Types of Warrants in a Florida Criminal Case
Even if you have a general understanding of what a warrant is, you might be surprised to learn the details and intricacies of the different kinds of warrants under Florida law. There is much confusion about the three types, which is further compounded by the fact that warrants are used in a variety of contexts. Still, in most cases, there is but one result when you receive a warrant: You WILL be going before the judge in a criminal courtroom and must do everything in your power to protect your rights.
If you received a warrant or have reason to believe you will soon be served with one, it is critical to retain legal counsel at the earliest possible moment in a criminal case. While a Fort Lauderdale warrants lawyer will tackle the legal details, some information on the types of warrants in Florida may be helpful.
Arrest Warrants: Many criminal cases do not start with an arrest at the scene of a crime; instead, law enforcement conducts investigative efforts before filing charges. When they believe they have probable cause that you committed a crime, police may seek an arrest warrant according to the process outlined in the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Officers must prepare an arrest warrant in writing, along with an affidavit describing the nature of the offense, the individual to be charged, and other details. Once the judge signs it, police have grounds to make a lawful arrest and bring you into court to face the charges stated in the warrant.
Bench Warrants: This type of warrant will not immediately lead to an arrest, but it does have important legal implications. When you willfully disregard a court order, you are considered to be in contempt of court. Officials need legal grounds to bring you into court to respond to the contempt allegations, so the court can issue a bench warrant to force your appearance. This type of warrant may result from:
- Failure to show up on court for a traffic ticket or related violation
- Nonpayment of child support
- Ignoring a subpoena
Violation of Probation Warrant: If you are on probation in connection with a criminal case, you are legally obligated to comply with all terms established by the court. Failure to adhere to these conditions could be considered a violation of probation (VOP), which could lead your probation officer to request that the judge issue a VOP warrant to bring you into court. Depending on the violation and other factors, your probation could be revoked – at which point you could be sentenced for the underlying crime.
Get Legal Assistance from a Florida Warrants Attorney
Warrants are yet another aspect of criminal law that can be confusing if you do not have a legal background – but, unfortunately, your case will only get more complicated from the point that you receive it. For more information on warrants and your legal options, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik at our offices in Fort Lauderdale. We can set up a case evaluation to review your circumstances and get started on defense strategies.