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Do Arrest Warrants Expire in Florida?

A person with their hands handcuffed behind their back.

Being on the receiving end of an arrest warrant can be an intimidating and stressful experience. If you’ve never had a warrant issued for your arrest, you probably have a lot of questions. Am I supposed to turn myself in? What happens if I don’t? Do arrest warrants expire? In this blog post, we'll discuss whether Florida arrest warrants expire or are valid indefinitely, the scenarios under which an arrest warrant can be disregarded or cleared, and how to deal with an outstanding warrant.

Do Arrest Warrants in Florida Expire?

Arrest warrants don't have a fixed expiration date in Florida. Depending on the circumstances, an arrest warrant may last for different lengths of time. A bench warrant is a common type of arrest warrant that courts can issue to compel an individual to appear in court. Bench warrants can last for a few years or indefinitely, depending on whether they were issued for a civil or criminal case.

If you have an outstanding warrant, ignoring it can lead to severe consequences. While arrest warrants don't disappear on their own, certain conditions may allow you to clear or waive them. In some instances, an individual may be able to contest the arrest warrant in court or with the authorities that issued it. This occurs when there's a mistake in the arrest warrant's issuance, or the individual can provide evidence that they are not guilty of the charge in question.

If you can't contest the warrant, you have two choices: surrender or settle the warrant. You are given a specific window by which you can turn yourself over to the authorities. This entails showing up at the police station to have your fingerprints taken, your mugshot recorded, and the entire booking process completed. After all that, you might be held until your testimony or the next court hearing for your case. Settling the warrant typically means hiring a lawyer who can provide guidance and negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor's office.

Bottom line, arrest warrants don't expire. They can last for years - often indefinitely - and emerge and resurface at any moment. So, if you've been issued an arrest warrant, ignoring it will only exacerbate the problem. Instead, explore your legal options. You may be able to contest the warrant through a lawyer, surrender to the police, or negotiate a settlement. Lastly, it's always best to be proactive and seek help from a professional.

What Should I Do if There Is a Warrant Issued for My Arrest?

Below, we’ll discuss what you need to do if there is a warrant out for your arrest:

  • Find out why the arrest warrant was issued – The first thing you must do after discovering that there is a warrant out for your arrest is to find out why it was issued. This will give you an idea of the charges that have been leveled against you. Once you know the reason for the warrant, you can start preparing for the next steps.
  • Hire an attorney – If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you should immediately seek legal advice from an attorney. A qualified attorney will guide you through the legal process and help you decide the best steps to take. Additionally, they can represent you in court, which will increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Remember, anything you say during an arrest can be used against you in court.
  • Turn yourself in – If you feel that the warrant is legitimate, the best thing you can do is turn yourself in. This will show the court that you take the charges seriously, which may decrease your bail. You will also likely avoid additional charges or being unexpectedly arrested in public, at work, or at home.
  • Consider your options – If you are not guilty or feel that the warrant was issued unfairly, you have the option to fight the warrant. Consult with your attorney on how to address the warrant and whether it can be contested. Proving your innocence can be a long and tedious process, but it may be worth it if the charges are dropped.
  • Stay calm and collected – Lastly, it’s important that you stay calm and composed if there is a warrant out for your arrest. Avoid making any rash decisions or taking any actions that could incriminate you further. Instead, prepare yourself both mentally and physically for the legal process, and trust your attorney's guidance.

Remember, a warrant issued for your arrest does not spell the end of the road for you. With the right legal team and a proactive approach, you can turn this difficult situation around and/or eventually put it behind you.

If a warrant has been issued for your arrest in Florida, call Hubbs Law Firm at (305) 570-4802 or contact us online today. To learn more about our experienced criminal defense attorneys, read our clients’ testimonials and check out our case results. Hablamos Español.

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