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Arrest Warrants

What is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is issued by a judge when someone is wanted by police after the commission of a serious crime.  Another reason for an arrest warrant being issued is if a defendant from a criminal trial fails to show up for their court date.  These arrest warrants are more typical in criminal matters.

There are also arrest warrants for civil issues if, for example, a judge determines that a person is delinquent in the payment of their child support payments.

In Washington, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will typically not check for active arrest warrants, especially if you are applying for a state ID card.

However, they might.

There is no regulation that prohibits DOL employees from running criminal history checks or reports, and these include watch reports.  Yes, the Drivers Licence Database in Washington is linked to the state’s arrest warrant list and the arrest database.  DOL employees are not able to arrest you, even if there is a warrant, they will likely call the police to come down and arrest you.

How Can I Find Out if I have an Arrest Warrant?

If you are concerned that you may have an arrest warrant there is a non-emergency phone number for your local sheriff’s office or a police station.  You will need to give them your personal information, like name, age, and date of birth.  If you are really concerned and want some extra protection we suggest calling from a payphone.

The police at the police station will be able to find out if you have any outstanding warrants. Here are some questions that you need to ask them

  1. When was the warrant issued?
  2. In which court was the warrant issued?
  3. Has bail been set?
  4. What is the charge?

There is also an online resource from the Washington State Patrol called a watch report.  There is a fee for ordering a watch report but you may be able to find what you are looking for.

If you are worried about someone checking for warrants on your name, the best thing to do is clear any outstanding warrants through an attorney.  To get your warrant cleared you will need to appear in court, but having representation is key for helping you through the process.  An attorney can give you information and will help increase your success in court.

Arrest Warrants FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we get when it comes to arrest warrants.

What does Arrest mean?

Arrest means to literally seize someone or to take them into your custody.  In the case of the police, this means that the police are taking you into their custody to determine what will happen to you next.

Can you Get a driver’s Licence if you Have a Warrant?

No, it is unlikely that a DMV employee will give you a new license or renew an old one if you have a warrant. The majority of state policies say that driving or travelling are privileges for people without outstanding warrants.

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