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How to find outstanding arrest warrants

Updated July 19, 2017

Now that almost anyone can easily access the Internet, and with the proliferation of public records on the Internet, it is very easy to find outstanding arrest warrants for anyone. The most important things to be aware of when checking on outstanding arrest warrants are to be cautious and careful, and not to pay if you can get results for free.

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The simplest way to find out if an arrest warrant exists on a person is to check with the police or the courthouse in person. These methods carry a risk, however, because if you are discovered to have a warrant, you can be arrested on the spot. This leaves you without time to prepare.

If you are checking your own name and are worried that you may have an outstanding warrant, you can use Internet databases to perform your search. Look on the Internet for a company that provides searchable databases for criminal records for your state or county.

Before using a commercial database, check your county sheriff's website. Many county sheriff's offices now allow searches of the arrest warrant database online. Be aware that this will only show warrants for your county.

If using a commercial database, check to see whether the company is a reputable one before entering into a transaction with them. Make sure they have complete contact information, an FAQ, and a confidentiality policy. Check the company's reputation with services like the Better Business Bureau.

Enter your search in the database you have chosen. If you know there is an outstanding arrest warrant, but your search has no results when entering the subject's full name, try doing a search by last name only. Be sure you know the correct spelling. If multiple results come up, scroll through the results and look for your subject's first name, nickname or middle name and check that record for a match.

Warning

Remember that checking your record with the police or in court may result in an arrest. It is important to deal with outstanding warrants right away, but it is easier to deal with it if you can prepare first.

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Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Commercial arrest-warrant database (optional)

About the Author

Katie Glick has over a decade of experience writing and editing for the education, legal, financial, and entertainment industries. After graduating from UCLA with an English degree, she worked as a copy editor and staff writer at Campus Circle Newspaper. She has also worked as an editor for PRNewswire. Her most recent experience is developing and editing high school textbooks for McGraw-Hill.

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