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Florida Arrest Warrants

July 06, 2015

An arrest warrant is a court order to take a person into custody. Warrants give law enforcement officers the power to detain suspects and to take them into police custody. In Florida, an arrest warrant may be issued for a variety of reasons: Commission of a felony, extradition, failure to appear, or violation of probation.

What is a Warrant?

An arrest warrant is written document that sets forth the nature of the offense and commands that the defendant be arrested and brought before a judge. It must name or describe the person to be arrested, state the date and the county of issuance, and if the offense has bail as a right, it must state the amount of bail. The warrant must also be signed by a judge.

To issue a warrant, there must be probable cause that the person committed the crime. This means that there must be enough evidence that a reasonable, prudent person would believe that the defendant committed the crime.


When an arrest with a warrant is made, unless the suspect flees, the arresting officer must inform the suspect that the warrant exists, and must explain the cause for arrest. If an officer announces his or her authority to make an arrest and is not admitted into a building where the officer reasonably believes the suspect to be, the officer may use reasonable and necessary force to gain admittance to the building.

In some cases, arrests may be made without warrants. For example, warrants are not required if a criminal offense was committed in the presence of the police officer or if there was probable cause of domestic violence or child abuse.

Types of Warrants

A common type of arrest warrant is issued because of a new felony offense. Generally, new offense warrants are sealed until the suspect has been arrested or until six months after the issuance of the warrant. This is so that suspects do not flee or evade arrest after finding out that there are warrants for their arrest.

Extradition warrants are arrest warrants issued by another state. They deal with fugitives who are arrested in one state for crimes committed in another. An extradition warrant requests that the defendant be arrested and transported back to that original state for trial.

Failure to appear warrants are commonly associated with misdemeanors. In many misdemeanor cases, law enforcement officers do not want to make a formal arrest. Instead, a police officer may issue the suspect a summons to appear, telling the defendant when and where to appear to answer the charges. If the defendant does not appear, the judge issues an arrest warrant.

Finally, warrants for violation of probation are issued when a defendant does not comply with the conditions of his or her probation. Probation includes conditions, such as no contact orders, drug testing, or not committing any other crimes. If there is probable cause that a probationer has violated those conditions, he or she can be arrested.

If there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible, in order to begin crafting a defense for your case. Please contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.

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