How do I Find out if I Have Active Arrest Warrants?

T. Webster
T. Webster
A warrant is likely to be issued when someone fails to appear in court.
A warrant is likely to be issued when someone fails to appear in court.

Searching for active arrest warrants on yourself or others is relatively easy. Often, an inquiry to the overseeing agency where the offense took place — either by telephone or the Internet — will reveal whether a warrant was issued. Warrants are typically issued when a person fails to appear in court or is being sought on criminal charges. People who worry about outstanding warrants likely have a reason to be concerned. A typical example is when someone knows they have unpaid traffic tickets.

Someone with unpaid traffic tickets might want to know about active arrest warrants.
Someone with unpaid traffic tickets might want to know about active arrest warrants.

Contacting a court house or law enforcement agency is a direct route to finding information about active arrest warrants. Court clerks and law enforcement agencies may give the information over the telephone, or they may require that all inquiries be addressed in person. The amount of information given may also depend on the seriousness of the warrant. When investigating a serious crime, police may not want a suspect to be tipped off that there is a warrant out for his arrest. A suspect may decide to flee if he knows he is about to be arrested.

An arrest warrant may be used to arrest an individual who has violated their probation.
An arrest warrant may be used to arrest an individual who has violated their probation.

Internet searches are a good way to find free arrest warrant information. Some law enforcement agencies, for example, have this information listed on their websites. Be aware, however, that not all warrants may be listed. Even if a name does not appear in a database, a warrant still may have been issued.

Hiring a private detective or an attorney is another way to search for active arrest warrants. This option is good for someone who wants anonymity in conducting the warrant search. Detectives and attorneys are well-versed in conducting background checks, and usually have clearance to access certain databases that are either unavailable to the general public or require a membership or a fee. Be sure to get a price quote from the private detective or attorney and get the terms in writing before agreeing to purchase any services.

When searching for active arrest warrants on someone else, whether for personal or business reasons, it is important to have as much information as possible about the person being researched. Carefully read any reports purchased online, and look for disclaimers about the report's accuracy. HAlso be aware that some sites advertised as "free" may only search for the information free of charge. A fee may be required to access reports.

Always seek information from a credible source and make sure measures are in place to ensure accuracy. Do not jump to conclusions if a report lists an arrest warrant next to a person's name. A date of birth and other identifying information should be used to verify that it is the correct person. This is particularly important for people with common names. When in doubt, the information should be verified by another source, such as a law enforcement agency.

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Discussion Comments

AnswerMan

@Buster29, I don't think people forget about warrants completely, but they may not be aware one has been issued in another state or jurisdiction. It's like dodging a bill collector. You know you owe some money to a creditor, but you hope against hope that a collection agency will actually find you three years later. Some people just live on borrowed time until another law enforcement officer calls in for a warrant check.

Buster29

It amazes me how many people are unaware of possible arrest or bench warrants. I would think a person would remember the time he didn't show up for court or failed to take care of traffic tickets. I can remember every single traffic ticket I've ever received, and I'm pretty sure I'd remember if I had committed a crime serious enough for a court appearance.

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    • A warrant is likely to be issued when someone fails to appear in court.
      A warrant is likely to be issued when someone fails to appear in court.
    • Someone with unpaid traffic tickets might want to know about active arrest warrants.
      Someone with unpaid traffic tickets might want to know about active arrest warrants.
    • An arrest warrant may be used to arrest an individual who has violated their probation.
      An arrest warrant may be used to arrest an individual who has violated their probation.