In a word, yes. It’s easy to check for warrants online in California. Whether you are checking out a new neighbor, a potential new employee, or making sure there aren’t any warrants out on you, there are several ways to check for outstanding warrants online.
Searching for warrants online in California is anonymous for you, the searcher. But for a search to work, you will need the full name, date of birth, last known address, and any other identifying information about the person you are searching for. You may not have to enter all this information into the search, but you will need it to sort through the results.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney from the Simmrin Law Group.
How Warrants Work in California
Judges sign warrants allowing police to search your home or vehicle or arrest you when they see you (or the other person if you are not searching your name). There are several different types of warrants, such as:
- Bench Warrants: Judges generally issue bench warrants when someone fails to show up for a court date, fails to pay fines, or disobeys a court order.
- Arrest Warrants: They issue arrest and fugitive warrants when someone is accused of committing a crime.
- Search Warrants: Search warrants, which do not generally appear in these online results, allow police to investigate inside your home or car.
What Happens After the Judge Signs a Warrant?
Once a judge signs a warrant, the court clerk enters it into the local court or law enforcement website, which is accessible through the national Department of Justice (DOJ) website – so any police officer nationwide has access to information that will indicate if there is a bench warrant or arrest warrant out on you.
In this way, any encounter with a police officer or other law enforcement agent could lead to an arrest if you have a bench, arrest, or fugitive warrant. This is one reason why it might be necessary to know if there are any outstanding warrants. You do not want to face arrest at the most inopportune time because you forgot to pay a traffic ticket, and the court issued a bench warrant.
If you discover a warrant for you, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you navigate the process to clear the warrant and/or fight the charges against you. Discussing your options with an attorney should be your first step after learning there is a warrant issued for you.
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Search for Warrants Online Through a Third-Party Database
Want to know how to check if you have a warrant in California? The first thing to know about third-party websites is they may charge you a fee for running a warrant search.
You can use some free third-party database sites if you do not want to use a government website. The more details you want, the higher the fee. These third-party websites are not affiliated with any government agency.
If you just Google a warrant check, these websites will come up. However, you never know what information you will get with these websites or how accurate they will be. They collect their information from various sources, including government agencies, but there is no guarantee the information is up to date.
Still, this may be a good option if you do not know the location of any possible warrant. This sometimes occurs when people conduct unofficial background checks on others. You want to know if they face legal accusations anywhere in California, not just in their current location.
Search for California Warrants Online Through Government Agency Websites
While third-party services can be useful, knowing how to check if someone has a warrant with California’s state sources can save you time and money in the long run. This is an especially good option if you know the city or county in question.
The best way to search for a warrant in California is to go to the city, county, or California state government website where you think the warrant exists. Note that you will need to visit the official government site.
Official government websites end in .gov instead of .com. Some third-party sites try to look like government sites but end in .com. Each government website will have a search function for people with outstanding warrants.
For example, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website has a warrant search tool where you can check for active warrants. The more specific information you have, your search results will improve. Most counties in California have similar search tools, although their website locations differ.
How Do I Search on These Sites?
Some sites will have a search function where you just type in the name and see if a warrant comes up. Other websites will have a link to click on that will bring up everyone with a warrant for their arrest in the area. Generally, large jurisdictions will have more in-depth search tools that let you easily sort the long results list.
Some less densely populated areas or smaller towns may not have this information available on their websites, so you may need to call to find out how to get the information you seek.
Some government agencies may charge for their warrant searching service, but many do not. Generally, it is still cheaper to use the official sites than pay for a third-party app or website.
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What if You Have a Warrant in California?
If you think you have a bench or an arrest warrant on you, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The warrant may contain incorrect information, or you may not have committed the offense it accuses you of. Your best bet is to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately who can offer advice and representation.
Your attorney will know what to do. They navigate this process regularly and can help you develop a strong defense strategy based on the circumstances. Trying to avoid the warrant or ignoring the allegations against you could worsen your situation.
Should I Turn Myself In?
Turning yourself into the court or the police without an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side could be one of the biggest mistakes you ever make. Your criminal defense attorney will know the most effective arguments and steps to take to resolve your case in a way that is in your best interests.
A bench warrant or arrest warrant will not simply go away. They do not expire. You could face immediate arrest if you encounter a police officer who checks for warrants—such as during a routine traffic stop.
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Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in California
Criminal charges are nothing to ignore. You are at risk of losing money and freedom when facing a criminal charge, such as DUI, drug possession, assault, and others. A criminal defense attorney in California can provide you with an honest assessment of your case so you know what to expect.
Defense attorneys have experience working in the court system, representing clients in front of different judges, and dealing with the prosecutors and District Attorneys of California. Put their experience to work for you when facing a criminal charge so you can focus on other areas of your life.
Contact Simmrin Law Group About a Bench or Arrest Warrant
If you suspect that you might have a bench or arrest warrant in your name, contact Simmrin Law Group now, day or night. We can run a thorough warrant search for you to determine if there is a warrant, what it is for, what fines you may owe, and much more. Sometimes we can even get a bench warrant cleared without a court appearance or an arrest warrant wiped without you having to spend any time in jail.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, call Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation. We are available to take your call 24/7. Do not talk to the police until you talk to us.