Most people prefer to check for arrest warrants online for free because it saves them money, presents barriers of anonymity, will not result in an arrest, and because they’ll avoid paying for online services or lawyers to do it for you. These types of searches often eliminate an element of fear in the warrant process because many individuals do not entirely trust law enforcement and would rather remain anonymous. The free methods used in arrest warrant or multiple arrest warrant checking detailed below are the same methods many attorneys use.
Information Needed to Check Warrants for Free
You'll need to have the name and birth date of the person you wish to check for a warrant on. If you are performing a warrant search on yourself, then this information should not be hard to acquire. A few county online databases also require a driver's license number or social security number. This may hinder you if you are researching warrant information for somebody else. Many will divulge this information to you, if they are technically incapable of checking for a warrant online for free on themselves.
There exists on the internet a slew of scam sites, that offer promises of free warrant checks online, only to turn around an ask you for a credit card for various reasons. These sites are almost always a hoax, and not a way to get free warrant information. Consider actually paying for a service if you are going to give your credit card information away.
Checking Online for Warrants for Free
If you wish to remain anonymous while searching for a warrant, it is important to first try on the internet. Go to a search engine such as Google or Yahoo and type in the name of the county followed by the word government. For instance, if the county name is "Harris County" you would type in "Harris County government". Usually the real county web sites will be followed by a .gov or .us or the postal abbreviation of the state such as .NY (New York) .OH (Ohio) .TX (Texas). Be sure it's the real county web site because often people set up web sites that look official but are really some type of business that wants to provide you with a warrant check service.
On many county web sites, they will have a criminal records section, criminal history section, or a crime records section. Some of these sections list "active warrants". If not, they may have an "active warrant link" or a "county sheriff link". Be sure to check the county Sheriff link as they may list warrants online for free as well. It may also be located under the county clerk section on the web site, but it will have to be under a criminal section and not civil. Sometimes warrants will be listed as a "criminal case" without a disposition or outcome of a trial. If you follow the link, you can check for a warrant status. If the status is listed with an "A", that usually indicates that there is an "active" warrant.
Alternative Free Warrant Check
If for any reason you have difficulty checking for warrants online for free, you can simply call the county sheriff's office. If you wish to remain anonymous in this call, a pre-paid cell phone can be obtained from almost any store for usually less than $20, or you can simply find a pay phone if you want to save money. Of course a pay phone would be the best method that you could use to remain anonymous while checking for a warrant, but remember the hold times can be long.
While calling the county Sheriff, you'll need the name and birth date of the person that you would like to check for warrants on. Ask "I would like to find out if a warrant exists for "insert name" and also I would like to find out if there is a bond amount". When the officer checks the database, and if it does not turn up any arrest warrants, simply say "thank you" and hang up. If there happens to be a warrant of arrest, get the bond amount. You can give this information to an attorney and also it is good to know how much will be needed for the bond. Remember it is always better to pay for an attorney than to be caught off guard and surprised with an arrest, especially at an inconvenient time (like at work).
Free Warrant Check Tips and Tricks
Always bear in mind that if there is a warrant and you get the bond amount, you do not have to answer anything from the Sheriff's representative on the phone. Simply give them a nice line of "Just calling about the warrant, thanks!", and hang the phone up afterwards. Never try to lie about anything and remember that silence is golden. Do not tell them who you are. This is a traditional way to get free warrant check information, but more and more counties are allowing people to check for warrants online for free.
Some counties are picky about letting you get any type of arrest warrant information. They will tell you all types of stuff such as only an attorney or bail bondsmen can call to find out. Usually, this is a lame attempt to just get the individual to stupidly come in and present their ID in order to find out. Of course, if you are the one who happens to have a warrant, you will be arrested right then and there. It's kind of a trick that many law enforcement agencies use to arrest people. Sure it's pretty dishonest, but it happens all the time. Checking for arrest warrants online for free is a much better way to check for warrants because it doesn't entail tricks, deceit, or people who will try to entrap you.
An attorney can always help you determine if you or anybody you care for has a warrant with these stubborn or tricky counties. Sometimes a good criminal defense attorney will do this for free and save you money because they would like to represent you. They know if a warrant check returns a positive result that they could pick up an individual as a client. However, there is no obligation to hire an attorney just because they performed a warrant check. This is a more "sneaky" way to have a professional check for you free of cost.
Now that you know how to check for warrants online for free, be sure to always implement these steps in a safe and courteous manner.