How to Find Out If You Have Outstanding Warrants

By Lori Lapierre

Most of us do not expect an officer to show up at our door to make an arrest, especially in front of family, friends and neighbors, and perhaps for a crime we are not aware we committed. But the unexpected can happen--and if an officer shows up with a warrant, that is what will happen. Arrest warrants are legal orders issued by a judge to police officers to find and arrest someone. They can be requested by a District Attorney who is filing charges for some reason, or a judge if an individual fails to appear for a required court hearing. If this happens to you, you will probably require the assistance of an attorney to help you fight the charges or explain them to the judge in court. But whether or not you think there may be any warrants issued for your arrest, it is never a bad idea to do a little research and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Call the county court house, jail, or clerk of courts and ask for a search to be done. You should be able to find these numbers online or in the front section of your local phone book under "Government". For security reasons, it is likely that any of these offices will refuse to give information over the phone, even if you have your social security number and date of birth. But if you live in a smaller community with less red tape, you may be able to find the information you need here.

Search public records online. Some counties offer this information, and you can start your search there or by typing "arrest warrant search" along with your state and county in a search engine. There are also numerous online services that will research this information for you, but for a fee.

Ask a police officer. If you are pulled over for a traffic infraction, you may ask the officer to search your information, although the officer may do that automatically. You may also approach a police officer in your community and ask for a search to be done.

Hire an attorney or a bail bondsman to inquire about a warrant on your behalf. This protects you from being arrested on the spot for a bench warrant you were not aware of. It also allows you to have assistance in getting the warrant removed as soon as possible. It is better not to have to deal with the problem from jail.