Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Checking to see if someone has an arrest warrant can be a good idea if you plan on employing them, entering into a relationship or inviting them closer into your life. Some people want to make sure that there are no warrants out for their arrest if they recently moved and are concerned that they didn't get any sort of notification. In some states and counties you may be put on an arrest warrant list if you simply forgot to pay a fine or got a speeding ticket.

Finding Out Your Own Arrest Warrant Status Straight from the Source

The easiest way to determine if you have a warrant out for your arrest is to stop a police officer and ask. Explain your predicament and why you're concerned, and they will run your identification. If you have an arrest warrant, the officer will give you a ride to the courthouse where you can sort the situation out.

Using the Phone

If you want to look up your arrest warrant status without actually getting arrested because you need time to make arrangements with a criminal defense lawyer, you can contact the court directly by phone and ask them to look up the arrest warrant status of a particular name. This method can also be used to find out if anyone else has a warrant out for their arrest.

One downside to this option is that you will probably only get information on local or state arrest warrants. To find out if there are federal warrants or warrants in another state, you may need to contact a federal courthouse or the court systems in those other states for the information. Another downside is that depending on court procedures, you may need to wait several weeks to receive the warrant status in the mail. If you need it immediately, this can be a problem.

Finding Arrest Warrant Status Online

While there are many websites that claim to provide arrest warrant status anywhere in the United States, this can be a slippery slope. On one hand, free services often don't provide nearly enough information to be useful, but on the other hand, paid services may be scams to hook you in to sharing your credit card information. Always do your due diligence before making any online purchases to find arrest warrant status.

Using a Lawyer or Private Investigator

Lawyers and investigators are signed up for services that give them direct access to more police files than you might be able to find by looking through the Internet. Of course, you will probably have to pay a significant amount to have a professional look up someone else's warrant status, but you can be assured that it is accurate and thorough.

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