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How To Find Out If You Have A Warrant

 

A quick internet search for “do I have a warrant” will find a few articles on the subject of how to find out if you have a warrant.   Typically these articles will say something like the following:

 

  • Ask a Police Officer - Ask any police officer and they can quickly and easily access their database at no cost to you.  Mind you, if you do have a warrant issued against you, that police officer can arrest you immediately.  (Did you really need to do an internet search to find this out?)
  • Go to the Courthouse - If you believe you have a warrant out for your arrest and you think you know where it may have been issued, then pay that courthouse a visit.  Of course, if the courthouse you are thinking of visiting is nowhere near where you suspect you may have had the warrant issued, you may be wasting your time.  (There is a lot of uncertainty here as well. (Could they be doing this on purpose?)
  • Use Online Services - One of the best ways for how to find out if you have a warrant is by searching on the internet. Many websites online now offer you the option to find out if you have warrants issued against you in any state in the U.S.  This is affordable and easy for you to access because the data is available to the public.  (Gosh this sounds great, where do I sign up?)


What these articles don’t tell you is they are often written by people who are incentivized to sell you on an online database service.  That’s why they make the first two options sound bad and the last sound so easy.  Even if the author isn’t getting paid directly, there are ads on the pages touting the benefits of these online services.  Here’s what you need to know about these databases:

 

1 - Although they like to tout how many records they have, often the information is irrelevant or out of date.

2 - They may not have the most up to date information.  These places typically get their information from public records databases, like those that newspapers build.  That doesn’t mean they know about your issue. Your warrant may have been issued last Friday, and these databases probably don’t have it in their system yet.  This is even more true in rural parts of the country, where technology isn’t at the same level of big city governments have.  Public records take time to be made public.

3 - You cannot expect that your information is kept confidential.

 
But here’s the most important thing:  Once you find out if you have a warrant, what then?  Finding out if you have a warrant is just the first step.  You can spend countless hours on the phone calling the city, county, and state courthouses yourself to find out if you have the warrant, but the person on the phone may not be able to tell you what you need to know, and cannot give you any legal advice about what you should do next.

On the other hand, having an experienced criminal attorney act on your behalf can make all the difference.  If you have a simple matter, an attorney may be able to get the warrant issue cleared up for you.  But he or she has to be able to ask the right questions to ascertain the specifics of the case.  In other words, you may not want to be the one calling the courthouse.  You want be represented in cases like these.  If your issue is a complex one, like drug charges, serious felonies, or domestic violence, then you definitely need an experienced criminal attorney acting on your behalf.

Finding out if you have a warrant may not be so easy, but the smart way to find out if you have a warrant is to pay someone reliable and experienced in such matters such as an experienced criminal attorney who specializes in situations like yours.  It pays to know and be proactive and responsible even if you’re not sure you broke the law.  Procrastination is expensive and may result in getting arrested at the worst possible time.  Procrastination can really cost you.

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