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California Warrant Search

A California warrant authorizes law enforcement to take illegal or infringing conduct. A court or magistrate in California issues this writ with enforcing the law.

With California Warrant Search, you can find active warrants in the state.

All active warrants will have the California seal, showing that the state will pursue the case. The judge who issued the warrant will sign the document with his name and judicial title. Furthermore, this paper has the date of warrant issuance and the name of the county that released it.

Before California courts may issue a warrant, "probable cause" must exist. Thus, the sheriff, police officer, district attorney, or other law enforcement official requesting the warrant must provide a court or magistrate with reasonable cause for an allegation of criminal conduct.

Otherwise, the officer may be accountable for any resulting harm from an unlawful act. For example, the Fourth Amendment states that it is against the law to search and take someone's property without their permission.

Can you access a California warrant? Most warrant records in the state are public. So, you can obtain them upon request or using a proper search method. However, Penal Code section 1534 states that search warrants are "confidential" until implemented. After being executed, if not sealed, you can search for them.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in California?

The expiry date of a California warrant depends upon the kind of warrant. Some warrants are active until the statute of limitations for the crime or offense committed expires. Some do not pass and remain in effect until rescinded by a court or settled by the specified party.

Also, although it may seem prudent to wait for the statute of limitations to expire, the California judge or magistrate can reissue these writs in minutes.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in California?

State courts have the authority to issue various warrants, each serving a distinct judicial function. But in a California Warrant Search, the most typical warrants you can find in the state are the following.

California Search Warrant

In California, a judge issues a search warrant that gives police permission to search a person, a home, a car, a place of business, or any other area that they think might have evidence of illegal activity. The search warrant permits authorities to seize the desired evidence after discovering it.

What Conditions Must a Search Warrant Meet in California?

In California, the police must meet specific requirements before getting a search warrant. They have to show probable cause that the places to be searched have evidence, tools, or results of criminal activity.

Under California Penal Code section1524, here are some examples of reasons why a judge or magistrate issues a search warrant:

  • If there's a stolen property
  • When the property was used in the act of committing a crime
  • If the property sought is proof that a crime has happened or someone has committed a felony
  • When the property contains a firearm or other lethal weapon at the scene of a domestic dispute involving physical violence or a threat to life
  • If the property is in the hands of a criminal or someone who may give it to someone else to hide it
  • When the sought-after property represents child pornography
  • if there's already a warrant for the arrest

Under the California Penal Code section 1525, the judge or magistrate can't issue a search warrant without probable cause, supported by an affidavit, particularly naming the property and the place to be searched and naming or describing the person to be searched. Failing to adhere to the proper processes to obtain a search warrant will make it invalid.

California implements search warrants immediately, and as per section 1534 of the California Penal Code, these writs are valid for ten days from when the judge or magistrate signs them. However, a judge or magistrate can reissue it if probable cause still exists.

California Arrest Warrant

With a California arrest warrant, police can take you into custody and hold you if they think you committed a crime while they weren't around. According to California Penal Code section 836, a police officer can arrest someone with or without a warrant.

Judges issue arrest warrants when a police officer or the District Attorney gives them evidence or a grand jury indicts someone.

The California Penal Code section 815 asserts that arrest warrants must include the following information:

  • The name of the defendant
  • The alleged violation
  • Date and time of issue of the warrant
  • The municipality and county that issued the warrant
  • Signature and title of the issuing judge or magistrate
  • The court that issued the document

A California arrest warrant is invalid if the above details are missing.

How Do Police Execute California Arrest Warrants?

If a judge issues an arrest warrant, the police can stop you and take you into custody. During the arrest, the officers will also be able to search the person, but only in a minimal way. In particular, the police can search you, any personal items on you, and anything in plain sight.

Most of the time, you will be arrested at your home or, unfortunately, at your place of business or work.

If police officers try to execute a California arrest warrant in your home and think they have to use force because you didn't open the door when they knocked, they must have probable cause to believe that the person on the warrant is there. In that situation, a search warrant is necessary for the police to arrest a guest in your home.

The implementation of most arrest warrants in California for misdemeanors must be between 6 AM and 10 PM. But there are no time constraints if the suspect is in custody, the arrest is public, or the court waives it. On the other hand, felony arrest warrants can be at any time,

California Ramey Warrant

A judge or magistrate can issue a California Ramey warrant to arrest someone before the prosecutor has filed formal charges. Usually, this doesn't go through the Office of the District Attorney.

This document is valid with the following information:

  • The suspect's name, address, and  physical description
  • A statement of probable cause
  • Description of the suspect's offenses
  • The name(s) of the victim(s)
  • The bail amount

In California, law enforcement obtains a Ramey warrant to hold and interrogate a suspect to collect damning statements or evidence from the defendant. A suspect apprehended on this warrant is kept for 48 hours to perform the interrogation and deliver the evidence and reports to the Prosecutor's Office for formal charges.

Most of the time, a California Ramey warrant is effective for 90 days following its issuance.

California Bench Warrant

Bench warrants, often known as "body attachments," are the state's most frequently issued form of warrant you will encounter during a California Warrant Search.

Unlike an arrest warrant, which depends on criminal activity allegation, this warrant lets the police arrest a private person for not following a court order or process. Some of the most common factors that lead to a bench warrant are:

  • Failure to appear in court when required
  • Failure to pay a court-ordered fine
  • Disobedience of a court order

A court may also issue a bench warrant for the following grounds mentioned in California Penal Code section 978.5:

  • Failure to appear at a progress report
  • Failure to appear as a witness
  • Failure to pay spousal or child support
  • Failure to pay a traffic citation
  • Violation of probation or parole conditions, etc.

Aside from a bench warrant, any of the actions above constitute "court contempt" and subject you to a possible:

  • A probation violation
  • A sentence of county imprisonment or state prison in California
  • Increased fines
  • A driver's license suspension

A judge may also issue a bench warrant if a grand jury indicts you. If this is the case and you are not in jail when the indictment arrives, the court will issue an arrest warrant.

California bench warrant is valid until the person comes before the court that issued it willingly or through arrest. Thus, residents should do a periodic California warrant check to ensure they have no outstanding bench warrants in the state.

How To Perform Warrant Search in California?

You can do a California Warrant Search in the state through the following methods:

County Sheriff's Office Website

If you want to find out about pending warrants, you can search the public records database of a Sheriff's Office. For example, the Orange County Sheriff's Department has a page where you can search for active arrest warrants using a first name and last name.

To make it easy to find a sheriff's official website, the California State Sheriffs' Association puts out a directory with website links of the 58 sheriff's offices in the state.

County Superior Court's Website

The second way to find out about a warrant is to run a warrant search on the website of the correct Superior Court in California. For example, the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, has a Case Info site that helps you look for arrest warrants.

Most likely, you will need to enter the following information here:

  • The person's full name
  • Birth date
  • Court case number
  • Driver's license number

Requesting a California Criminal Record

One of the best ways to a California Warrant Search is to ask for a criminal record in the state.

The California Department of Justice is the place to go if you want to look at your criminal record to see if you have a California warrant. The person (the record's subject) must fill out a form, send in fingerprints, and pay a processing fee. But the application form and process are different for people who live inside and outside California.

The Office of the Attorney General website has instructions for people who want to apply.


California Police Department

If interested, you can also use a more direct method. You can call the appropriate Police Department and request the warrant you want. But you should be aware that this could lead to an attempt to arrest. For this method, it is best to talk to a criminal defense lawyer in your area for assistance. They can provide guidance on how to proceed safely and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Additionally, a lawyer can help you navigate any potential legal consequences that might arise from the warrant search.

Counties in California