What are Arrest Warrants and How You Can Search for Them

warrantAre you interested in checking whether a person is wanted by the police? Your best alternative for a warrant search is the county sheriff. Some sheriffs have an electronic search tool on their official website. For instance, if you want to inquire about warrants issued in Will County, Illinois, all you need to do is navigate to the sheriff’s online database (which you can find here) and initiate an inquiry based on a name or city.

If there is no such online search option, go to the sheriff office in person and ask them to go over their archives. It’s less convenient and it will take more time, but it will be worthwhile if you get the information that you seek.

In addition, some states operate public databases that present fugitive people and the warrants issued against them. A good example for such a database is the Public Access System of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Some things you should know about arrest warrants

In the United States, a person can be incarcerated on the spot only if he or she is caught in the middle of a criminal act. Otherwise, the police must acquire an arrest warrant to take a suspect into custody.

The process of acquiring such a warrant is quite complex. A police representative or the district attorney must convince a judge or a magistrate to sign the warrant. The judge will inspect the evidence that calls for an arrest and will give his consent if there is a probable cause to believe that a crime has indeed been committed by that suspect whom the police wish to detain.  Once a warrant is issued, it does not lose its force. It can be used at any point in the future to apprehend the suspect.

Be advised, if there is a formal order for your arrest, you are never safe. You can be taken into custody at any given time no matter where you are – at work, at home or even while you are on a date or with friends.


Recommended reading:

Washington State Legislature – Can a person be arrested without a warrant?