If you are not sure if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, there are several methods of finding out. The first way is to look at the official websites in your area. In Pennsylvania, there are several ways to review your records online. You also have the option of contacting your local police station or courthouse directly for this information.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have a bench warrant that has been initiated by a judge. For example, if you have failed to make a court appearance, a judge may issue a warrant that seeks your presence. An arrest warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer to detain or arrest you on behalf of the state. Just because you have an outstanding warrant does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of any crime or misconduct. Determining whether you are guilty or proven innocent can only be determined in a court of law.
You Can Look Up Your Records Online
Many records in Pennsylvania are available to the public upon request. The Pennsylvania Right to Know Act of 2009 consists of a series of laws and doctrines that authorize certain documents to be available for public access. These records include public, legislative, and financial records. Under this act, you may request information either online, in-person, or through a written request.
County Sheriff’s Office Website
Some counties in Pennsylvania allow you to look up active warrants directly from the website for their sheriff’s office. For Montgomery County, you can search for warrants on its Active Warrants page. In some cases, these county sites will only list warrants issued within their jurisdiction.
Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Portal
If you are not sure which Pennsylvania county may have issued you a warrant, you can also check for warrants state-wide on Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System web portal. Click on the Case Information icon and follow the instructions for Public Web Docket Sheets.
If any uncertainty remains after visiting this website, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to give you a definitive answer on any outstanding warrants in your name.
Other Ways to Find Out if There is an Outstanding Warrant for Your Arrest
If you cannot find any details online, you do have some other options for discovering the status of an arrest warrant.
Visit the Police Station
Although visiting the police station is not a situation you may want to deal with, it will clarify whether there is an outstanding warrant. This action could also result in your arrest. Before you take this step, a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer may be able to explain the potential legal consequences of visiting a police station with your case.
Get a Friend or Family Member to Visit or Call the Police Station
If you do not want to go to the police station yourself, you could ask a friend or family member to go for you. They may be able to confirm if there is a warrant in your name and seek additional information. Another method is to call your local police station or sheriff’s office to find out if you have an outstanding warrant.
Visit the Relevant Courthouse
If you know which court issued the arrest warrant, you can visit the local courthouse and ask to see their records in person. However, this can be one of the most time-consuming ways of finding out a warrant status, and again, you may run the risk of arrest.
The Consequences of an Outstanding Warrant
If you get stopped by a police officer and are arrested on an outstanding warrant, you may be transported to a local jail and booked. Next, a bond may be set. If you cannot cover the cost of the bond, you must stay in jail until you are seen in court. Pennsylvania typically guarantees a hearing within 72 hours, but a weekend or federal holiday that closes the courts could extend that timeframe.
If you find out that there is an outstanding warrant in your name, you may have some questions, concerns, and fears about what comes next. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to answer your questions, explain your charges, and guide you through this difficult situation. There may be ways to respond to your outstanding arrest warrant that avoid jail time.
Let McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Advocate on Your Behalf
If you discover that you have an outstanding warrant, you may be uncertain about the best way to proceed. Questions about the consequences you face, how to defend yourself, and where to start are all common for people in your situation.
You do not need to face these charges alone. McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help to clarify your situation, request your records, and discuss your concerns and questions. If you hire us for representation, we can also investigate your case. If necessary, we can help build your defense and act as your advocate while supporting you through any possible legal proceedings.
Attorney David C. McKenzie III is a former criminal prosecutor who now works to defend people facing criminal charges. To find out more, call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. at (610) 680-7842 to speak with a member of our team. Case evaluations are free. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.