How to Check For Bench Warrants

Name Phone Number License Plate VIN
Name Phone Number License Plate VIN

What Is A Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is an open warrant that is typically the result of a missed court date, unpaid court fine or an unpaid traffic citation, which are all infractions. The court system, at least for most infractions, is designed to provide individuals with access to a judge in a timely manner. Over time, the meaning of timely has shifted, and many people have court dates months out from the time they receive an infraction.

For some people, simply staying on top of a court date for something minor like a moving violation can be tricky. For others, avoiding court is made easier due to long lead times before you have to go in front of a judge.

When a court date is missed or other laws of the court are violated, a bench warrant may be issued. Use this guide to learn more about bench warrants, how you can check to see if you have one and how to deal with it if you do.

A bench warrant is a type of warrant issued by a judge. This can happen when a person misses a court date where they were scheduled to appear. However, bench warrants can be issued for other infractions, and a broader definition allows judges to issue them when a person simply violates any of the rules of the court.

For all practical purposes though, bench warrants are issued when a person does not show up for a court date. Police can arrest individuals who have a bench warrant.

Even though bench warrants are public record, you cannot simply walk down to the courthouse and ask to run a warrant search on someone, if you even know what courthouse to go to and in what state. A simple way to verify if someone, including yourself, has an outstanding warrant is to use a resource like This type of search, that can be run on anyone as long as you have a first and last name, is intended for verification and unofficial purposes only.

How to Find Out If I Have a Bench Warrant

  • Contact the courthouse listed on your citation. The most direct method for finding out if a bench warrant has been issued for you is to visit the courthouse where the ticket was issued. You’ll find this information on your citation. Visiting the traffic clerk and criminal clerk window is often ideal to ensure that you’re warrant-free.
  • Contact the police. Judges issue bench warrants, but the police are the ones who enforce them. Contact your local police or sheriff’s office. Some cities like Las Vegas have websites that private citizens can access.
  • Third-party websites. In some states like California, you may be able to use online third-party sites to check and see if you have a bench warrant. These sites are often effective in helping you find answers quickly without making phone calls to the courts or visiting in person. Many third-party sites also allow you to check your criminal record at the same time. The great benefit of using a resource like this is you can quickly run warrant checks on anyone, a co-worker, a neighbor, a car-pool parent, or anyone else that you or your family associates with.
  • Talk to your attorney. Your attorney can help you find out if you have a bench warrant without you doing the work for yourself. They may be able to help set a new court date for you and stop the bench warrant.

Checking to see if you have a bench warrant can feel like a complicated process. If you fear that you may have one, you have a few options to help you get the information you need to act accordingly.

Bench WarrantHow are Bench Warrants Issued?

A bench warrant will be issued by a judge and the court where the judge presides. The police then enforce the bench warrant, helping to bring the individual to court. In many cases however, a bench warrant differs from an arrest warrant in the veracity with which the police pursue the issue.

Most bench warrants are issued because of failure to appear violations, many of which are resolved when the individual gets a notice from the court through the mail. Typically people are not arrested

Bench Warrant vs Arrest Warrant

A bench warrant is typically issued by a judge, which sets it apart from an arrest warrant, which will usually be issued by local police in the area where you live. Typically a bench warrant is issued because a person did not show up in court – on the bench in front of the judge – at the agreed upon time.

While a bench warrant is issued by a judge, it is the police who will enforce it and help ensure that the individual does end up in court. For all practical purposes, a bench warrant can be treated just like an arrest warrant.

Most of the time though bench warrants are resolved by the court and the individual without police intervention. Extradition or other similar actions are unlikely for most bench warrants.

How to Fix a Bench Warrant

  • Try to schedule a new court date. You can do this in person at most courthouses.
  • Ask your local court clerk if you can see a judge the same day. This can happen in some cases. Other courts may give you a time the next day or even the same week to ensure that you show up.
  • Talk to the police in your area. They can help you clear up a bench warrant and ensure that you’re cooperating with the courts.

Criminal Record SearchTrying to figure out what to do when you’re served with a bench warrant can be a little confusing. While contacting the courts, the police or using a third-party website is best, it won’t help you actually clear up the matter. Your attorney can help with that, but if you want to do it on your own or you don’t have an attorney, you do have options.

Bench warrants are not something you want to mess around with since the police do enforce them. However, most people get bench warrants because they simply forget about a court date due to other life circumstances and long wait times. If that happened to you, simply contacting the court is your best bet.

Act quickly, ideally as soon as you remember that you missed a court date, and leniency may be granted. Some areas charge court fees and fines for missing court dates and bench warrants, but if you’re dealing with a traffic ticket or minor violation, you won’t be put in jail!

Bench Warrants - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have a bench warrant?

It's possible you have a bench warrant if you've missed a court appearance or have unpaid court fines or fees. You can check with your county courthouse clerk if you've actually got an active bench warrant.

Can I get arrested for a bench warrant?

Yes, it is absolutely possible that a bench warrant can result in an arrest depending on the nature of the bench warrant. A missed court appearance for a misdemeanor or felony court case can result in an arrestable bench warrant.

Are bench warrants public record?

Yes, bench warrants are public record via the Freedom of Information Act. Anyone can find out if you have a bench warrant by checking with online resources like

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Responses to “How to Check For Bench Warrants

  1. says:

    Spencer, many people want to know what a bench warrant is and if they have one. We were able to process your request for a free bench warrant search and did not find anything active at this time in Tennessee.

  2. says:

    Hello! Could you please check if there is a bench warrant for a “Spencer James Parks” who is 19? The warrant would be from North Carolina but the place of residence is in Tennessee.

  3. says:

    Angel, we ran a Colorado bench warrant lookup for a Jack Daniels and found there is an arrest record from April this year out of Jefferson county however we did not find any active bench warrants at this time. If one is pending for a missed court appearance or failed court order, you might want to contact the clerk of the courts in Jefferson county to make your inquiry as well.

  4. says:

    I was hoping you can check and see if there is a bench warrant for Jack Daniels. 10-9-1983
    for aurora colorado, and possibly check Jefferson County Colorado
    Please and thank you!

  5. says:

    Michael, you have a fairly common name and there are multiple listings for people with your first and last name. Can you provide us with your middle name and age so we can filter our results for you?

  6. says:

    Need to know if I have a bench warrant out of Dallas Texas for Michael Lynch

  7. says:

    We are showing an arrest with some pending SC felony charges for a Kaitlyn Daine mason from April 2023, however we do not see an active bench warrant as of yet. If there was a missed court appearance then it’s possible there is one pending. You may want to check with the clerk of the court to be certain

  8. says:

    Please check for warrent out of Horry County SC Kaitlyn mason

  9. says:

    Can you search for any outstanding warrents for Isaiah Lee Monroe
    dob: 8.6.87

    We live in Indiana randolph county but was curious if you could do one for all states?

  10. says:

    Corina, we ran a check in NY and could not find anything for you at this time. If there is something pending it will not show up, you may want to check with the relevant courthouse clerk to make your inquiry if you missed a court appeance

  11. says:

    Can y’all check cortland county ny
    Corinna burk

  12. says:

    Vanessa, we ran a Texas bench warrant search for you and did find an active serving bench warrant for a Vanessa Lyn McGraw for Franklin County, Kentucky

  13. says:

    Hello, i am needing to see if i have a warrant please? Out of Simpson County, Kentucky.
    Thank you!!

  14. says:

    We ran the name Chris Cooper through our court records database and did not find anything active for this person

  15. says:

    Hello I am not sure if I have a bench warrant out in Summit County Colorado making sure everything is cleared up.

  16. says:

    i have an active warrant and dont know if its bench or arrest warrarnt for butler county ohio

  17. says:

    Michelle, in Wyoming your name is fairly common and we show multiple listings for people with criminal records with your name however no active bench warrants that we can find. If you can provide your middle name we can elaborate more on what Wyoming criminal records we have found

  18. says:

    Hi my name is Michelle Miller age 50 and I need to no if I have an active warrant in Casper Wyoming

  19. says:

    I’m trying to find out if a family member has a bench warrant his name is Dan Jr Edward Isbell born 4/18/60 in 1990 he was charged with a DWI in Bellevue Washington

  20. says:

    Howard, we ran a Louisiana bench warrant check for you and could not find anything in our resources. If you have a missed court appearance or have violated a LA court order or probation then you consider reaching out with the clerk of the court to find out how to mitigate the situation before a warrant is issued

  21. says:

    I’m Howard Marshall Smith I live in winnfield Louisiana dob 03/30/1982 do I have any active warrants

  22. says:

    Darrell, we do show an arrest record from Cook County Illinois however we are not able to find any active bench warrants at this time. If there is one pending, it’s might not be publicly available information yet. If this was from a missed court appearance then you may want to contact the relevant clerk of the court to inquire and/or reschedule

  23. says:

    Im Darrell Molette I live in Chicago Illinois my D.O.B is 3-30-1985,do I have a active warrant

  24. says:

    Please check for warrants in Peoria Illinois. Preston Shane Wells 04/12/1970

  25. says:

    You will want to contact the clerk of the county court where you suspect you may have an outstanding bench warrant

  26. says:

    A bench warrant has been issued, how do I find out what the bench warrant is for? I have never received a citation nor a ticket or anything in the mail that I have seen. What is the next step in finding out what it is for? Is there a site or someplace that I can look it up?

  27. says:

    Ashley, we show a recent Kentucky contempt of court charge from April this year but we haven’t located any bench warrants for Heath in our system. If this was a recently issued Kentucky warrant then it’s possible there is a delay in it’s reporting

  28. says:

    Gilbert, we rant the requested name through our database resources and did not find anything within our Tennessee warrant records

  29. says:

    Hi i am trying to find out if i have any active warrants in kentucky. My name is Heath P. Mays and my DOB is 05-15-1990

  30. says:

    Warrant check Bedford, Moore,and Lincoln counties,TN

    Please and Thank You

Last Updated: 2018-11-08

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