New York Warrant Search – Outstanding & Active Warrants in NY


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The definition of arrest warrants is given by the New York Criminal Procedure section 120.1 along with information on how these processes are issued and how they are served. In reference to what a warrant is, the law states that such a legal process can safely be termed as a court issued order that instructs police officers to detain a person and present him before the court.

This directive is only issued when an accusatory instrument is filed with a tribunal; this affidavit should designate the person who is to be arrested in connection with a crime and explain why the incident that occurred is considered unlawful to begin with. The sole purpose for the issuance of a warrant is to ensure the court appearance of a person who is being accused of a felony or a serious criminal violation.

The form of New York warrants for arrests

A warrant issued by a tribunal in the state of NY has to be in writing and it must contain information about the crime, the alleged offender and the order that is being issued to the cops along with details on the issuance of the directive. Although any alteration or errors in this prescribed format does not result in the recall of a warrant, the law of the state is clear that the judiciary must follow the form as closely as possible.

As per the prescribed format of a warrant, the order must contain details such as the name of the accused, his address, gender, age, race, any identifying physical traits or marks along with a succinct description of the charges that are being filed against this person.

In fact, the original affidavit is attached to the warrant at the time of issue. The order should also clearly state that this directive is meant as a command to local law enforcement to nab the suspect and bring him before the judiciary so that legal proceedings can be initiated against him/her.

When can an active warrant be issued in New York?

This question is answered by the State's criminal code section 120.2 which offers guidelines to the judiciary on when to issue an arrest warrant and when to deny an appeal for the same. A warrant can be issued if the magistrate is satisfied with the information presented in the accusatory instrument and if this is enough for finding reasonable cause.

Even when the instrument filed in court is adequate on its face, the magistrate still reserves the right to further examine the information through witness testimony. If the affidavit filed fails to show clear probable cause, the judge may dismiss the appeal. Furthermore, a warrant can only be issued if the accused is not already being held in custody.

Who can execute outstanding warrants from NY?

NY Criminal Procedure 120.6 mentions that active and bench warrants can be served by:

  • Any police officer to whom the order is addressed
  • Other police officers to whom the task of serving the warrant is delegated by the officer to whom the order was originally addressed
  • Police officers from other counties who are working as agents of the law enforcement agent who had the order issued to him
  • Any member of a justice agency who finds that there is an active warrant in the name of the accused or that the offender is in the most wanted list of any county

In contrast, search warrants are issued to officers from a specific county, and only these agents can enter the property in question.

Getting information on NY crime history

Several state agencies offer information on arrest records and outstanding warrants in New York. Although only law enforcement agencies are made privy to the complete criminal background of a person, initiating a New York warrant search in the name of your subject will get you details on when and why he/she was detained by the police, any charges that were filed against this person and how the matter was disposed.

In fact, if you are looking for local data, you could also try the office of the clerk of court along with the sheriff's department. While the later only keep criminal records, you can find the court dockets database with the office of the county clerk. In here are all court records, be they from the civil or the criminal tribunals. However, if you were to use the New York certified Court System crime history search, you can get statewide records.

For this, you will need to submit your inquiry for a warrant search in person or through mail. Start by downloading the form available at http://www.courts.state.ny.us/apps/chrs/CHRSAPPLMOD41806a.pdfand after filling it, take it down to the New York State Unified Court System NYS Office of Court Administration at Office of Administrative Services, Criminal History Record Search, 25 Beaver Street, Room 840, New York, NY 10004. You can also use this as their mailing address.