In the state of Florida a police officer does not need an arrest warrant to arrest a person. All a police officer has to have in order to make an arrest is probable cause. Probable cause is understood to mean that the evidence that is available shows that the person is more than likely responsible for the crime they are being accused of.
When circumstances call for an arrest warrant, the police officer must go through a judge and obtain a signed warrant in order to arrest a person for activity such as:
- Crimes that law enforcement did not witness
- Crimes that have no witnesses
- Fleeing a crime scene
- Incriminating evidence at a crime scene
If a police officer arrests a suspect without a warrant, the judge has 24 hours to review the evidence and state whether or not there is enough probable cause to charge the suspect with a crime and hold them in jail.
If you believe that you or somebody that you know has a warrant, we recommend that you do a Florida warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.
Types of Warrants in Florida
The major types of warrants in the state of Florida are:
- Arrest warrants
- Search warrants
- Bench warrants
- Probation warrants
Arrest warrants and probation warrants are very similar because the end result is apprehending the suspect and bringing them into custody. The only difference is a probation warrant is specifically for a person that has already been convicted of a crime and has been placed on probation.
An arrest warrant is for an individual that has been accused of a crime and the judge would like to see them in court.
Search and Inspection Warrants in Florida
It is important that the United States Government protects the Florida citizens from unauthorized or illegal searches by law enforcement. The US Fourth Amendment covers the entire United States, and Florida state protection is enforced with the statues of the Search and Inspection Warrant laws of Florida.
In order for a law enforcement officer to legally search a person’s property they have to obtain a warrant through a judge. There must be sufficient probable cause in order to implement the warrant. In the state of Florida a judge can implement a search warrant on the grounds of:
- Stolen or embezzled property
- Any property used to commit a crime
- Any property used in connection with gambling
- Possession of any property that is obscene and in violation of s. 847.011
- Any relation to the cruelty of animals
The exact area or person of search must be stated in writing in the search warrant. For example, the back bedroom, the box on the top shelf in the living room, John Doe, etc.
Warrant Records Search
Bench Warrants in Florida
Some of the reasons that a judge will issue a bench warrant are:
- Fail to appear in court
- Skip out of jury duty
- Being in contempt of court
- Probation violation
- Failure pay fines
The difference between a bench warrant and an arrest warrant is that an arrest warrant is issued in regards to a criminal offense, and a bench warrant is issued in regards to failing to comply with the demands of the court.
Once a bench warrant is filed, it will stay active until the individual comes to the courtroom and faces a judge. The police are less likely to invest resources to find a person with a bench warrant than a person with an arrest warrant, however, all it takes is one slip and the person will be in jail without any hesitation from the police.
When Can a Florida Arrest Warrant be Issued?
One of the most commonly asked questions about warrants is about when exactly they can be issued. A judge or magistrate can issue a warrant for any crime as long as there is sufficient evidence. The fourth amendment protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, and there are clear laws in place to ensure that when a warrant is issued it’s not considered unreasonable. Most of the time when a judge or magistrate issues a warrant, they’ve either heard testimony about a crime that was committed by someone or they’ve reviewed a police case either on their own or by request from a police officer.
Someone has to be suspected of a crime to have a warrant issued for their arrest. In the state of Florida, arrest warrants are always made before any formal charges are brought against the defendant. If the defendant is being charged for a crime and the court wants to bring them in, that form is called a Capias. Both warrants and Capias are court orders to bring someone into custody, but the two orders take place at different parts of the process.
General Facts About Florida Warrants
There is more than one kind of warrant in the state of Florida, as in most states. As we already mentioned, there are Capias for people that have already been charged with a crime, where warrants are issued prior to any charges.
The most commonly issued type of warrant in Florida is the standard arrest warrant, which we’ve already covered a little.
Arrest warrants can be issued for any crime no matter if it’s a felony or a misdemeanor nor how severe the charge might be.
Extradition warrants are issued when the defendant is believed to be in another state, and it’s simply a request for this other state to find the defendant and send them back to the state that issued the warrant.
Another common type of warrant issued in Florida is the violation-of-probation warrant. If someone is sentenced to incarceration, they might be able to get time off of their sentence if they agree to be on probation.
Basically a warrant is an official signed document from the court system that commands a response and an action from the defendant without excuses.
What Information Needs to be on a Florida Warrant?
Because warrants are, in essence, a piece of paperwork, there is certain information that needs to appear on it. Each state is responsible for determining what information needs to appear on a warrant and what happens if that information isn’t put correctly onto the warrant. Some states require for an entire case to be dropped if the warrant is filled out incorrectly, so it can be pretty high stakes for the judge or magistrate to fill out the form correctly. In the state of Florida, warrants must contain:
- The name of the defendant.
- If the name of the defendant isn’t known, a physical description can be used in its place. If a photo of the defendant is available that can also be included in the warrant.
- The warrant must be in writing and issued in the name of the state of Florida.
- Crimes believed to have been committed by the defendant.
- A specified order that the defendant be brought into court and before a judge.
- The date of issuance, as well as the county.
- If bail is available for the defendant the amount of bail must be listed, but if bail isn’t available for this case this may be omitted.
Incorrect Warrant Information in Florida
Florida’s rulings on how warrants are handled if the information isn’t filled out correctly are pretty lax in comparison to some other states. If a warrant is filled out incorrectly, the judge or magistrate that issued the warrant can simply correct any mistakes they made. That means that no one will have their case dropped or be released from police custody in the case that a warrant is filled out incorrectly.
This wasn’t always the case and as such an amendment needed to be added to the statute to make this law, but as it stands no case will ever be dismissed in Florida because of clerical errors on a warrant.
Warrant Execution Times
Much like in any other state, a warrant in Florida can be executed at any time anywhere. There is no restriction on when a warrant can be executed.
If a police officer is within their jurisdiction to bring in the defendant they are expected to do so in a timely manner so that the defendant can be brought before a judge as quickly as possible.
Florida, like many other states, prefers to handle every criminal case as soon as it can so that all of the timelines of a speedy trial can be met and the money of the courts is not wasted.
Warrant Laws in Florida
Most of the laws that govern the warrant system in the state of Florida are like the laws that reside in the rest of the states. If you, or somebody that you know has an active warrant the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. There is no law in place that states that when you get a warrant issued to you that any agency has to contact you and let you know. In most cases you find out that you have a warrant when you are sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car. With the help of this site and the resources that are connected to it, you can find out if you have a warrant within just a few minutes without risking being handcuffed and sent to jail. You have rights, so use them.
Regardless of which state that you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.