Massachusetts Warrant Search – Outstanding & Active Warrants in MA


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The simplest way to conduct a warrant search in the state of Massachusetts is to visit the local sheriff's office and look for the most wanted list posted on the walls of the agency. Unfortunately, this can only give you generic information on some of the more dangerous criminals working out of the area.

If you are looking for a subject specific warrant search, it would certainly help to have some details on how these orders are issued and the process followed for their execution and what happens after they are served. Pursuant to the Massachusetts General Laws 276-21, an active warrant for arrest can be issued by the justices of the supreme, superior or district courts.

The term active warrant is used to indicate a judicial process that is issued to authorize police officers to take a person into custody. This legal instrument is generally used when the criminal act in question is a felony or a serious misdemeanor. A warrant for arrest is issued when a complaint is filed with the local tribunals requesting the judiciary to grant the order.

The warrant issue procedure

Arrest warrants are issued after the judiciary examines the affidavit filed by the police on behalf of the victim or the person who has been affected by the said criminal act. This petition has to clearly highlight the probable cause on which the warrant can be issued. In legal terms, this can be defined as the evidence that would be adequate to give a reasonable person the impression that a criminal act did occur and that it was the handiwork of the accused.

The magistrate may even call in the witnesses to offer their version of the story if the factual and forensic evidence and proof collected on site is not enough to establish probable cause.When a complaint is brought before the court, the magistrate may issue a summons instead of a warrant if the prosecution requests the judge to do so. Also, if it is known with reasonable certainty that the defendant will show up as ordered, a summons may be released against him instead of an active warrant.

Of Bench warrants, search orders and outstanding warrants

Bench warrants are issued when an offender is let out on bail but he fails to show up in court for the trial. Also, when a litigant acts in violation of a court order, the magistrate, even if he is presiding over a civil court, can issue an order for his detention. Such a directive is called a bench warrant and although it also authorizes cops to detain the person in question, its powers are limited at best.

Search warrants, as their name suggests, are issued when the police need to enter a privately owned property to look for evidence that will justify detaining a person. It is imperative to understand at this point that even though a search warrant is also based on probable cause like orders for arrests, these judicial tools offer varying authority to the officers.

For instance, while law enforcement agents can break doors and windows to enter a property in order to apprehend an accused, they are not allowed to pick up any items from this house or office unless they are kept in plain view. In other words, an arrest warrant does not allow police officers to search the premises. Similarly, a person cannot be detained under the provisions of a search warrant.

Finding information on Massachusetts arrest records and warrants

If you are looking for details on arrest warrants issued in cases that have already come to their logical end and have culminated in a sentence, you can find such information through the Department of Corrections inmate locator site at https://www.vinelink.com/vinelink/initSearchForm.do?siteId=20000.This website is not exclusive to the state of Massachusetts, so be prepared to pick the state from the map you see on the homepage.

You can also find most wanted lists for some of the counties through the website of their local law enforcement agencies or you could get in touch with the office of the clerk of court who is in charge of maintaining the database of court dockets. You will be able to find details on legal instruments issued in a matter by browsing through the court records.

In Massachusetts, it is also possible to conduct an online warrant search through the Criminal Offender Record Information System or CORI. While this facility only offers limited crime history information, it can certainly serve as a starting point in your quest for background information on your subject.

To use CORI, go to https://icori.chs.state.ma.us/icori/ext/global/landing.action?page=1&bod=1373908217113&m=presentLanding. Alternatively, you could get in touch with the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety at CORI Services, 200 Arlington Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150.