It’s not unusual for someone who has lived, worked or merely vacationed in Florida to find years later that there exists a pending active arrest warrant. No wonder the official Florida motto is – the rules are different here. Often the pending arrest warrant is for some alleged nonviolent crime such as theft, worthless check or failure to pay for lodging, gas or food. 
In Florida arrest warrants are often issued after people leave without them knowing that they allegedly committed a crime, so it's important to do whatever is necessary to have the warrant withdrawn.
Sometimes the arrest warrant is for a violent event that did not result in immediate arrest such as assault, battery, disorderly intoxication or an altercation at a bar. The typical result is that a defendant only learns of the arrest warrant by accident possibly years after the alleged event. And it’s worth knowing that an arrest warrant in the computer system will give every officer the right to arrest you until the warrant is withdrawn.

What should someone do when confronting an allegation of criminal conduct from years earlier when recollection of the events with possible defenses have vanished? Before you turn yourself in on an arrest warrant it’s important to get some advice from a defense lawyer. In essence the question leads directly to the answer. If a defendant finds it difficult to defend a case, how will Florida prosecutors be able to successfully pursue a conviction? Witnesses may have disappeared, victims may have moved, business may have gone bankrupt. Older arrest warrants may be available to the Clearwater Clerk of Court in Pinellas only on microfilm. 

It’s important for your defense lawyer to examine the facts and circumstances of the underlying facts. After an investigation of the factual allegations documented within the arrest warrant, then it’s necessary for your lawyer to examine the arrest warrant itself and the charging document known as the information for clues as to whether police and prosecutors made a good faith effort to timely pursue the arrest warrant when it was freshly issued.

The more stale a case has become the more difficult the case will be to successfully prosecute. After a thorough examination of every weakness of the arrest warrant, your defense counsel will contact prosecutors at the Pinellas County Attorney’s Office to persuade them that the case is unlikely to be won at trial. If prosecutors agree that too much time has passed to pursue the case, then they will issue a document known as an administrative nolle prosequito to the Pinellas County Clerk’s Office which withdraws the outstanding arrest warrant. This document is typically filed if it can be proven that there has been no procedural activity on the case for at least a period of three years.


What should you do if you find that there’s a pending arrest warrant for you from the State of Florida? First, it’s important to find out the crime, the date of the crime and significant facts about the crime as attested in the arrest warrant. Second, it’s necessary to establish whether the crime did in fact take place. Finally it’s imperative to determine if the State of Florida is capable of pursuing the charge.

To find out why the arrest warrant was issued you’ll need to get hold of the original charging document. If the case was filed over ten years ago, then the Pinellas County Clerks office will have the original charging document known as the information as well as the actual arrest warrant on microfilm. It may be that you were given a summons to appear many years ago while on vacation in Florida and never got around to taking care of the matter. Or it may be that a grocery store claims that twenty years ago you wrote a worthless check for thirty dollars worth of food, but that in the intervening years you’ve moved to another state. 

Once specific information within the arrest warrant is found, then the accused can formulate whatever defenses may be available to the accusation. Was the defendant even in Florida when the crime occurred? Or in a worthless check case, was the check in fact actually written by the accused? If the check was forged then evidence would need to be gathered in defense. 

In many older cases witnesses may no longer be available or evidence may have grown stale by the time the arrest warrant is actually served. If the State of Florida is unable to meet its burden of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt then this weakness should be exploited by the defense to have the case reduced or dismissed.

If you find that there is an active arrest warrant in your name remember that there are ways to turn yourself in on the arrest warrant without having to spend more than a few hours in jail. To avoid spending time in prison it’s imperative to find a lawyer who is well versed in criminal law to help you navigate toward the best possible resolution of the search warrant.


Nearly a year ago a woman sped off after striking and killing a pedestrian in Pinellas Park, resulting in a classic unsolved hit and run case. The cold case could have remained unsolved if the woman herself hadn’t called the police to her home.

Foolishly, she called police to her house because she said she was afraid of her live in boyfriend, recently released from jail on worthless check charges. Maybe she was right to be apprehensive of him because he told the police she was the perpetrator of the hit and run also known as leaving the scene of an accident with injury, that she’d told him everything and when police confronted her they say she confessed.

Even though police believe the pedestrian violated the driver’s right of way that night, the driver had a legal duty under Florida Statutes to stop and identify herself and to render aid.

The St. Petersburg Times noted that a Pinellas Park police inspection of the accident vehicle revealed that it was still heavily damaged after almost a year from the fatal crash. 

“We found pieces of the turn signal and the passenger side mirror at the scene (of Fisher’s death),” said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Brian Unmisig, “and they matched the parts that the vehicle was missing.” She was booked into the Pinellas jail, where she was being held Tuesday in lieu of $52,250 bail
Criminal Defense Attorney and Trial Lawyer for Drug Crimes & DUI in Clearwater, FL

The purpose of this law is not to establish who was at fault in the accident nor to apportion blame. The idea is that anytime there is a crash involving injuries the driver must stop, identify herself and render aid if necessary. Clearly, if the driver at the scene was impaired then a DUI Manslaughter investigation will take place, if at fault without impairment a Vehicular Homicide investigation will begin, or if the accident was the result of premeditation possible Murder or Homicide charges. (see statute below)
316.027 Crash involving death or personal injuries.

(1)(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in injury of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in statutes.
(b) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of the law.

The Clearwater Police ask your help in solving this very Cold Case. 

Things have changed since this Model T was the fastest – and only – car on the road in 1910.