Though the state's biggest metropolis may be the city that never sleeps, having a warrant out for your arrest shouldn't be the source of that insomnia in the Empire State. No matter if you live in New York City, Albany or Brighton, the New York warrant search is a fairly straightforward process, with a few different options at your disposal. So, while you may have a long road ahead, you can at least rest easy by sticking some crucial knowledge into your quiver – all it takes is a phone call or a quick browser search.
Warrants in NY
Offenses ranging from unpaid traffic violations or street gang involvement all the way up to robbery and felonies can net you an outstanding warrant in the state of New York. No matter what kind of warrant that may be – a civil contempt warrant, warrant for arrest, bench warrant or otherwise – New York state arrest warrants are entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center database. Once there, the warrants can be accessed by the New York City police, state police and naval police.
If you've got a warrant out for your arrest in New York state, you can legally be arrested at any time, in any place, day or night, public or private. As is common practice all across the United States, law enforcement officers in New York routinely use license plate scanners that automatically cross check your vehicle's plates against any outstanding warrants. If you're not up to date, the officers in that scanner-equipped cruiser might know you have a warrant out for your arrest before you do.
The NYC Warrant Search
Since having a warrant out for your arrest is stressful enough, the Big Apple makes the arrest warrant search in NY a pretty painless process – all it takes is a phone call. If you can handle calling customer support, you can handle searching for an arrest warrant in NYC.
To find out about any arrest warrants issued by the boys and girls in blue at the New York City Police, just call the New York City Criminal Court Information line at (646) 386-4500. This helpline covers all five boroughs, walking you through a series of simple prompts. In the case that there is a warrant out for your arrest, the City of New York recommends turning yourself in at any local police precinct.
Warrant Search NY: Other Warrants
If you're outside of NYC or have a bench warrant – which a judge issues against you when you fail to appear for jury duty, fail to pay traffic tickets, ignore a subpoena, ignore a court order to pay child support or miss your court date – the process for checking up is fairly similar.
In this case, you'll just have to call the office of the county clerk appropriate to the warrant – check out the New York State Association of Counties official site for a full list of county clerks across the state.
Alternatively, websites such as NewYorkArrestWarrants.org and Public Data Check offer online options for finding warrants in New York and across the United States. Operating under the legislation of the U.S. Freedom of Information act – which guarantees public access to a wealth of state data – sites like this offer searchable databases of outstanding warrants, employment records, marriage and divorce records, property records and more. These sites do, however, charge a small fee for the service and may not provide hard copies of reports.
Read More: How to Search For Active Arrest Warrants
To check outstanding warrants in New York, you just need to spend some time on the phone with the NYC criminal court or county clerk's office.
- It is usually better to obtain this information from the police department, as it is free and more likely accurate.
- The police department will also provide information about how to clear an outstanding warrant.
- Warrants can result from anything, whether it is an unpaid traffic ticket, an ignored citation or an unexpectedly suspended driver's license.
- Lack of foreknowledge of a warrant will not protect you from arrest.
As a freelance writer and small business owner with a decade of experience, Dan has contributed legal- and finance-oriented content to diverse sources including Chron, Fortune, Zacks.com, Motley Fool and MSN Money, among others.