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What can I do if there is a bench warrant in my name?

Florida is a popular vacation destination for people all across the world. However, things don't always go as planned when people are visiting Tampa or surrounding areas. In some cases, people get in trouble with the law and find themselves ordered to appear in court.

If you are in this situation, you might feel like you don't need to deal with your legal situation in Florida if you don't live here and are heading back to your home state. However, what this will likely mean is that you will fail to appear at court dates and you can be in contempt. According to Florida statutes, if you are found to be in contempt of court orders, a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued.

Bench warrants should not be taken lightly. They are different than arrest warrants and, depending on the nature of your original offense, there likely won't be police officers banging on your door. However, they can prove to be very damaging and people with a bench warrant may spend much of their time scared and looking over their shoulder.

Anytime a person comes into contact with a law enforcement agent within the geographical scope of a bench warrant, he or she can be arrested even if that person isn't doing anything wrong at the time.

For example, if you have a bench warrant in Florida and are driving through the state on a road trip when your car breaks down, a police officer who shows up on the scene to help you could find that there is a bench warrant in your name and you could be arrested.

However, you don't have to wait for an arrest to come; you can turn yourself in and handle the situation on your timeline. If you are arrested, you will likely have to post bond, pay fees and be held in jail until your hearing. This is true whether you turn yourself in or are picked up by police.

In either case, it can be crucial that you have legal representation by your side when dealing with bench warrants. An attorney may be able to seek reduced payments or more favorable terms by presenting your side of the story or through negotiation. 

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