I Have A Warrant From Florida But Now Live Out Of State, What Can I Do?
Fighting your criminal case from your home state
We often get calls from people who no longer live in Sarasota or Bradenton, Florida yet have an active warrant form their time here. Sometimes the warrant is recently issued. However, in some cases the warrant is several years old.
Warrants do not just "go away"
Warrants, particularly felony warrants in Sarasota and Bradenton, do not go away. Old warrants can cause problems with employment, home rental, and social security benefits. It is often in one's best interest to take care of the warrant.
The following are some ways that the warrant can be removed so that it is no longer active:
Turning yourself in on the warrant
Typically, the best way to turn yourself in on a warrant is to arrange what is commonly called a "walk through" with a local bonds person. A walk through generally involves meeting up with a bonds person before you arrange to turn yourself in and completing all necessary papers and paying the bonds person. The bondsman will then go with you to the jail and arrange for the walk through. You will then be processed and (because the bond has been paid) released.
This is usually the fastest way with which to turn yourself in on an arrest warrant. After you are released the warrant will show as "executed" (no longer open and active), the criminal case will officially be "opened," and you will be given the date of your first court appearance, called an arraignment.
Waiving your appearance for the arraignment so you do not have to go
If you live out of state, it may be important to you to have your appearance waived for the arraignment. If your appearance is waived by an attorney, you will not need to go to the arraignment (unless your attorney instructs you otherwise). Your attorney can then fight to defend your case while you are out-of-state.
Waiving your appearance for pre-trial conferences
Misdemeanor criminal charges in Sarasota and Bradenton are assigned, after the arraignment, to pre-trial conference court dates. We can waive your appearance to these court dates also so that you do not have to go. An attorney with our firm will go on your behalf. Of course, we keep you informed as to what happened in court and as to the status of your case.
Felony charges are assigned to case management dates.
Although our local judges typically will require the defendant's presence to these, oftentimes we can agree or stipulate with the prosecutor as to the next court date, which will essentially continue the case and cancel the case management. Thus, you will not be required to attend as the case management will be canceled. Also, in some cases if you are out of state, a motion can be filed with the judge requesting that your appearance be waived for the case management.
Please be aware that attendance at criminal court dates is mandatory and you must attend unless you have been advised by your attorney not to.
Can my case be resolved without me having to come back to Florida?
In some cases, yes. If after the warrant is resolved, and the case opened, the state attorney can be convinced that the case is weak and to drop the case entirely, then of course you do not have to come back. If the felony case is not dropped, you will often have to come back at some point to resolve the case, whether that means take it to trial or accept some sort of plea offer.
However, if the case is a misdemeanor, and the charges are not dropped, it may be possible to resolve the case with a plea in absentia. A plea in absentia is literally a plea without the person being present.
If you are interested in hiring and attorney please feel free to contact our law firm at (941) 444-5128. We will be happy to spend the time with you to discuss your situation and plan your best strategy.
The above information is general information regarding court dates in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida. The above information is not meant to be taken as legal advice. Do not use the above information to strategize about your case. Be sure to contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and the best course for you to take.
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