Answering Your Questions About Arrest Warrants
It is not likely that you are fluent in the laws surrounding arrest warrants, which can be a problem if there is an arrest warrant out on you. My name is Jenna Finkelstein. At the Clearwater office of Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I can offer you the information you need, starting by answering some common questions like those below.
How do I know if I have a warrant?
If you failed to appear in court, then it is likely that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. You may find out by calling the clerk’s office, searching public records online or calling an experienced criminal defense attorney to research the issue for you. Oftentimes, especially in a sale and possession case, a warrant may be issued for your arrest without your knowledge. Typically, these arrests do not happen at the time the crime took place because officers do not want to blow their covers.
How do I get rid of a warrant?
You may turn yourself in so the warrant is executed. You may set a hearing and ask a judge to withdraw the warrant. It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can walk you through the process. If the warrant was issued for failing to appear for a scheduled court hearing, there may be a simple explanation for the failure to appear (FTA). If the warrant was issued for a new charge, then you are best served by having an attorney present when turning yourself in because law enforcement officers can, and oftentimes do, use this opportunity to question you about the offense(s).
Why was a warrant executed?
You may have missed a court date, violated probation or been accused of committing a new crime. An experienced lawyer can determine the reason for the warrant and assist in having the warrant withdrawn or setting a reasonable bond.
Should I turn myself in?
You should arrange to turn yourself in or set a motion to withdraw a warrant. Contact my office to learn the best approach to resolve your outstanding warrant.
Can I get a bond?
See the section regarding arrest and bail bonds for a lengthy discussion on your rights regarding bail bonds.
Addressing Your Search Warrant Questions
A search warrant is different from an arrest warrant, so I have taken the time to answer questions related to them as well, including those below.
Do police have to have a search warrant to search my home?
Not necessarily. Police may search your home if they have a search warrant. However, they may also enter and search your home if you give them permission to do so or if there is some exigent circumstance that requires a search. Many people feel compelled to give in to law enforcement officers when they request to enter and search a home. Do not do this. You have a highly protected right of privacy with regard to your home. Law enforcement officers should not enter your home without serving you a warrant or citing some emergency situation that justifies a search. Even then, there are limitations.
With this being said, never fight with law enforcement officers. If one insists on entering your home without a warrant, do not put yourself in danger. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately so that you can be properly advised. My office accepts calls 24/7. I will promptly make myself available to you even if that requires responding at the scene. You have rights, make sure that you know them or have access to a lawyer who can advise you at a moment’s notice.
Can law enforcement search my person or my car without a warrant?
Yes. However, there must be a legal justification for the search. In other words, the officer must have probable cause or reason to believe that you are armed. Additionally, you or your vehicle may be searched incident to an arrest.
What is a Terry stop and/ or frisk?
A Terry stop is another way for law enforcement to stop you under the law. An officer may briefly stop and detain you if they have specific articulable suspicions that you are involved or were involved in some criminal activity. Under a Terry stop, the officer may also do a brief pat-down of your outer clothing if they have reason to believe that you are carrying a weapon. The law regarding Terry stops is very specific.
If you or someone you know has been the subject of a Terry stop and has questions regarding the search and seizure, contact me to find out if you have a legal argument that can be asserted by filing a motion to suppress the evidence seized. Remember, identity is evidence as well and may be suppressed if it’s obtained as a result of an unlawful search and seizure.
My car was impounded. Can the police use evidence obtained during the impound?
Each jurisdiction has different impound procedures. I have been successful in suppressing evidence obtained during an impound due to proper procedure not being following by local law enforcement agencies. I maintain an up-to-date database of the Tampa Bay area law enforcement agency impound procedures and can advise whether evidence was seized unlawfully in your case.
If the evidence was seized unlawfully, I will promptly file a motion to suppress the evidence. These motions oftentimes result in a full dismissal of the charges and can be used to negotiate an acceptable disposition if you have multiple charges pending against you.
Let Me Answer The Rest Of Your Questions
If you have more questions about any warrant you may have against you, contact me today. Call my Florida firm at 727-202-4418 or email me here for a free initial consultation. Now is the best time to contact me, so do not wait to reach out to my firm.