How To Find Out If You Have a Warrant

If the police are looking for you that’s something you want to know sooner than later. If there’s any doubt that law enforcement authorities are looking for you, finding out if you have a warrant for your arrest issues if the first place to start. If you’re feeling daring, walking into your local police station will get an answer quickly, but there are several other ways to find out if a warrant for your arrest has been issued.

What causes a warrant to be issued?

An arrest warrant is issued by a judge at the local or federal level authorizing the police to arrest you and force you to appear in court for a specific charge. Probable cause has to exist for an arrest warrant to be issued, meaning that law enforcement believes they have enough information or evidence of your involvement in a crime to make an arrest.    

You don’t have to have committed a serious or violent crime to have an active arrest warrant. Something as simple as an unpaid traffic ticket, missed court date, or un-paid fine can cause and arrest warrant to be issued. In those cases, it’s common to have no idea that you have an active warrant out until it’s too late.

How to find out if you have a warrant

There are several quick and easy ways to find out if you’ve got an outstanding warrant for arrest.

Hire an attorney

Attorneys have access to legal databases that you and the general public do not, allowing them to quickly run searches for active warrants. An attorney may do this free of charge, but some may require payment.

Contact a bail bondsman

Similar to a lawyer, a bail bondsman has access to county databases that are updated regularly with active arrest warrants. An added bonus is that a bondsman can help you with the next steps if there is a warrant out for your arrest.

Search your county court database

Sheriff’s departments and county courts have an online database of active warrants you can search free of charge. These sites are not always up to date and some warrants may not be available to the general public.

Contact the local police

You might not want to walk into your local police station, but so long as you’re able to provide your first name, last name, and date of birth, the police can tell you over the phone if there’s an active warrant for your arrest. You can also have a friend or family member call on your behalf.

3rd party websites

You might not want to walk into your local police station, but so long as you’re able to provide your first name, last name, and date of birth, the police can tell you over the phone if there’s an active warrant for your arrest. You can also have a friend or family member call on your behalf.

Federal warrants

Checking for a federal warrant requires you to speak directly with a federal court clerk. If you think there might be an outstanding federal arrest warrant you will have to contact the federal court for your district, which can be found here.

What to do if you have an outstanding arrest warrant

If you have an active arrest warrant or even think that you might, don’t panic. The number one goal is don’t make the situation worse.

Do get legal advice. Retaining an attorney is going to cost money but they can help you understand the charges, your options, and potential penalties.

Don’t ignore the warrant. Arrest warrants to do not expire and they don’t just go away. People have been arrested on warrants that issued over 40 years ago.

Do get a copy of the arrest warrant. You’ll want to know the date it was filed, the location, the charges, and all relevant information to your case.

Don’t run from law enforcement. The database of active arrest warrants is national and airports, car rental companies, bus stations, and train stations usually have access to a list of people with active warrants.

Do speak with a bail bondsman. A bail bondsmen can help you get things in place to secure bail after your surrender and help you get finances in order to ensure you spend as little time in jail as possible.

Don’t immediately show up at the police station to turn yourself in. Speak with a lawyer or even a free legal advice center to understand your options.

This article is not intended to serve as legal advice for your situation