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How to Check for Criminal Warrants

    • 1). List the existing information you have on a person or case, noting the name of a suspect of defendant, estimated date of arrest or incident and an indication of where the suspected crime took place. You will need this to find the right police report that can lead you to the correct case documents.

    • 2). Contact the county E-99 center (administrative office, not the emergency dispatchers) to find out who is in charge of the case. Based on the information you have, they can search a database and tell you which police agency handled the matter and on what date.

    • 3). Get the police report on the person's arrest. If there hasn't been an arrest, ask for the incident report. If there is no incident report, ask to see the police blotter and review all entries around the time period you are researching. There may not be a formal police report if this is a matter where police questioned a person or persons about something and then referred the case to another agency. The agency may have an arrest warrant for the suspect, but according to FOIAdvocate, may withhold the document for public inspection if the case is still under investigation.

    • 4). Call the county prosecutor or district attorney's office and provide the information you obtained from the police department. If there is a warrant for a suspect's arrest, to bring him back to court or to search his property, it may not necessarily be linked to the same jurisdiction to where an initial arrest took place. Prosecutors can tell you which court is currently handling the matter.

    • 5). Ask the appropriate court for a copy of the warrant or, in the case of a search warrant, the warrant application. Bench warrants may be the easiest to come by because the judge will want to get the word out that the defendant is wanted back in court. Arrest warrants, though issued by police departments and not judges, would eventually be included in a criminal case file. Search-warrant applications can be provided to the public after the warrant is executed.

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