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Police Warrant

An arrest warrant is a warrant which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual. It is usually issued by the state or on behalf of the state. In the United States warrants are usually issued by courts but one of the chambers of the United States Congress or other legislatures or even other political entities have the authority to issue a warrant. An arrest must be based on a probable cause under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. Law defines probable cause as trustworthy facts or knowledge sufficient for a reasonable person to believe the defendant or suspect has committed or is committing a crime.

This information is provided through an affidavit to a neutral and detached magistrate who will issue the arrest warrant. An affidavit is a sworn statement. With respect to arrest warrants, the affidavit is usually prepared by a police officer working on the case. Any arrest warrant must contain the probable cause that a specified crime has been committed. It should also state that the person or persons named in the warrant was guilty of the specified crime. The warrant should be supported by a signed and sworn affidavit. However the police usually do not need a warrant in order to arrest someone suspected of a felony as long as they can come up with a necessary probable cause for doing so. In most jurisdictions an arrest warrant is required only for an offence that has not been committed in the presence of a police officer.

A police officer can stop, detain and question someone without arresting that person or having a warrant in some situations. For instance, if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot and that suspicion is supported by articulate facts, the police officer can stop the suspect and conduct a preliminary investigation to verify his suspicions. If the police officer requests for the suspect's name and the suspect does not comply, the police officer can arrest him for noncompliance. Further, after the police officer has stopped a suspect, the police officer might frisk him if he has a reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed and dangerous. Moreover police have the authority to stop cars and create road blocks without having a warrant. If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a law has been violated, the police officer may stop a car from committing a traffic violation. Police officers can also use this practice as a cover for investigating a suspicious driver. Additionally, the police may create road blocks as a matter of law enforcement. However, police must stop cars on the basis of a neutral, articulate standard that is designed to serve law enforcement purposes closely related to driving. An example would be placing a road block near an area with many bars and night clubs.

A search warrant provides a law enforcement officer with the authority to gain access to a premise, conduct a search and seize property. However arrest warrants and search warrants are only available to law enforcement officers agents like the FBI or the DEA but neither are available to private citizens. A common legal misconception that most people harbor is that the police need a search warrant in order to search a house or car. This idea has mostly been propagated by various T.V shows that depict the officers getting into a lot of trouble when they enter a home without a search warrant or portray criminals getting away with crimes because the police cannot enter without a search warrant. As long as the police have probable cause or any reason to believe that a crime has been committed in a particular house or car they have the right to search that house or car with or without a warrant. Probable cause can mean that the police have the right to search any house or car whenever they have any reason to suspect that the owner is in possession of drugs or other illegal belongings. The totality of the criminal action is surveyed only when the court looks at a case to determine the probable cause. An officer with an arrest warrant is required by the law to knock and announce his presence before entering the premise of another person. This holds even if the officer positively identifies, has a justified and reasonable belief or even if he positively knows that the suspect is within the premises. That is the law.

However it is possible that the procedures employed to obtain a warrant or to exercise a warrant to become a legal question in a case based on many technicalities. So these are just general guidelines. Now, generally speaking, there can be many exceptions to the rule. The amount of time between announcing his presence and entering and arresting can be slight. However, the officer is not required to knock or announce if he has a reasonable belief that by doing so, he may place himself or others into a dangerous situation or if he has any reason to believe that evidence may be moved or destroyed. Even if he believes that some other event might occur that would hinder the arrest he need not knock and announce his presence before arresting the miscreant. However the law requires a legal enforcement officer to not destroy property unnecessarily during an arrest. But if under hostile circumstances he has to break in order to gain access he is allowed to break doors and windows.

An arrest warrant can be issued against a person for various reasons and they need not always be serious crimes like rape or murder. Sometimes even negligence on the part of a person to pay a fine may result in the issuance of a warrant against him. Or a person might not know that there is a warrant issued under their name for not responding to a ticket issue for violation traffic rules. It happens when a person violates a traffic rule and a ticket is issued but the notification does not reach them. Naturally the person does not respond to the ticket and then automatically the matter escalates to a warrant. When a person is deemed to be in contempt of court - sometimes as a result of offences like skipping bail or failing to turn up in court at an appointed time and date for a mandate appearance a bench warrant can be issued against him. A bench warrant is the variant of an arrest warrant. It authorizes the immediate on sight arrest of the individual subject to the bench warrant.

Bench warrants are usually issued in either civil or criminal court proceedings. They are traditionally issued by sitting judges or magistrates. A bench warrant is sent to the local, state or national authorities as a case may require. In most cases a bench warrant is issued against a person who might have intentionally avoided a court appearance to escape the probable consequences of being found guilty of a crime. If the non-appearance takes place when the person was on bail and awaiting criminal trial then normally the suspect is held in custody without bail or the court may forfeit bail and set a higher bail amount to be paid after the subject is re-arrested. A person against whom a bench warrant has been issued may clear the warrant by voluntarily appearing in court. If a bench warrant is not cleared then if a law enforcement officer spots a person against whom a bench warrant has been issued they have the authority to put them behind bars until a hearing is held. The hearing may result in the court setting a new bail amount, new conditions and a new court appearance date. The court might declare a person arrested on bench warrant a flight risk and order them to be detained without bail.

The rising number of crimes in recent turbulent times has led to an increasing number of arrests in our locality. A police warrant gives the officer on duty the authority to detain or take a suspected individual into custody and produce him or her before the judiciary in due course of time. However, the United States of America legislature makes it mandatory that such records be made publicly available. To give you an insight into the current situation, 53,338 police warrants have been issued alone in a city of Baltimore in the state of Maryland. Some jurisdictions have a very high number of outstanding warrants. An arrest warrant that has not been served is termed as an outstanding warrant.

The city of Baltimore, Maryland had 53000 outstanding warrants as of 2007, while New Orleans had 49000. The state of California has more outstanding warrants than any other state. It had around 2.5 million outstanding warrants with nearly 1 million of them being in the Los Angeles area in 1999. Some places have laws which impose various restrictions on people with outstanding warrants against their name. Such restrictions could range from prohibiting the renewal of such a person's driver's license to prohibiting the issuance of a passport. If the person subject to the warrant is unaware that a warrant is out against him or her then the warrant could be outstanding or the agency responsible for executing the warrant may have a backlog of warrants to serve. If the person named in the warrant is intentionally evading law then as well the warrant issued against him would be outstanding.

As a rule warrants stay in the court system until the defendant is arrested or they are recalled regardless of the category so treating an old warrant as irrelevant is unwise. Usually the length of the time spent on the run to avoid prosecution does not count towards the statute of limitations assigned to a certain charge. Failing to resolve bench or felony warrants can adversely affects many small comforts that most people take for granted such as air travel, obtaining a driver's license, or passing background checks for a job. If there is a warrant issued against you in that case whether you have committed the offence or not is really irrelevant for the police. They are obliged to arrest you if there is an arrest warrant against you. If you resist they will state in the police record that you were taken in involuntarily. This will not work in your favor as the courts are often known to be more sympathetic towards people who surrender themselves willingly. Self-surrender might open the door for a more favorable resolution of the case and resumption of a regular life.

Even if you are not on the wrong side of the law but having anything to do with someone who has an arrest warrant against him could land you in trouble as well. So do not hesitate to run a background check before entering into any sort of business partnership with any person. If you fail to exercise a bit of caution it could be the cause for a lot of misery in the future. So before you engage into any sort of working contract or monetary transactions with an unknown stranger we recommend you browse through the police warrant records. This might save you a lot of money or maybe even a jail sentence. It might help in keeping your near and dear ones out of harm's way.

These arrest records have been made available online for the benefit of general public to increase their awareness about wrongdoers in their neighborhood and exercise all necessary precautions to protect their friends and family. Also somebody could have stolen another person's identity and committed a crime without that person finding out about it for a very long time. This could land them in a soup because even checking with the local courthouse might not be of much help. Even with a strong law enforcement mechanism operating in the country, it becomes impossible at times to keep a watch on each and every miscreant roaming around in the streets. So it's up to the citizens to get more responsible and act as the authority's third eye to provide vigil on the movements of suspected individuals with arrest warrant history.

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If you have internet access, getting your hands on the warrant records is simple and convenient. In most cases it costs you no money and can be done 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have any reason to believe that there is a warrant against your name then do not neglect this matter as it could lead to severe consequences. Visit your local police or sheriff's department. Ask the clerk whether he can check to see if you have a warrant. It would be unwise to ask a law enforcement official whether there is a warrant against you. It could result in you being arrested right then and there and put in jail. Most law enforcement agencies will not tell you over the phone whether there is a warrant out against you; you must go into the office. You could also visit the clerk of courts office at the courthouse where a warrant may have been issued against you. The chance that you are arrested at the courthouse is much less likely, if you do have a warrant. Be sure you're visiting the right courthouse. The only records they likely would have are the warrants that have been issued in that jurisdiction.

You may have to check multiple courthouses in your area, if you think there might be a warrant out against you. It might be safe to hire a criminal attorney to determine whether there is a warrant out for you. A qualified criminal attorney can research court and police records to determine whether there is a warrant against you. The best way to check for warrants against yourself or somebody else is the internet. It allows you to run a secure and anonymous check. It is important that you know the name and the date of birth of the person you wish to check for a warrant on. A few county databases might also require a driver's license number or social security number. So it is important to gather as much information as possible about the person that you wish to check on. On many county web sites, they will have a criminal records section. Some of these sections list active warrants. If not, they may have an active warrant link or a county sheriff link. Make sure you check the county Sheriff link as they may list active warrants as well. It may also be located under the county clerk section on the web site.

The best source for searching for arrest warrant history is Government registry online records retrieval website. Once you are on the home page you will find a form titled 'public arrest records run preliminary search'. You need to enter the values for first name, last name and state and then click on the search button. The citizens also have the option to perform a more accurate search by providing values for middle initial and city. Moreover, you have the liberty to perform a nationwide or statewide search. Local police or sheriff websites can also provide the necessary information. Warrant or public records websites too are very useful for unearthing the necessary information. There are many warrant search and public record websites that allow a person to perform a free arrest warrant check. These sites offer basic warrant information that is more than adequate for most people free of charge, so they are definitely worth a second to check out. One of the best places to do a free arrest warrant check is the state's main website because the information comes directly from the source and it is always free to look on the actual state website. Among information available after an Arrest Warrant Search on official and quasi official databases are the name of the convict, his or her address, jurisdiction, identification marks, list of offenses committed, court cost ,arresting agency, cost of trail, conviction date, sentence date and so on.

It must be kept in mind that some websites do charge money for rendering services. You should try for free sources first and after that if you feel the need for detailed information; apply for a hardcopy of records available for payment of nominal fees from offices of local authorities. However if you are unable to find any information online you might need to call the county sheriff's office and ask to speak with someone in the warrant department, or ask for the phone number to the warrant line. Some sheriff's departments have a dedicated line for warrants and others do not so make sure to ask.

An outrageous statistic shows that 2,310,984 prisoners are serving their jail terms in federal or state prisons, an increase in 0.8% from the last year. Since in America most convictions results in jail terms the arrest warrants as well as the county warrants provides a comprehensive guide in identifying the criminals in our society. So a rise in public awareness levels is desirable to keep the criminals at bay. The most authentic way to do that, experts suggest, is the police warrant records which can be accessed publicly. If you do your own bit and steer clear of people who have some kind of warrants against them it could also go a long way in securing your personal finances and ensuring the safety of your family and other loved ones.