For more tips from our Legal co-author, including how to turn yourself in to the courts, read on! This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. Categories: Vital Records. Ashley Williamson. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by Clinton M. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Search official government websites.
If you have access to the Internet, then you can quickly find out whether or not there is a local warrant out for your arrest. Go to the city, county, state or federal website where you think you might have a warrant for arrest. Government websites are kept up-to-date, which makes them a reliable way to get information. Look for the "Legal" or "Health and Safety" sections to see if they offer a warrant search.
Alternatively, try entering a phrase such as "arrest warrant" in the search bar on the website's home page. Some counties do not offer online warrant searches. In that case, look at the local sheriff or police department site for contact information. Call the court clerk. If you would like to speak to someone, you can call the court directly.
You can call any court in the state that you believe the warrant may be in, because states maintain a warrant database that can be accessed from any state court. Do not identify yourself; instead, simply ask if there is an outstanding warrant for "Person X" using your name here in a criminal or civil case. Have the following information ready: the case number if you know it , name, birth date, and Social Security number.
How to Check for Outstanding Warrants
Keep in mind that for some cases such as family and juvenile delinquency cases, and domestic violence cases involving protective, peace, or restraining orders, you may not be able to find information through the court clerk. However, the clerk should still be able to tell you about an arrest warrant, even if he or she cannot give your specific information on the case itself. Criminal cases are mostly public record, so you should not have an issue getting information on these.
However, some types of civil cases are not public record, such as family and juvenile delinquency cases, and domestic violence cases involving protective, peace, or restraining orders. For these types of cases, consider consulting a bail bondsman or attorney. You can also call the county, state, or federal clerk's office.
Note that if you call from your own phone, the police may be able to locate and arrest you. They can trace the phone number to an address, or to any billing information associated with that phone number. If you are nervous about calling yourself, ask a close friend or family member to call for you. Check the public records at a county courthouse. You can use the computers at your county court to search warrants. If you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself, ask someone to do it for you a friend, family member, attorney, or bail bondsman. Most minor offenses will not lead to an immediate arrest.
You may be able to pay a fine and settle the matter quickly. Use an online third-party service.
When Do I Have To Show Police My ID?
There are a number of websites that can perform a warrant search for you. Some are free, and others charge a fee. For example, they may provide vital statistics and property ownership, but not information about arrest warrants. For this reason, these services should be a last resort. Find out when the warrant was issued. Sometimes people can be completely unaware that they have a warrant out for their arrest. Knowing when the warrant was issued could shed light on some important details.
There may be fines associated with your charge that have been accumulating since the warrant was issued. These will be listed among the warrant information.
Additionally, in some case, if the warrant was issued long ago, a person cannot be prosecuted for the crime. It is not that the warrant has expired, but some crimes have a limited statute of limitations period in which the suspect can be prosecuted. Therefore, if you believe that you may have a warrant out for your arrest for an underlying incident that occurred over 2 years ago, look up the charge that would appear on the warrant or something similar to see if there is a limit on the time that the warrant would be valid.
Inquire about the charges. Vital information includes the date of offense, the details of the charges, and the case type e. The severity of your charge may influence your choice of legal representation. Also note any date of conviction, sentencing, disposition, and probation, if they apply to your case. Note the bail amount. Deal with the warrant as soon as possible. Regardless of the charge, the best thing you can do for yourself is to respond quickly.
Being proactive about your warrant helps you avoid being arrested publicly and at inopportune times. Moreover, it limits any accruing fees. Contact an attorney. In the event that a warrant has been issued for a major offense, you will most likely want to contact a criminal defense lawyer.
Can You Check Warrants Online
An attorney can help you understand your warrant and will make suggestions as to possible next steps. In addition, an attorney can accompany you to the local court to inquire about your warrant. Bring the warrant number and all relevant information you have so far. Avoid picking the first name you see in the phonebook or any other advertisement. Instead, get a referral from someone who's been in a similar situation, or someone knows a good attorney. You can also find attorneys by looking at your state bar association website. Meet with the attorney first to make sure that they're someone you're comfortable with and can trust.
If you're unable to pay for a lawyer, contact the public defender's office of the county where your warrant was issued.
follow Ask to speak with the duty attorney and explain you'd like to clear your warrant. Turn yourself in. Turning yourself in can help make the process smoother, reducing the risk of more severe punishment and fines, and, in some cases, the creation of a criminal record.
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Start by turning yourself in to the courthouse clerk. Ask for information about what steps to take next, but make sure you have the right clerk. For county and state warrants, talk to the county clerk; for federal warrants, talk to the clerk of the U. District Court. Bring an attorney or legal representative with you for advice. Some misdemeanor and minor charges may be taken care of without a hearing. If you turn yourself in to a police station, you may end up being put directly in jail until your appointed time in court. A court-appointed attorney will be provided for you if you turn yourself in.
Do not ignore the warrant. This will only catch up to you. Can police force their way into my home if a warrant is issued for not appearing in court as a witness?
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Jesus Lopez, Esq. Police can force their way into your home if the warrant is issued for you and they have reason to believe you are in the home. If the warrant is issued for a third party who does not reside in the home with you, then they cannot enter the home without consent or exigent circumstances. Yes No. The same is often true if you have been previously convicted of a serious or violent felony a "strike" , and are being charged with a new felony.
The first court date in a criminal matter is called an arraignment. The judge will briefly advise you of your constitutional rights. You will be advised of the charges that have been filed against you. These may be different from what you were arrested for.
The prosecutor may file additional or fewer charges than the officer saw fit to charge.
You will be asked if you would like to have an attorney and that if you can't afford one, an attorney will be appointed to represent you. Your custody status will be addressed: bail may be set or you may be released on your own recognizance or on pre-trial release. The judge may put conditions of release on you depending on the nature of the charges as well as your history. On the issue of bail, sometimes the prosecutor will refer to some of the allegations. It is not appropriate or in your best interest to comment on the facts or allegations. Any comments you make can be used against you at trial.
If you are requesting that the Public Defender's Office be appointed to represent you, you will be required to fill out a financial affidavit to determine if you qualify for their services.