It’s not a secret that Florida is a transient state.
As such, it’s not surprising to our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys that there are a large number of individuals in the area with outstanding warrants. In fact, police agencies particularly in South Florida are awash with them. there are roughly 300,000 in Miami-Dade County, another 220,000 in Broward County and another 60,000 in Palm Beach County.
All of that doesn’t include out-of-state warrants, which is what was involved in the arrest of a Fort Lauderdale man wanted in New Jersey.
According to The Sun-Sentinel, the 69-year-old had reportedly eluded authorities for two decades. Apparently, he had been convicted for murder in 1971, served his time and was released under supervision, commonly known as parole.
However, during that time, he was accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 1992. He fled, and has been on the run ever since as one of New Jersey’s most-wanted fugitives.
According to various media reports, the man had been homeless for at least the last handful of years, living in a tent in the woods. A tip was called in to authorities after someone became aware that he had been living under an alias for some time.
From his mug shot, he appears much older than his 69 years, likely worn down from a life on the run.
Now, this is a severe case, and of course, not everyone with a warrant is a most-wanted fugitive. But it can feel that way if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering if that officer up the street will figure out who you are and haul you in. It may seem that a bad situation has gotten worse because the more time has gone by, you may fear the more trouble you’ll be in.
However, the best way to handle this – not only to ensure your safety but also the protection of your rights – is to contact a criminal defense lawyer in the jurisdiction where the warrant is active. An attorney can help you determine your next step and how you can surrender peacefully and safely.
One risk you take by not doing this is the possibility of additional charges. This is because if police do catch you off-guard, your first instinct may be to flee or fight back. Ultimately, this rarely works out in your favor, and you only end up creating an even higher uphill battle for yourself.
The other reason this is an important step to take is that if you surrender on your own, it’s possible that police will want to question you immediately. If you haven’t had a chance yet to consult with a defense attorney, you run the risk of saying something that could potentially further hurt your case.
Also, the act of surrendering yourself could result in a judge showing you some mercy when it comes to the sentencing phase of the situation.