A warrant is an order issued by the court and authorizes the arrest of a person accused of a crime. Perhaps you own a business and want to check on a employee or potential employee. Or maybe you are wondering about a potential baby sitter or neighbor. You may even suspect there is an arrest warrant out on yourself. Warrants can simply be a result of missing a court date – even if just for a ticket. There are numerous ways to check for an arrest warrant, whether it is for yourself or for another person.
Contact Your Criminal Court Clerk's Office
Go to your county courthouse, and the clerk’s office can typically tell you if there is an arrest warrant issued for you. However, beware that you could be arrested on the spot if you show up personally to inquire about this and there is indeed a warrant. The clerk should also be able to tell you how much the bond is, should you have a current warrant.
Check With Local Enforcement
Your local law enforcement agency may also check arrest warrants for you. Some law enforcement agencies even have a website where you can search by name for active warrants. For example, California's Orange Count's Sheriff's Department allows you to search for warrants in the county by first and last name.
Get a Full Background Check
Many commercial websites offer this service for a fee. Most states also will charge a small fee for a background or public record check. For example, as of 2017, Indiana charges $15 per search for subscribers, and $16.32 per search for non subscribers. Iowa also charges $15, as of 2017, and you must fill out the required forms. Some counties and states may provide these services for free. Depending on the website, the search may include state, federal and county warrants and other information. The county warrants search will provide you with the person’s name, state, county, warrant issue date, case number and charges.
Hire a Lawyer
A lawyer or even a bail bondsman can determine if there is a warrant for you. Both have experience on how to navigate the court system. If you choose a bondsman, make sure that he is reputable.
Arrest warrants do not go away until you are arrested or a judge recalls the warrant. Arrest warrants can remain valid for years. It could take numerous weeks for a warrant to appear in the system, so check back within two to three weeks to make sure your name is clear.
If you do end up having a warrant, write down the case number. Hire a lawyer to help start the process of clearing this warrant. In some cases, you will be able to avoid jail. If you can’t afford a lawyer, try a public defender.