Courts can issue arrest warrants for a variety of reasons, and law enforcement can make an arrest at any time.
If you think you have a warrant, you should contact an experienced Wyoming attorney to help you perform a thorough search.
If you discover an outstanding warrant, your attorney will help you navigate the legal process and advise you of your best options.
What Is a Warrant?
A warrant is a court order issued by a judge that grants law enforcement authority to search or seize the person or property listed on the warrant.
Once a judge issues a warrant, the clerk uploads the information to the county or state’s law enforcement database. This information is accessible by all law enforcement statewide. Any law enforcement officer may execute an active warrant in any part of the state.
Depending on the severity of the crime, even law enforcement agencies in other states or federal officers may execute the warrant. For example, if an officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, the officer will typically perform a background check. If the background check reveals an outstanding warrant, the officer may immediately place you under arrest.
Types of Warrants in Wyoming
Wyoming has different kinds of warrants depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of action the court needs law enforcement to perform. All arrest warrants grant law enforcement the authority to place the person listed on the warrant in custody. Search warrants allow law enforcement to enter and search specified property.
When a prosecutor or law enforcement seeks a warrant for a person’s arrest, they will file a complaint with the court. A judge reviews the complaint, and if the judge determines it necessary, he or she will issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. The judge will need to determine that probable cause exists to issue a warrant for a person’s arrest in connection with a suspected crime.
Once the judge issues the warrant, law enforcement will search for and place the individual in custody.
When an individual violates a court order, the judge will often issue bench arrest warrants.
Judges commonly issue bench warrants for the following offenses:
- Violating the terms of bail,
- Failing or refusing to appear for a court date, or
- Failing to pay fines or perform other court-ordered actions for a previous offense.
If you forgot about a court date or a fine you were required to pay, you might not know that a court issued a bench warrant for your arrest.
It is important to determine if you have any outstanding warrants so you are not caught off guard and you can pursue the best legal options.
Courts issue search warrants to grant law enforcement authority to enter and search a specified property or location. The warrant will specify its purpose, either to search the property for information or evidence or to search for an individual wanted for arrest. Officers may perform search warrants and any other warrant on any day and at any time.
How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant
There are several ways to search for a warrant in Wyoming. However, finding if you have a warrant depends on where the warrant was issued and the law enforcement agency that issued the warrant.
Each Wyoming County has its own database. State and federal agencies also have their own databases. If you are unsure where your warrant was issued, you may need to search each database separately. An experienced attorney can help you perform a thorough search and provide you guidance and legal advice if you have an outstanding warrant.
SEARCH THROUGH A GOVERNMENT AGENCY
Searching online is the most convenient way to find out if you have any outstanding warrants. You can either search government warrant databases or use a third-party search engine. Some government websites offer free warrant searches, but third-party websites will often charge fees for searches.
If you think you know where your warrant was issued, you can visit that local government’s website and search their online database. For example, if your warrant was issued in Natrona County, Wyoming, you can visit the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office website.
The website offers a free warrant search database. You can search the database for any active warrants associated with a particular name.
Similarly, if you think you have a warrant issued in Casper, you can visit the Casper, Wyoming government website and search its warrant database.
You can also call the law enforcement agency directly and ask if you have any outstanding warrants. However, law enforcement may attempt to question you over the phone. If you choose to call the law enforcement agency and speak with an officer, it may be best to contact an attorney first. Your attorney can help protect your interests and prevent you from providing damaging information to the officer.
SEARCH THROUGH A THIRD PARTY
You can also search online through third-party websites. These websites will perform comprehensive searches in multiple law enforcement databases.
However, these third-party websites usually require a fee for each search. Alternatively, you can contact a local bail bondsman. He or she may have access to the county database containing active arrest warrants.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
While you can search for warrants yourself, you may miss something. Experienced Wyoming attorneys have experience with the judicial system and understand how courts issue warrants. Lawyers may also have access to databases not available to the general public. Your attorney can use their access and experience to perform a comprehensive search covering all available databases.
In addition, hiring an attorney is important if you discover you have an outstanding warrant. Your attorney can assess the warrant and determine your best options. An arrest may not even be required. Your attorney can arrange for alternative procedures instead of arrest.
If the arrest is necessary, your attorney can negotiate the terms of your surrender and help you reduce your bail amount. In some cases, your attorney may identify inaccuracies in the warrant to help reduce your legal penalties.
Contact a Qualified Attorney Today
The attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense have extensive experience fighting for our clients’ interests. We have extensive knowledge of Wyoming’s criminal justice system and provide strategic and effective criminal defense.
We believe in the clients we represent, and we will not hesitate to fight for your interests. If you think you may have an outstanding warrant in Wyoming, contact our office for a free legal consultation at 307-243-4978 or fill out an online form today.