In Missouri, an individual can check to see if they have outstanding warrants through Case.net, the Missouri state courts automated case management system. The information on Case.net is not considered to be official court records. Case.net offers real time access to most court information, and can be accessed outside traditional work hours.
Case.net only shows documents from courts that have implemented the case management software as part of the Missouri Court Automation Program and it only shows records from cases deemed public under the Missouri Revised Statutes. Using Case.net, an individual can search by:
- Person’s name.
- Case filing date.
- Case number.
- Scheduled hearings and trials.
- Name of the judge or commissioner.
- Person’s attorney.
- Judgment index search.
- Pay-by-web options for the case, to pay court costs and fees online.
Case records not deemed public include juvenile court records, per Missouri Revised Statutes Section 211.321 and mental health evaluations, per Missouri Revised Statutes Section 630.14. There is no charge to use Case.net beyond the cost a person incurs to use the Internet.
Individuals may further determine whether they have active warrants by contacting the clerk of the court that issued the warrant or the law enforcement agency that may have knowledge of the arrest warrant. There is no charge to call law enforcement agencies or a clerk of court. Arrest warrants typically are public records.
Webpages for County Sheriffs
A local county sheriff’s office or police department may have a webpage that lists active arrest warrants for the county or municipality. What is shared on this page varies by county. For example, Boone County’s page lists current outstanding felony warrants that are over 90 days old, as well as misdemeanor and traffic warrants over 30 days old.
The information on the page is not considered to be an official court record. Greene County’s page lists warrants related to misdemeanor, felony, traffic and municipal ordinance violation cases and states that the list is not to be used as a confirmation or probable cause that any warrant is active.
How to Handle Active Warrants
An individual can resolve an active warrant by turning themselves in to a local law enforcement office or the county jail. They can also go to court to request to resolve their case. For a traffic case, this may involve paying the fine and court fees.
For example, in Kansas City, Missouri, situations sometimes occur in which a police officer did not issue the offender a citation at the time of the incident. The case was reviewed and later filed by the city prosecutor’s office. The judge then issued an arrest warrant for the defendant, and the defendant is sent a warrant notice. They must post bond to get a court date.
If a case is payable, the defendant’s options are:
- Plead guilty and pay their fine.
- Plead guilty and enter a payment plan and pay 25 percent of the total balance.
- Post a bond to get a new court date.
- Attend a walk-in docket to talk to a judge about recalling the warrant. The judge may order the defendant to post bond instead.
If a case is non-payable, the defendant may either post bond to receive a new court date or attend a walk-in docket. A municipal court does not issue warrants for failing to pay fines. It does issue bench warrants, or warrants instituted by a judge, for failing to appear in court on a scheduled court date.
Requirements to Issue a Warrant
Police officers or other law enforcement officers can obtain a warrant by signing an affidavit which states facts that they know from their observation or from the observations of citizens or police informants like confidential informants. The facts reveal that probable cause exists for the law enforcement officers to search the defendant or their property, seize property or arrest the defendant.
Certain situations qualify as exceptions to the requirement to get a warrant, such as an arrest made when an officer is in hot pursuit of an offender. A defense attorney can attack a warrantless arrest later in a hearing prior to trial.
What a Warrant Contains
An arrest warrant must contain:
- Name of the person against whom the warrant is made.
- Alleged offense they committed or probable cause for the arrest.
- Date and location details of the offense.
- Expiration date that determines how long the warrant is effective.
- Name and signature of the judge or commission issuing the warrant.
- Date the warrant was issued.
Warrants and Statute of Limitations
A warrant may not have an expiration date. It can remain in the system for law enforcement officers and judges to find, but a judge may recall, or revoke, a warrant if they have a reason to do so.
Many criminal, traffic and municipal ordinance violation cases have a set statute of limitations. A prosecutor cannot pursue a case past the statute of limitations for the most serious charge. If a warrant is still active, and the person is apprehended but the statute of limitations for the type of case has passed, the judge is likely to recall the warrant.
FTAs and License Suspensions
A failure to appear warrant is one that the court issues if a person has failed to show up for a court appearance for any reason. The person could be the defendant in a criminal case or a subpoenaed victim who is a witness in a criminal case. The person could even be an expert witness in a civil case.
A person who fails to come to court on certain moving violation traffic cases and has an active failure to appear (FTA) warrant may see their driver’s license suspended. In order to get their license reinstated, they must contact the Missouri Department of Revenue Driver’s License Bureau. They should request a compliance letter and pay a reinstatement fee to the revenue department.
Fugitive Warrant and Governor’s Warrant
A fugitive warrant is a warrant issued by another state when an offender is believed to be in a different jurisdiction. For example, if a person had an arrest warrant issued in Illinois but was apprehended in Missouri, the Illinois warrant would be a fugitive warrant. An out-of-state warrant may not be found in Missouri’s Casenet system or other state-centric databases.
A governor’s warrant is issued by the governor’s office so a Missouri offender can be arrested in a different state. The offender will be brought back to Missouri. A governor’s warrant should show up in Case.net.
- Your Missouri Courts: Case.Net
- Greene County Sheriff’s Office: Greene County Active Warrants
- Boone County Sheriff's Department: Active Warrants
- 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri: FAQ
- Kansas City, Missouri: Warrants and Bonds
- Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 211.321 Juvenile Court Records
- Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 630.14 Records Confidential
- Missouri Courts: Casenet Public Inquiry
- Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 548.221, Fugitives from this state, duty of governor
- Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 548.071 Issue of Governor's Warrant of Arrest
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.