division | PBSO – The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for apprehending people with outstanding arrest warrants. Visit this page to learn about the sheriff’s office and its duties. Here you can view an updated list of the most wanted fugitives in the county.
In Florida, thousands of warrants remain unserved | Sarasota Herald-Tribune – The Sarasota Herald-Tribune published an article in December 2018 reviewing the growing problem of outstanding warrants in Florida. Visit this website to read about law enforcement’s struggle to keep up with the backlog of unexecuted warrants. You can also view graphical representations of data such as which counties have the most warrants per capita.
Defense Lawyer for Arrest Warrants in West Palm Beach, FL
Warrants never expire or “fall off” your record. If you have an outstanding arrest warrant, it’s only a matter of time until you are arrested. Don’t wait until the police find you. You don’t want to be arrested in front of your coworkers, friends, family, or children. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney.
The lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have an intimate understanding of Florida’s legal system, including arrest warrants. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case, so you have nothing to lose. Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our form online. We represent clients in North Palm Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, and all across Palm Beach County.