Most of the time, if there’s a warrant out for your arrest, you’ll know it. The police may arrest you at the scene or shortly thereafter. But what if they didn’t? Perhaps you were involved in an altercation or domestic issue. Or you forgot to pay a couple old traffic tickets. Maybe you heard that someone reported you to authorities for committing a crime. If authorities haven’t shown up at your door, however, how do you know for sure?
If you think law enforcement has an arrest warrant out in your name, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights first is to call a qualified criminal defense attorney who can provide advice on your specific situation. Among other things, your attorney can look into whether any warrant or evidence against you was obtained lawfully. In the best case scenario, you may not even be charged with a crime. And if you are, you will already have an attorney on your side.
Finding an outstanding warrant in TN
Of course, the easiest way to find out if there are any outstanding arrest warrants against you is to visit or call your local sheriff’s or county court office. However, this is also the easiest way to get arrested if it does turn out there’s an active warrant against you. You will almost certainly be taken into custody on the spot.
However, the internet provides a solution for just about everything, and offers a plethora of websites that allow you to search for active warrants by your name or someone else’s. There are many privately-run sites to choose from, some that let you search by state and some that let you search by county, like Blount County, for example.
Types of warrants
You may be served one of three types of warrants:
- An arrest warrant, which is issued when an individual is accused of committing a crime based on evidence or information from the authorities or prosecutor’s office.
- A bench warrant, which is issued by a judge when an individual fails to appear for a required court date. The court may also issue a bench warrant for non-payment of child support, alimony, or other violation of a court order.
- An out-of-state warrant, which is a warrant from another state. This means you can be detained in Tennessee even if your warrant is from out-of-state. Your attorney can help you request an extradition hearing.
As you can see by the myriad companies offering warrant searches, arrest warrants are public records. Often, people are alerted to the fact that there is a warrant out for their arrest because they start receiving official-looking mail, emails, or texts offering bail, bond, and legal services. Many companies scrape data from these sites and use the information to spam potential clients. If you suddenly start receiving unsolicited messages from these types of businesses, it might be worth a look to see if you have a current warrant.
If you do believe there is any kind of warrant out in your name, call an attorney first. Do not turn yourself in on an outstanding warrant without an attorney.
At Shepherd & Long, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys represent individuals in the Maryville area, and surrounding counties, when they’re facing criminal charges. Don’t make a move without consulting with an experienced lawyer. Call our East Tennessee office at 865-982-8060 or complete a contact form online to schedule a consultation today.