Florida is a transient state. Many people come here to work for a few years before moving back to their home state. Sometimes an arrest warrant is issued for someone who has moved out of state and it can cause serious problems if it goes unaddressed.
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge to law enforcement that allows the police to take the potential criminal into custody and hold them until trial. These warrants never expire and can have a significant negative effect on someone’s life. There are two types of arrest warrants in Florida: misdemeanor and felony
Misdemeanor Arrest Warrants
A misdemeanor is any criminal act that is punishable by less than one year in jail. This can include:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Petit (Petty) Theft
- First Offense Prostitution
In many instance, the person was ticketed or arrested and is likely aware than an arrest warrant was issued when they failed to appear in court. There are situations where people are unaware of an arrest warrant. For example: they wrote a check on a bank account with insufficient funds. Even if they are not in the state anymore, they were likely charged and an arrest warrant issued. Until this arrest warrant is cleared, they are cannot:
- Obtain a Passport
- Obtain a Weapons Permit
- Gain Employment at a Job Requiring a Background Check
As a former county prosecutor, Ben Stechschulte has worked with defense attorneys to clear these warrants. Now he uses that experience to represent out of state clients with Florida arrest warrants. In these situations, he files a petition to withdraw the warrant and works with the prosecutor and judge to complete the process. He can often clear the arrest warrant without the client needing to travel to Florida.
Felony Arrest Warrants
These warrants are for crimes punishable by a minimum of 5 years of prison. This can include:
- Sexual Assault
- Several Drug Charges
- Any Violent Crimes
If someone has committed a felony and moved to another state, they are at risk of being discovered through:
- Traffic Violations
- Automobile Accidents
- Background or Credit Checks
- Family or Disgruntled Ex-Boy or Girlfriend
If a person has committed a serious, violent crime and has a Felony Arrest Warrant issued against them, they may be subject to extradition from their home state to Florida. In these circumstances, the person is arrested in the other state and brought to Florida where they will remain in jail until trial. Incarceration can last for weeks, and the defendant is likely to lose their employment and experience other serious consequences.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is critical to hire an expert defense attorney to work with local law enforcement and prepare your defense. Ben Stechschulte has extensive experience with extradition cases, both as a county prosecutor and as a defense attorney. He understands the legal and procedural issues of this circumstance and can provide you with excellent representation.