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Wow. I think I may have found someone who can advise me on…

Wow. I think I may...

Wow. I think I may have found someone who can advise me on trespass warnings. I was given two trepass warnings at a mall in Orlando a few weeks ago. I was not arrested, but the officer said I would have to appear in front of a judge, and that I would hear through the mail regarding that issue. It was for petty theft, and he told me the store intended to prosecute. If I go to see the judge when notified, can there be a warrant from the store pressing charges that had been filed since? I do not live there and live about 120 miles away.  My husband is disabled and I am the only caregiver.  I do not want to be taken into custody or have a FTA? What should I do?

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Answered in 44 minutes by:
6/30/2013
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,639
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Thank you for your question.

I am a Florida lawyer, and believe I can assist you.

What will happen is that you will receive a notice to appear citation in the mail giving you a court date. In Florida, a notice to appear is issued in lieu of an arrest. That means that the police officer did not arrest you, but you are still facing criminal charges. This is sometimes done with minor misdemeanor charges such as petty theft.

If you fail to appear for the court date, then a "capias", or warrant, will be issued for your arrest, but based on the facts right now, there is no warrant and no court date. The trespass warning only forbids you from returning to the same location where you were under penalty of arrest.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Does this mean that I will be arrested when I am in front of the judge? I would think I would have to be arrested at some point to face charges. I am extremely concerned about my husband's health issues and both of our mental health states. I understand the capias for FTA. Perhaps, I am trying to think too far ahead. Would my appearance in front of the judge for the trespass nesessarily lead to charges?

You wouldn't be appearing because of the trespass. The trespass warning you received is just that, a warning. So long as you don't return to the store location, you won't be arrested for trespass.

Your court appearance would be because of the alleged theft charge (misdemeanor/petty theft). You would not be arrested when you appear in front of the judge, no. The notice to appear citation, if you get one, essentially takes the place of an arrest. Because it is a minor charge, the officer didn't arrest you, but you can still later receive the notice to appear on the charge.

The first appearance is your opportunity to hear the charge(s) against you and enter a plea. Generally speaking, it's in a person's best interest to plead not guilty and let the court set the case on their calendar. This gives you the opportunity to speak to a lawyer, have them obtain the evidence from the prosecutor, discuss with you the best course of action, and possibly negotiate a plea.

You can certainly simply show up and plead guilty, of course, at which time, the judge would sentence you. If this is a first offense, given that it is a minor charge, the likelihood of any jail time would be minimal. You would most likely receive probation instead, which can include things like community service, restitution, and/or attending an anti-theft class.

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