Wisconsin courts issue bench warrants when a person doesn't show up for a court hearing. They are disseminated to the sheriff's department and, from there, to law enforcement across the state. To determine if a Wisconsin court has issued a warrant against you, search law enforcement and court databases online or in person, starting with the county you live in or visited when you were in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Warrant Information
Wisconsin courts issue bench warrants when someone doesn't show up for a court date to answer for a traffic ticket or other small matters, or for misdemeanor and felony offenses. Unless you contact the court, the judge doesn't know why you missed the hearing so the court issues a warrant that is sent to the sheriff’s department.
The sheriff also receives warrants from the district attorney's office to find suspected criminals or witnesses and to bring those people in for investigation. You may also have a warrant issued against you if you fail to pay fines or costs imposed by government agencies.
It is law enforcement's job to find you and bring you in. That's why bench warrants are sometimes called arrest warrants – you can be arrested because of an outstanding bench warrant. The sheriff’s department shares the information electronically with the state Crime Information Bureau system and the National Crime Information Center. This means that if someone runs your name through a law enforcement database, it will show if you have a Wisconsin warrant outstanding against you.
This could get you arrested if the person running your name is a police officer, or cause you to miss out on a potential job or apartment if the person running your name is a potential employer or landlord. It's always best to find out if you have outstanding Wisconsin warrants and clear them up.
Wisconsin Warrants Search
Fortunately, you can run a Wisconsin warrant search online for free and even try different search engines. The first place to look if you think you might have an open bench warrant is the Circuit Court Access Program.
All court records and warrant information is considered public information in Wisconsin and open to public viewing under Wisconsin open records laws. The CCAP warrants search engine provides access to Wisconsin circuit court information. The information displayed is taken directly from data that court staff inputs into the circuit court case management system. You search by name, birthdate, county or case number.
Alternatively, visit the sheriff's office warrant list website for the county you live in or visited when you passed through Wisconsin. If you had any dealings with the court system or law enforcement in a particular county, that's the county to try first.
Read More: How to Search For Active Arrest Warrants
- If you discover that you have a warrant for your arrest, it is best to turn yourself in. Circumstances may worsen if you wait. Contact the city or county police department.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.