How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant (And Steps to Follow if You do)
So, you ran a red light, or didn’t pay for a parking spot, and now you have a ticket. What happens if you don’t pay that fine, or, if you choose to contest the ticket in court, don’t show up for your assigned court date? Well, even though you may believe that your traffic violation is a big deal, if you choose not to pay or try and get the ticket waived in court and simply ignore it, you may in fact find yourself with a warrant in your name.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to this, and aren’t sure whether your have a warrant or not, follow these steps:
What Are Warrants?
When it comes to warrants, there are two types that may be applied to you if you do in fact have a warrant.
First, there is a bench warrant. Bench warrants are the most common and can be issued for a multitude of reasons, including missed court dates, failure to appear before a court or failure to comply with a mandated order.
The other type of warrant is an arrest warrant, which occurs when someone is suspected of a criminal activity and must be taken into police custody. A police officer must be able to produce a sufficient amount of evidence to a judge in order to prove that an arrest warrant is necessary.
So, How Do You Find Out if You Have a Warrant?
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you have a warrant, then you can check your local court’s website, which more often than not will have searchable public records that you can use find existing warrants in your name. If you find out on the website that this information is not open to the public, then call the court’s clerk or county clerk.
If you end up calling a clerk, then you should have the following information on hand:
- The Case Number (if you aren’t sure what your case number is, the clerk may be able to help you)
- Your birth date
- Your social security number
While you can avoid identifying yourself as the person that the warrant was issued for if it is a court warrant, we do not condone ignoring a warrant that is in your name. Instead, use this time to speak with your lawyer on the proper and legal steps to take. If the warrant is an arrest warrant, turn yourself over to the authorities immediately.
Keep in mind, criminal cases are public, but some states have regulations against releasing civil case information to the public. For example, civil domestic cases are often times not likly to be public.
What to Do if You Have a Warrant
If you followed those steps and it leads you to finding out that you do have a warrant, whether a bench or arrest, then you may be able to show up in court and pay a fine, depending on the severity of the warrant. However, check with your lawyer beforehand if this is an option. Once again, this is exclusive for court warrants. If you have an arrest warrant, turn yourself in immediately.
If you do not have a legal counsel to help you determine next steps, a court clerk might also be able to guide you in terms of actions to take to mend the situation.
Important information to note: If you do not take care of your warrant, either by going to court or speaking with a lawyer, the next time you come in contact with the police, you are more likely to be taken into custody.
One of the most common examples, and an easily avoidable situation, is someone not going to court or paying for a traffic violation. If they ignore the fine or do not contest in court, they are much more likely to be taken into custody.
Clearing a Warrant With Goldberg
Most arrest warrants have bail attached to them. One exception is a “body-only” warrant. In Minnesota, for example, a body-only warrant requires law enforcement to arrest you and hold you in custody until you can be brought to court. They are typically issued for two reasons:
- You missed a court date and the judge believes you will not show up to court voluntarily.
- You are charged with a serious crime and do not have a permanent address, or you are believed to be a threat to public safety.
It is important to work with a defense attorney and licensed bail bond agent. They have better access to and knowledge of the legal system than the typical person and the experience to help expedite your case.
Comprehensive Bail Bond Services in Minnesota
When you have a warrant issued for your arrest, it is crucial to find a trusted bail bond agent who can help you post bail and clear your record. Goldberg Bail Bonds has more than 100 years of experience serving Minnesotans. We can help you post bail at any jail in the state and we even offer free warrant checks. With licensed agents in every Minnesota county and 24/7 availability, we are your convenient choice for bail bonds services.
Call 612-333-8111 or contact us online.
*Please note, this is not legal advice and each situation is different. Please consult your lawyer regarding the specifics of your case.