How to find out if you have an Arrest Warrant
Most people do not realize that there is an arrest warrant out in their name until after they have been arrested and sadly, before they can prepare themselves to fight the charges against them.This how-to guide will walk you through how to find out if there is an arrest warrant out in your name and if so how to deal with it.
Make sure you ask the right person if there is a warrant out in your name.
Don't ask a police officer or go to the courthouse. They can have you arrested on the spot if there is a warrant out in your name, even if you know them well.
Never attempt to use false identification to obtain information from either of these people, this will only add charges to any warrant you may have out in your name.
Call the court clerk of the county. Doing this over the phone will prevent them from arresting you on the spot. Since all warrants are a matter of public record, you have the right to that information. However, they may not make this information available over the phone. When inquiring, never give your name to the clerk's office if you are searching for warrants in your name. If you are required to do so, have a friend or family member request that information on your behalf.Try an online data base. There are some websites that you can use to determine if you have a warrant or not. Most of these charge for that information. In some counties, courts and police stations have their own online systems which will allow you to search for active warrants.After you are certain you have an arrest warrant out in your name. Find out all of the details. Ask when the warrant was issued, what the bail amount is, and for what the charge is. This will give you more information on how to act.
Decide the best course of action for your situation.
Depending on the severity of the charges, you will want to act differently.For warrants that may carry jail time or a heavy penalty, it might be in your best interest to contact an attorney to aid in your defense. They will be able to walk you through the next steps since you will likely have to turn yourself in. This will cost money since you will not have a court appointed attorney unless you turn yourself in and are arrested.
In the case that your warrant is for a minor offense, something like overdue parking tickets, ask the court clerk's office to place your case on the docket to be heard by a judge. In the meantime, try to mitigate the charges by paying off any fees you may owe.
In all cases, you can turn yourself in. This will allow you to receive a court appointed attorney and will automatically put your case on the docket. However, you will likely have to spend the night in jail.
In all cases, you can choose to ignore it. This is not suggested. Chances are the eventually you will get pulled over by the cops or need to file something in the clerks office. When that day comes, they will run your information and you will be arrested on the spot.If you are unsure if there is an arrest warrant out in your name and need help.
Deal with all warrants as soon as possible. If you think there might be a warrant in your name, its best to deal with the situation as soon as possible.
Even if you are experiencing identity theft, try to deal with the warrant over the phone. While you may not have committed the crime, the warrant is still legally out in your name.
Find out when the judge will see people from your county and turn yourself in the day before. Then you will be seen the next day.
Andrew Clifford always uses Brubaker Legal, an Arizona Criminal Law, for his criminal questions and research. This Arizona Criminal Attorney has been in the criminal business for over 20 years.