A frequent question we’re asked is:
"I have a Florida warrant from years ago — what should I do?"
The quick answer is, talk to a qualified attorney before you turn yourself in.
If the warrant is for a felony charge, you may need to turn yourself in and appear in court. But you may not. It may be that the warrant is so old, it’s passed the statute of limitations.
There are many variables with old warrants and statute of limitations defenses. The important thing is to know your options and the likely outcome of any next steps you take. As experienced criminal defense attorneys and former Florida prosecutors, we can help. Contact Pawuk & Pawuk for a free, no-obligation consultation. We practice in Pasco County and throughout most of the surrounding Florida communities.
Here is just one of the many situations we see with old Florida warrants. If you’ve been continuously out of the state of Florida, the warrant may still be valid. If the police can prove they attempted to look for you many times throughout the years, the warrant may still be valid. But those are things the state needs to prove. And they often can not.
If the warrant is for a violation of probation — statute of limitations defenses do not apply. That is: these warrants don't expire. For VOP warrants — especially Felony VOP warrants — you will have to appear in court and most likely will be taken into custody. How long you sit in jail and whether or not you have a bond are issues a good criminal defense attorney can help with.
If you have an outstanding misdemeanor warrant in Florida many times we can handle those without you ever going to court or coming back to the state. If you hire us, we work it out with the State Attorney and the court, mail the documents to you, and you mail them back to us — usually with a check of course, because the government wants their money!
Maybe nothing. If you never plan to come back to Florida, most warrants are non-extraditable. But if you get arrested in another state, they may hold you until they decide if Florida is coming to get you to extradite you to Florida — which involves you in a transport van coming across the country and staying at local jails along the way. And you’re not alone in that van. It would be much more comfortable to call us, before that happens.
If it’s a non-extraditable warrant and you happen to be in Florida for any reason and get pulled over — or go on a cruise ship and they find the warrant — they’ll take you to the county where the warrant is from. Usually, but not always. We’ve represented plenty of people who came to Florida on vacation, either forgot or didn’t know they had an outstanding warrant, and ended up in jail on their vacation.
If you have an outstanding felony warrant, and you go to collect Social Security benefits, it sometimes prevents you from getting those benefits as well.
Our advice is to take care of an old warrant BEFORE it becomes a major issue. Contact us for a free consultation about your options. Based in Pasco County, Florida, we serve most of the surrounding area, including Pinellas County and Hernando County.