An outstanding arrest warrant is a court-ordered document giving police permission to arrest someone. The term “outstanding” means it is a valid, active warrant that can be used to arrest a person at any time.
An individual can check for outstanding local warrants in two ways:
- Go to the local court’s website. Type the name of the person in the searchable public records section. It is important to know as much information about the person in question so that they can be properly identified in the public records.
- Contact the local court directly. Ask the court clerk if there is an outstanding warrant for the individual. Again, have as much information as possible about the individual, such as the individual’s birth date and any relevant case numbers.
Contact the federal clerk of court’s office directly. Ask if there is an outstanding warrant for the specific individual. Sometimes, going in person to the federal court is an option.
Keep in mind that federal courts are divided into circuits. If there is a possibility of multiple outstanding federal warrants, the person may have to contact each circuit that a warrant may be outstanding in.
If an individual is uneasy about calling because of a possible arrest, they should ask a trusted friend or family member to check for them.
The answer depends on the type of warrant. For example, a bench warrant may be resolved by going to court. Other warrants may be resolved by paying a fine.
You should check with a criminal attorney before going to the courthouse to check for an outstanding warrant. In most cases, an attorney will resolve the issue for you. Attempts to resolve the warrant may include negotiating your surrender or paying the fine on your behalf.