How to Check for Warrants Nationwide

By Carrie Ferland - Updated June 19, 2017
Woman checking for warrants online

A warrant is an official court document that gives law enforcement the permission to perform an act that would otherwise violate an individual’s civil rights. You can check for warrants by contacting the sheriff's department or looking online. Typically, warrants are issued for someone’s arrest, though they also allow law enforcement to search a person’s home, vehicle, place of business and belongings. Warrants can only be issued after a law enforcement agent, such as an investigator, sheriff or police officer, provides a sworn, signed affidavit showing probable cause that the person named in the warrant committed a specific crime.

Check for Warrants Through the Sheriff’s Department

Obtain personal information about the individual you wish to check for warrants on, if you are searching for someone other than yourself. You will need the full name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. Additional information, like a telephone number or driver’s license number, can also aid your search.

Contact the sheriff’s department in the county where the individual resides. The sheriff’s department should have access to any active warrants nationwide, regardless of where the warrant was issued. Request a search of any active warrants, and provide whatever personal information you have. You can also request information on what the warrant was issued for, who issued the warrant and what type of warrant it is.

Check for Warrants Through Your State Website

Gather personal information about the individual you wish to perform a warrant search on. A full name, address, county and state of residence is sufficient for online warrant searches.

Locate your state’s Department of Justice (sometimes called the Division of Justice or the Criminal Department) online. Your county may also have a separate website dedicated to outstanding warrants in that area. You can find it by visiting your state’s official government website, or use the link below to find a listing of state and county department websites.

Search through the current list of active warrants in the area. Regardless of where the warrant was issued, you should be able to find it according to the individual’s current name and/or address.

Warning

When contacting the sheriff’s department to check for warrants that have been issued for you, take caution. The sheriff or deputies may dispatch law enforcement to your residence, based on the location from where you make the call, to bring you in if they suspect you are the same individual for whom the warrant is issued.

While you can inquire at your local police department about active or outstanding warrants, if an active warrant is discovered for your arrest, you will be arrested at the station if you reveal your identity and/or they suspect the warrant was issued for you.

About the Author

Carrie Ferland is a practicing civil litigation defense attorney in the Philadelphia Area. As an author, her work has been featured in various legal publications for over 10 years. Ferland is a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and completed her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration with the Dickinson School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article