What You Need to Know About Arrest Warrants in Florida

July 1, 2021 Criminal Defense

What is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by the court that allows the police to take a criminal suspect into custody.[1] In order to issue an arrest warrant, probable cause must exist, meaning that a reasonable person would believe that the information presented indicates that criminal activities have occurred.[2] Arrest warrants fall under the Fourth Amendment, meaning that they safeguard against unlawful and capricious seizure of the individual.[3] While an arrest warrant is not necessarily required in every instance for an officer to make a lawful arrest, most courts prefer that arrests are pursuant to a warrant to ensure that all police actions therein do not violate the individual’s constitutional protections.[4]

When Can I Be Arrested Without a Warrant?

An officer has the authority to arrest an individual despite the lack of a warrant when:

  1. The suspect committed a felony or misdemeanor offense, or a municipal or county ordinance violation while in the presence of the officer,
  2. The officer has a reasonable belief the suspect committed a felony, and that felony was actually committed,
  3. A felony is in commission or has been previously committed and an officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect being arrested is the one who did it,
  4. A DUI has occurred (or other offended listed under Chapter 316),
  5. An individual has violated a protective order or injunction,
  6. Domestic violence has occurred,
  7. An individual has violated terms of pre-trial release in a case of domestic violence,
  8. Child abuse has occurred,
  9. Battery has occurred,
  10. Criminal mischief has occurred,
  11. An individual has trespassed in a secure area of an airport,
  12. An individual has assaulted a member of law enforcement, fire rescue, emergency medical care, public transit, etc.,
  13. An individual has violated a safety zone.

What are the Different Types of Arrest Warrants in Florida?

In Florida, many different types of arrest warrants exist. However, these can be broken down into some general categories, such as:

This kind of warrant must be in writing and set forth the offense committed, the person who committed it, the date of issuance, the county, and contain the signature of the judge. The officer trying to get the warrant approved will disclose the factual basis, describing the probable cause for the arrest. If the judge or magistrate finds probable cause does exist, they will issue the warrant and assign a bond.

This kind of warrant is an arrest warrant issued for violations of the conditions of probation. In order to get this warrant approved, the officer must send the warrant to a judge or magistrate and the judge or magistrate must sign it, affirming that the individual has violated their probation.[5]

  • A Failure to Appear, or Capias, Bench Warrant

If an individual misses a court date in a case involving a felony or misdemeanor charge, then the court may issue a capias, or warrant, for the individual’s arrest. This is why these warrants are often called “Failure to Appear” warrants.[6]

  • A Juvenile Pick Up Order

If a juvenile offender misses a court date or fails to comply with an order given by the court, and they have been properly notified, the court may issue a Pick Up Order. This is the same as an adult arrest warrant and will direct officers to take the juvenile to the Juvenile Assessment Center where the juvenile will then be held in secure detention until a hearing the next day.[7]

  • A Fugitive from Justice Warrant

A “fugitive from justice” is defined as “any person who has fled from any State to avoid prosecution from a crime to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceeding.”[8] An arrest warrant issued to a fugitive from justice is a fugitive from justice arrest warrant and it is issued in one jurisdiction for an individual wanted in another jurisdiction. This type of warrant allows officers to take this individual into custody, where extradition procedures will then commence.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida

Warrants are not as simple as they seem. Various kinds of warrants exist in Florida, all with different methods of defense and compliance. In order to navigate this process, you or a loved one should retain counsel as quickly as possible if there is a warrant active for arrest. Contact a Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you or a loved one are afforded effective and aggressive counsel. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of experience defending Floridians against criminal charges. Call a defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your options during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

This article was written by Gabi D’Esposito

gabi d'esposito pumphrey law









[1] Arrest Warrant, Cornell Law School, available at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/arrest_warrant.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] § 901.15, Fla. Stat.

[5] § 948.06, Fla. Stat.

[6] § 843.15(1)(b), Fla. Stat.

[7] How the Juvenile Court Works Office of the State Attorney 15th Judicial Circuit, available at: http://www.sa15.state.fl.us/stateattorney/VictimWitness/indexJUV.htm.

[8] 18 U.S.C. § 921.

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