In my last blog entry I discussed how to determine whether there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest. In this entry, I’ll discuss how best to clear, or get rid of, an outstanding arrest warrant.
The Duval County Sheriff’s Office Department of Police Services has a special Warrants Unit. The Warrants Unit is responsible for the storage and computer entry of all capiases, custody orders, injunctions for protection, arrest affidavits, writs of attachment and warrants issued by the State Attorney’s Office.
Unlike warrants, capias information which generally pertains to warrants issued by a court are electronically provided by Clerk of the Court directly to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s electronic warrant (e-Warrant) computer system on a daily basis.
The Warrants Unit seven employees manually enter Injunction for Protection and felony warrants into the Federal Crime Information Center / National Crime Information Center computer database within 24-hours of receipt. Unit personnel also regularly update the warrant database as documents are modified, served or recalled by the State Attorney’s Office.
According to the Warrants Unit website, there currently are more than 43,000 active documents filed in the Warrants Unit. To give you an idea of the volume of warrant activity in Duval County, the website further states that Unit personnel enter, modify, recall and file an average of 500 documents per day.
So, what can you do if your name is on one of the tens of thousands of warrants currently pending in Duval, Nassau or Clay counties? First, contact a criminal defense attorney who can help determine why your warrant was issued, identify the presiding judge, and employ the best legal strategy to resolve the warrant.
If the warrant stems from a misdemeanor case, whether for failure to appear, violation of probation or any other reason, a knowledgeable criminal lawyer can often get the warrant recalled before you are arrested on the warrant. Further, regardless of whether you’re from the local area or from out of town or out of state, it’s often possible to not only get your warrant recalled, but to also totally resolve your case without you ever having personally to appear in court.
If your warrant arises from a felony case, however, it is generally not possible to get your warrant recalled. Rather, the usual method of clearing a warrant in a felony case is to arrange for your voluntary surrender into the jail. In many cases, except for felony violations of probation where there usually is no bond, your lawyer may be able to arrange for your quick processing in and then immediate release without you changing your clothes, joining the general population or spending the night in jail. You would then receive a date usually several weeks in the future for the next court date in your case.
Contrary to what you may have heard, warrants do not expire, nor do they go away on their own. In fact, it is usually to your advantage to resolve an outstanding warrant sooner rather than later, as the court will be less inclined to characterize you as an “absconder” with no respect for the law or the legal process. Rather, if you are instead proactive and act quickly to resolve your warrant, the court will usually see you as accepting responsibility for your situation. In those circumstances judges, and the State Attorney, often respond with more lenient treatment in your case.
It is very stressful to have an outstanding arrest warrant and not knowing if and when you might suffer the surprise and embarrassment of being arrested. If there is an outstanding warrant for your or a loved one’s arrest in Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. Johns Counties, it is important to contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney knowledgeable about how best to clear your warrant in either a misdemeanor or felony case. Call me for a free consultation to discuss how I can help you resolve your outstanding warrant today.