You can use several methods to know if you have an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania. Contact the court presiding over your case or the county sheriff’s office. If you do not know where your case is located, speak with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to help you determine your status.
In This Article
The Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at Shuttleworth Law P.C. reveal five potential methods for determining if you have a PA arrest warrant and what happens after its issuance. We wrote this blog post for people who worry about having an active arrest warrant in their name and their concerned loved ones.
Determine If You Have a PA Arrest Warrant
It is very challenging to determine if you have an outstanding arrest warrant in Pennsylvania unless you are an attorney or know which jurisdiction has your case. For a bench warrant and you know which court has your case, you can communicate with them directly, but that is not always the best approach for various legal reasons.
Below, we have outlined five possible approaches that you can take when trying to find out if you have a Commonwealth-level arrest warrant in your name:
Method 1: Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Case Search
The Unified Justice System of Pennsylvania website also offers a case search form, which could show that criminal charges were filed against you. It is essential to understand that records may not be up to date. As such, you cannot use this method reliably to confirm your status.
Method 2: Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) Request
The Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository (RCPU) allows you to request a criminal background check. However, this method can take between two and up to four weeks, much longer than you are probably willing to wait if you are in a rush. It also requires you to provide your current contact information to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Method 3: Court Administrator Contact
You can contact the court administrator directly if you know which court presides over your case. You will also need to reveal your identity. In most cases, the court administrator will treat this call from you like it is a routine occurrence (because it is), confirm or deny the existence of a warrant, and offer legal information on how you can resolve it.
This method only works for a bench warrant, that is, for a case that has already been opened in the court and the court issued the warrant. It does not work for arrest warrants.
Here are links that offer contact information to:
However, their legal information should never be construed as legal advice. When handling an arrest warrant, you should always speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
Method 4: County Sheriff’s Office Request
If you know the county where your warrant is issued, you could contact the County Sheriff’s Office by phone. Some offices even offer information about individuals with outstanding arrest warrants online. Find the County Sheriff’s Office online and determine if they require a telephone call or provide an ongoing list.
Method 5: Have a Friend or Family Member Call
Most people are terrified when contacting criminal justice authorities, officers, and administrators directly, especially when worrying about a warrant. This feeling is normal and understandable. You could make the process less daunting by asking a friend or family member to call on your behalf to find out if you have an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania.
However, some offices may decline their information request.
Outstanding Warrants Can Result in an Arrest
In most cases, police will not come knocking on your door to execute an arrest warrant unless you are accused of a severe or violent crime. You will likely only be arrested if an officer stops you, such as being pulled over in your vehicle, and conducts a warrant check. This situation will result in the officer arresting you on the spot.
After the Arrest
Once arrested, you will then be transported to a jail facility. You will remain in jail until you have seen a judge for your preliminary arraignment or bench-warrant hearing. Most judges will see you within 72 hours of arrest to read the charges against you and set bail.
Resolving an Active Arrest Warrant
Most likely, regardless of how you approach the resolution of an active arrest warrant, you will be arrested. There are two methods for handling an active arrest warrant, including self-surrender and legal representation:
Here is a quick look at both options below:
Option 1: Self-Surrender
An arrest warrant will not go away. It can also result in more severe penalties if convicted of a crime. Turning yourself in to the police will require you to go to jail immediately. It is important to remain silent and ask for an attorney.
Option 2: Legal Representation
You could also hire a criminal defense attorney to handle your arrest warrant. They could help you get a convenient time for a surrender and attend the self-surrender with you. Depending upon the facts of your case, your attorney could negotiate with the courts when seeking alternatives to jail, but it could still result in an arrest if there is a valid legal reason for doing so.
Call Shuttleworth Law P.C. to Find Out If You Have an Arrest Warrant in Pennsylvania
You do not have to live in fear that an arrest warrant could be executed at any moment. Start resolving things today instead of making them worse. Schedule your Free Case Evaluation with the Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at Shuttleworth Law P.C. by calling 888-529-3486 or via the contact form below.