What Does Your Warrant Mean?

In our complex legal system, you run the risk of accidentally surrendering your rights if you don’t understand the tactics being used to charge you with some type of crime. Documents like warrants are frequently utilized to handle minor and serious court issues alike, so make sure you understand what they are and how they function.

Overall, a warrant is a type of legal document that authorizes the police to take certain actions against a citizen. Warrants are most commonly served as bench warrants, arrest warrants, and VOP warrants.

What Is a Bench Warrant?

If you have a court date set, even if it’s just for a minor infraction like a speeding ticket, you are expected to show up. If you miss your court date, the judge overseeing your case will issue a bench warrant in order to provide authorities with the direct power to arrest you.

While you certainly don’t want a bench warrant in your name, the good news is that the law does not view a bench warrant to be urgent enough for the police to search for you or knock on your door. It does, however, guarantee that you will be arrested if you interact with the police for any other reason. This means that something as simple as a sobriety checkpoint or parking ticket could allow the police to realize you have an outstanding bench warrant and need to be arrested.

In such a case, you are brought to jail, forced to take a mugshot, possibly required to post money for bail, and then transported to court to complete your unfinished business. The only way to minimize the damage caused by a bench warrant is to seek the help of a Tampa criminal defense lawyer.

How Is An Arrest Warrant Different?

An arrest warrant is more serious than a bench warrant. A judge can issue an arrest warrant when presented with evidence that suggests you have committed a crime. Once an arrest warrant has been issued, the police are authorized to arrest, detain, and search you. The Fourth Amendment requires that an arrest warrant show probable cause, be issued by a neutral magistrate, and be based on a credible police affidavit.

An arrest warrant is one of the ways to initiate the legal process in a criminal case. Running from an arrest warrant will only cause more trouble and add to your list of crimes. Instead, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the situation.

Could a VOP Warrant Apply To Me?

A Violation of Probation (VOP) Warrant is only issued when there is evidence that you have violated the terms of your probation. Based on the severity of the crime that caused probation in the first place, a VOP warrant may or may not be entitled to bond. As with the other types of warrants, a VOP warrant is best handled using the expertise of a probation attorney in Tampa who fully understands the complexities of the judicial system and can advocate for minimal impact on your life.

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