What is a warrant record? In layman’s terms, an arrest warrant is a document issued requiring a person to appear in court to respond to charges which have been assessed against that person and for which the person has not previously posted a reply or a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest). Guidelines for issuing and responding to warrants can vary by state; however, there are a few general guidelines for warrants overall. Having an active warrant can allow a law enforcement officer to stop you and take you into custody, detain you, or search you and/or your property.
Types of warrants that can be issued by a judge can include search warrants, arrest warrants or execution warrants. Warrants can be issued for failing to pay a traffic ticket, being a suspect in a crime, or failing to make a required court appearance for a case (this is usually what is called a “bench warrant” in lieu of the above). A warrant record, therefore, is the written evidence that any of the above listed warrant types are active and that you are being sought by law enforcement.
Many states keep warrant records online, so in some instances simply entering an individual’s name can produce this information with a simple mouse click ( on SearchQuarry.com ). For other states, the requirements are more rigid, and the person listed within the warrant record would have to respond himself or herself to the issuing courthouse to obtain information or a copy of the warrant record. This process can often be completed by telephone or by personally appearing at the courthouse. A person may also opt to respond by mail to inquire as well. When responding, regardless of method, information will be needed to prove identity (date of birth, social security number), and this information is also used to locate the warrant records within the court system. Once the warrant records are found, the individual has the option of entering a plea and paying any associated fines to clear the warrant, or the person can post a collateral item (such as a home lien) and request a court hearing to consider the case facts. The warrant records will be updated and the warrant itself cleared once payment has been made and/or once the hearing has concluded with a final verdict. If a person does not respond voluntarily to an active warrant record, that individual is subject to arrest at any time unless the charges are cleared (or in some states, if the statute of limitations is reached for the original charge, such as a three year statute of limitations for a traffic offense in Pennsylvania) so it is best to review and address any outstanding issues quickly to prevent escalation to active warrant records!