Reporting someone with an outstanding warrant from another state can be as quick as making a phone call to local law enforcement.
Contact your local law enforcement office to report someone with a warrant from another state. Your local police or sheriff's department would normally make a warrant arrest and should be a first point of contact. If the person is arrested, the agency would then arrange transport to the state and county where the crime occurred.
What Is a Warrant?
For many investigations law enforcement officers generally obtain a warrant through the court system. The document contains an outline of the basis for the arrest, such as physical evidence or witness testimony, and is signed by a judge. Warrants may also be issued during the legal process for failure to comply with court requirements, such as appearing on a specified date.
Filing an Initial Report
A warrant arrest must be conducted by an officer with arresting authority in the suspect's state. For example, the Pinal County sheriff's office in Arizona recommends contacting local law enforcement where the suspect can be found when reporting a warrant. Be prepared to provide your contact information and any pertinent details regarding the person with the warrant. Law enforcement can then verify if a warrant exists and contact the requesting agency for next steps. If your local agency asks you to follow up with the out-of-state department that requested the warrant, do so.
Not All Reports Lead to Arrest
In some instances, an out-of-state warrant may not lead to an immediate arrest. Laws for extradition in many states do not provide for the transport of suspects on misdemeanor offenses, and even an approved extradition can take time. If the offense the warrant was issued for doesn't merit extradition, officers may never arrest the person with the warrant until they resurface in the issuing state.
Play It Safe
Don't attempt to stop or arrest a person with an outstanding warrant on your own. Even if you personally know the person or the warrant is for a non-violent offense, you run the risk of becoming a crime victim. Doing so violates procedures a commissioned law enforcement officer is trained to follow. For example, state troopers in Alaska confirm all warrants with the Alaska Public Safety Information Network before arrests are made, an action a civilian cannot duplicate.
- NOLO: Arrest Warrants: What's in Them, How Police Get Them
- Office of the Inspector General: Fugitive Enforcement Program
- Pinal County Sheriff's Office: I Know a Certain Person Has a Warrant for His/Her Arrest, and I Know Where They Can Be Found
- Department of Public Safety, Alaska State Troopers: AST Warrants
- Virginia.gov: Extraditions