When a judge authorizes law enforcement agencies to arrest someone, they’ll issue a document known as an arrest warrant. While being issued an arrest warrant does not automatically mean you are guilty of a crime, police officers can still arrest you. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to determine whether or not you have an arrest warrant. Here’s a look at four of the methods you can use during your arrest search.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to warrant search is to go online. Many records and documents are available upon request digitally thanks to certain laws and acts — for example, Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Act allows the public to see certain information, which can include arrest warrants.
To learn if you have a warrant for your arrest, visit the website for your county’s sheriff’s office. Numerous counties allow residents to search for active warrants on their website, though some only list warrants that have been issued within their jurisdiction. While this is a quick way to find an arrest warrant, it is not a surefire one. Although certain county websites may regularly update their warrant information, others do not — smaller counties may not even have a site at all. Additionally, some crimes and their active warrants may not be uploaded if they are deemed lesser.
If you’re unsure of which county your potential warrant was issued in, try going to the website for your state’s common pleas court.
Visit Your Courthouse
Do you know which specific court may have issued your arrest warrant? Then consider visiting them and making a request to see their records. Arrest warrants are county-specific and are filed by the county’s district clerk. In addition, most court records are available to the public, meaning that you can check them out — often for free too. However, this might be a time-consuming process, and you may be arrested in the process.
Ask a Police Station
During your warrant search process, you may want to consider visiting the police station. While they can provide an answer as to whether or not there is a warrant for your arrest, asking them can be risky. The officers at the station can question you, and you might incriminate yourself in the process — worsening the situation. However, there are several methods of indirectly entering contact with a police station that don’t involve visiting them in person. You can ask a family member to go to the station in your place and ask if there is a warrant for your arrest. Alternatively, you can ask a criminal defense lawyer to ask them for you.
Contact an Attorney
In general, contacting a legal expert is one of the first things that should be done during your warrant search. A lawyer is arguably the safest and most effective method of learning whether or not you have a warrant, as they have both experience and access to databases that may be off-limits to the public. However, an attorney can do more than determine whether or not you have a warrant — they can help you throughout the entire process. A legal expert can offer information regarding your potential warrant and offer advice on what steps you should take. With their assistance, you stand a better chance of resolving the conflict before it escalates into something more serious.
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