What is a “capias warrant”? When a person signs a written “Notice to Appear” in the case at issue or is released on bond and then fails to appear in court, the court is permitted to issue a warrant of arrest. Known as the “capias” or “capias warrant,” this type of arrest warrant for a failure to appear is issued pursuant to Rule 3.121 or Rule 3.730 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The capias warrant often has a bond amount attached to it which is much higher than the standard bond for that offense. The minimum bond in a capias warrant is usually set at $2,000.00. In some cases, the court can issue a capias with no bond.
The provisions of Florida law that allow for the issuance of an arrest warrant for the failure to appear for court proceedings include:
- Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.121, 3.125 and 3.730;
- Fla. R. Traf. Ct. 6.165 and 6.190; and
- Florida Statute § 932.48.
After the capias is issued, a criminal defense attorney can file a motion to quash or set aside the capias. At a hearing on the motion, the criminal defense attorney can argue all of the reasons why the failure to appear was inadvertent or a mistake.
Attorney for a Capias Warrant in Tampa, FL
If you need an attorney in Tampa, FL, to help you resolve a capias warrant issued because you failed to appear in court, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our attorneys help clients avoid an unnecessary arrest by filing a motion to quash the capias or set aside the failure to appear warrant.
When supported by the facts in your case, we can help you proves that circumstances beyond your control caused your failure to appear.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients facing different types of arrest warrants issued throughout Hillsborough County by judges at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City, FL. After the failure to appear in court, we help clients facing a capias warrant issued in Brooksville in Hernando County, in New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, in St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County and in Bartow and Winter Haven in Polk County, FL.
Florida Statute Section 903.046(d)
Florida Statute Section 903.046(d) provides, in part:
…any defendant who failed to appear on the day of any required court proceeding in the case at issue and who was later arrested shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond or for any form of bond which does not require a monetary undertaking or commitment equal to or greater than $2,000 or twice the value of the monetary commitment or undertaking of the original bond, whichever is greater. Notwithstanding anything in this section, the court has discretion in determining conditions of release if the defendant proves circumstances beyond his or her control for the failure to appear….
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.730
Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.730 provides:
“Whenever the court deems it necessary to do so in order to procure the presence of the defendant before it for the adjudication of guilt or the pronouncement of sentence, or both, when the defendant is not in custody, it shall direct the clerk to issue immediately or when directed by the prosecuting attorney a capias for the arrest of the defendant. Subsequent capiases may be issued from time to time by direction of the court or the prosecuting attorney.
Issuance of Capias for Arrest after an Information
After a prosecutor files an information charging the commission of a crime, often called the “direct file,” the judge will issue or direct the clerk of court to issue a capias for the arrest of the person accused of the crime if the person is not already in custody or out on bond.
Florida Statute Section 932.48 for “[i]nformations; duties of clerks of courts” provides:
“Upon the filing of an information, the clerk of the circuit court shall docket the information and shall, without leave or order of the court first being had and obtained, issue a capias for the arrest of the person charged; and the clerk shall likewise issue any and all other necessary process incident to the information.
The Effect of the Filing of a Waiver of Appearance
In many cases, the courts schedules a number of court dates prior to trial. Those court dates include the arraignment, dispositions, pre-trial conference, calendar calls, and docket soundings. The person’s criminal defense attorney will often waive their client’s appearance at some, or all, of these pre-trial court dates.
In most cases, the court has no legal basis to issuance a capias warrant for the defendant’s arrest if the defendant fails to appear in court for a pre-trial court date when the defendant has signed a waiver of appearance that was filed with the court by his or her criminal defense attorney.
Under limited circumstances, the court is permitted to require the defendant’s appearance at a court date and not allow a waiver of the appearance by the attorney, but the court’s intention must be announced in advance to put the defendant on notice that he or she must appear in court.
Recalling Capiases in Nolle Prossed Cases
The court may direct the clerk to issue a capias for a defendant’s arrest if the defendant fails to appear in court as provided in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.730 and Florida Rule of Traffic Court 6.190.
When the State Attorney’s Office nolle prosses the case, most jurisdictions have a process that permits the court to recall the capiases for a felony, misdemeanor and traffic crimes that has been nolle prossed by the State without a court hearing. Many of these nolle prosses result because of the inactive status of the case and the passage of time.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 18, 2018.