Finding warrant information is something that only gets more and more common as time goes on. Because of this sudden influx of new people, it’s not uncommon for there to be a lot of unanswered questions. One of the most common that we hear is “will a New York warrant search ever expire?”
That question generally means one of two things:
- Is the information I find from a warrant search going to be as up-to-date as possible?
- Will the information I get from doing a warrant search become inaccurate as time passes?
Whichever question you were alluding to when you opened this article was a good one because both questions are good. If you had either of those questions before finding this article, you’re in the right place. Today we’re going to be exploring both of those questions as well as the information you need to answer said questions.
These are important things to know before you start with your warrant search. Being sure you know what you’re getting yourself into is important when considering the information that you find, especially when you’re doing something that can reveal as sensitive information as a warrant search can find.
We looked far and wide to be sure that we were bringing you only the most accurate answers to this question, so let’s look and see if New York warrant information has an expiration date and how that should impact the conclusions that you come to with the information you find.
What is a Warrant?
Before getting into the thick of things, we want to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what we’re talking about. While most people have a basic understanding of warrants, there is a lot of misinformation out there.
A lot of this misinformation can be attributed to Holywood. Films and T.V. shows need to be entertaining, so a lot of media takes creative liberties when it comes to things that have to do with the legal system. This is good for entertainment, but not so great for people that want to learn about how our criminal justice system works.
In short, a warrant is an order signed by a judge or magistrate that allows for law enforcement to search or seize someone or their property. There needs to be adequate evidence that this is something that would be constitutional.
Everyone in the United States is granted some pretty broad protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the 4th amendment of the United States constitution, and that’s why only a judge or magistrate is able to issue a warrant. Warrants give law enforcement officers the ability to violate someone’s 4th amendment rights without being legally in the wrong.
There is a lot of debate in the legal world about what entitles a good enough reason for a warrant, but it ultimately comes down to the judge or magistrate’s interpretation of the law. They’re considered to be authorities on the subject, so they’re allowed to make big calls like this.
That isn’t to say that mistakes are never made, but it’s generally considered to be a better thing to have a judge or magistrate authorize warrants rather than, for example, the chief of police who has a more vested interest in arresting people.
Are Warrants Time Sensitive?
The base of both questions that we’re looking to answer today is “are warrants time-sensitive?” and this is because both questions have to deal with the information becoming inaccurate due to it being outdated. So, we hope to answer both questions in one fell swoop.
So, does warrant information go out of date? Absolutely. Every single day, actually. There are a number of things that can happen that would make a warrant expire, for example:
- If the suspect dies.
- When the suspect is arrested.
- If the suspect turns themself in.
- If the suspect is cleared before being brought in.
If any of those things happen, the warrant is considered out of date because it’s no longer accurate. The suspect is no longer wanted, so the warrant wouldn’t be valid anymore. The simplest way to put it is if the warrant is no longer executable, it’s no longer accurate.
Now, we’ve only really answered half of the question. Any warrant information you find is absolutely subject to expiration because the situation is liable to change. But, even if that is the case, can warrant information be expired the moment you find it?
This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but yes. You can absolutely find out-of-date information on warrant databases. This is because some counties aren’t great at keeping these databases up to date. In fact, some counties don’t provide these databases at all, but we digress.
Keeping these databases full of only the most accurate information available can be expensive and/or time-consuming, and time and money are definitely not resources every single county has unlimited of. In fact, sometimes counties just need to spend both time and money in a variety of other ways.
Just because the police are a government entity doesn’t mean that they don’t have to pay for things like:
All of those things cost money, and some counties simply don’t have the manpower to invest in keeping a database up and running.
How to Know if You’ve Found Out of Date Information
It can be a little difficult knowing for sure if the information that you’re looking at is out of date, but that can be an important thing to know before you move forward with whatever judgment the information you find brings you.
Any number of things could have happened to clear the person in question’s name after the warrant was issued, and it wouldn’t be fair to you or them to work on assumptions that were created by outdated information that you found in a database that wasn’t updated.
So, what can you do to be sure? Well, the first thing you can do is look at the date that the warrant was issued. Odds are, you’re not going to find someone walking around in the open with an active warrant that just wasn’t executed or cleared that was issued back in 2013.
You could also try to find the case in the local news. This may be hit or miss, depending on how small the county where they were tried is or high profile their case was. If you’re able to find reports about a court case from around that time, odds are they already dealt with the warrant.
Realistically, the best way to see if your warrant is out of date is to look at the date. Warrants are usually executed within a couple of years, and if not you’re definitely not going to find the person in question hanging out at your local coffee shop going by their real name.
Odds are, if someone has a very old warrant, they’re either going by a fake name or they’ve already fled the country to somewhere American police wouldn’t be able to find them. That’s not to say you can automatically discount every old warrant, but most of them are probably long cleared.
This gets a little trickier with more recent warrants that were issued within the last few months. For this, you could try to find their court records through your local court’s website to see if there’s any information about their trial there.
Unfortunately, that can be a little hit or miss. Some counties don’t make this information easy to find, and some counties don’t provide it at all. Sometimes looking for news coverage is the best way to make sure that they were already tried for their warrant, or at least if the warrant was cleared.
That being said, the best thing you can do is take any information you find with a pinch of salt. If the other resources aren’t there to help confirm the information, there’s no real way to confirm it unless you just so happen to have a police officer or lawyer in your family that’s willing to do you a favor.
On the bright side, counties that provide this kind of information and regularly update their records usually say that they do that before you get to the part of their website that would allow you to search for warrants, so at the very least you’ll know if the county is on top of their stuff.
Getting the Most Accurate Information
No matter what state you live in, you probably want to be sure that you’re going to find the most accurate warrant information that you possibly can. It’s pretty important if you’re using this information to make a judgment call about someone.
Getting this wrong can lead to some pretty serious misunderstandings, so just to be safe, it’s probably a good idea to know what you’re looking for and how to do your best to spot outdated information that you might stumble upon during your searches.