How to Find Out If a Bench Warrant Has Been Issued for Yourself

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If you're unsure if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, there are some proactive steps you can take to find out before it's too late.

A bench warrant is a court order issued by a judge to compel an offender to appear before the court in a hearing or trial. You can find out if a bench warrant has been issued for you by contacting any number of official agencies, or reviewing your court documents. Bench warrants are commonly issued for offenders who do not appear in court or pay a fine as ordered. Try some of these methods to find out if you have a warrant before the police come knocking.

Contact the Sheriff's Department

The sheriff in your town will receive notification if a warrant is issued for you. The sheriff is responsible for visiting the homes of those who have warrants issued and is even empowered to arrest people with warrants when they’re pulled over for routine traffic violations.

Read Your Court Documents

If you have existing court documents for the case in question, there may be information in the paperwork that explains when a warrant is issued. For instance, there may be language in your paperwork stipulating that a warrant will be issued if you fail to perform a certain duty. If you have failed to perform the duty named in your paperwork, it could be safe to assume that a warrant has been issued.

Contact the Clerk of Courts

The clerk of courts maintains a record of all court proceedings occurring in your jurisdiction. His office will have information about whether or not a warrant has been issued. The clerk of courts will also have information about what may be needed to clear the warrant. In cases involving traffic violations, library fines and other minor matters, it may only be necessary to pay a fine. Call the clerk of courts or visit the clerk’s website for information about any warrants you may have.

Talk to Your Lawyer

If you have hired professional counsel for a legal matter, she will be notified if a warrant is issued for you. Ask your lawyer if a bench warrant has been issued for you. Your lawyer will also have information about what you should do to clear the warrant.

Watch Your Mail

In many cases, the clerk of courts or sheriff will mail a notice advising that a warrant has been issued. These letters may be sent using certified mail through the U.S. Postal Service and will often require a signature acknowledging receipt.


  • If you use some of these methods, you'll no longer be "under the radar" and could be subject to immediate arrest, assuming a warrant has been issued.


  • You may need to provide your name and social security number to obtain information about warrants you may have.


About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Crystal Lewis is a former insurance professional who has been a freelance writer for a variety of online publications since 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and is currently pursuing a master's degree in theology at an East Coast seminary.