By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Here is the link to search for warrants in Collin County. Here is the link for warrants in Dallas County. Tarrant County wants you to contact the individual municipality where the warrant originated. Denton County also makes you contact them for warrant info.
There is a database for warrants nation-wide, but unfortunately it’s not public. Checking for warrants can be a pain-staking process if you suspect you have a warrant for your arrest but aren’t sure. The counties which make you call them to inquire doubtlessly do it in an effort to draw folks who have a warrant into their spider-web. My guess is it backfires because many people are too scared to call.
The vast, vast majority of arrest warrants are for mundane purposes such as traffic tickets or probation revocations (I love my readers, but I don’t do traffic tickets – so please don’t call me for those!). Most warrants simply sit there unless or until someone gets pulled over or has some other type of benign law enforcement contact which results in them being run for warrants.
Can Warrants Be Hidden on Purpose?
Yes. Law enforcement can issue warrants and have them be sealed. They might do it if there is an on-going investigation of a conspiracy they don’t want to spoil – and then they arrest everyone at once. The FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies do this frequently. Another reason could be they want to arrest someone in person for whatever reason.
Police can also get an arrest warrant but not enter into the national or local databases. We might see these in cases like sexual assault or injury to a child.
They keep it in their “pocket” in an effort to arrest and immediately interview a suspect. Think of it this way — if they have a murder suspect and they get a warrant from a judge — if they enter it into the national database, they risk having someone from another agency arrest the suspect at 3 a.m. This could give the suspect several hours to “lawyer up” and not participate in an interview or interrogation. The pocket warrant allows the officer to pick the exact time, place, and manner of arrest.
What Should I Do if I Have a Warrant for My Arrest?
You have to turn yourself in. Most people don’t like hearing this. Warrants don’t go away on their own and it’s very rare to be able to get a warrant thrown out before arrest. Most judges and prosecutors have policies in place they won’t even deal with you unless the warrant is taken care of first. And here’s what I tell my clients — if they don’t take care of the warrant on their own terms, then the warrant will be executed against them at the worst possible time. Maybe while they are on a dream date.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.