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Out of state bench warrant and the DMV

Tampa, FL |

I have an out of state bench warrant and want to go down to the DMV and get a state id. If I do will they know about it and will they notify the authorities and have me detained?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

My colleagues are spot on. No one can tell you whether or not DHSMV (or anyone else) will tap into an existing out-of-state bench warrant. It can go either way, but you can certainly protect yourself by acting to at least attempt to have the warrant discharged prior to going to get your ID.

In Florida (I cannot speak to other States) when warrants are issued Judges determine on the face of the document several key matters whch guide the documents execution. Among them are where the warrant should be active (i.e. locally, statewide, nationally, etc - this is very important because if, for example, a Miami-Dade County Judge issues a warrant and limits it to the State of Florida then it will not, or should not anyhow, appear in a criminal data base in Nevada) and whether or not there is a bond / purge amount associated with the document (i.e. a warrant may be satisfied by the posting of a financial bond if the Judge permits it, or it may require detention until you are transported back to the issuiing authority).

A competent lawyer in the issuing State should be able to determine, and advise you, in that regard, and so I too would strongly suggest that you contact some such lawyer in the issuing State, retain them and know precisely what you are dealing with. (You might find that its a local warrrant which Florida will not know about, or not, but at least you will know and you will then have some piece of mind in that regard.) Moreover, regardless of the nature of the warrant, if you know that there is one out there then you should do all in your power to cause the same to be quashed. Ultimately that will most likely require, at a minimum, one appearance before the issuing magistrate, or more, but living with the spectre of a warrant is less than ideal.

In the event that you do get picked up on your out-of-state warrant (whether at the DMV or otherwise - if its active and your name gets entered into a law enforcement database for any reason, even an innocent reason, like for example you could be a passenger in a vehicle that gets blind-sided by a drunk driver, in which case the police will atempt to secure, run and enter your information into their system as a victim / witness) then you should know that you will certainly be taken to jail and detained pending an extradition hearing. (I'm not going to type out all of the details and time tables and legal requirements for extradition hearings here and now - if you are interested in educating yourself on the extradition process then Google "Florida Statates Chapter 941, Corrections: Interstate Cooperation" - but suffice it to say that it will not be a stroll down Ocean Boulevard.)

Do yourself a favor and deal with this now. Warrants are not unlike cancer. If detected and dealt with responsibly and timely then they are generally livable; if not they metastasize and become quite deadly.

Best of luck!


I am not sure if the Florida DHSMV will do a warrants check prior to issuing you a Florida ID card. However the best thing you can do is contact a criminal defense attorney in the state where the warrant was issued and get that taken care of immediately. Then you won't have to keep worrying about it. Good Luck!

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Not technically impossible, but HIGHLY unlikely unless you're charged with something serious



3rd offense ouil, felony VOP.