A warrant is issued by a judge either compelling a police department to arrest you for a crime (arrest warrant) or for failing to appear when required to attend court (a bench warrant or an alias capias).
If you are under investigation for a crime and police obtain an arrest warrant, it is wise to contact an attorney who can arrange for your surrender. A surrender shows the police and the courts that you are not a flight risk. It also allows you to be arrested on your terms rather than the police department's terms. You can arrange the time and manner of your surrender. You can also arrange your bond ahead of time to avoid spending more time than necessary in custody (if your charge is bondable).
If you have an outstanding arrest warrant and fail to turn yourself in, the police will exhaust their resources in trying to find you. They can use the U.S. Marshal's Service to locate you if you are out of state. If you are arrested out of state, you could spend weeks in jail pending your extradition.
Also, arrest warrant information is provided to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Interpol. You can be arrested trying to leave the country as well as arrested in a foreign country and extradited to the U.S.
A bench warrant or capias is issued by the judge when you fail to appear in court. For most misdemeanor bench warrants, a lawyer can get it set aside without you having to appear in court. It is common when you are arrested while on vacation in Miami or Fort Lauderdale to get arrested or receive a promise to appear (PTA) and then forget to come back to court or fail to receive notification of the court date.
These warrants can be dealt with so long as you deal with them early on. It is much easier for an attorney to set aside a week-old bench warrant than one that is years old.
Setting aside a felony warrant usually require the physical presence of the defendant.
You can check FDLE's website to see if you have an outstanding warrant in the State of Florida.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients in Miami-Dade and Broward. If you have an outstanding warrant in Miami-Dade or Broward call Eric Matheny.