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Texas Warrant Search

Texas Warrant Search is a term used to describe finding and identifying any warrants issued by the state of Texas. A person who wishes to discover any outstanding warrants issued against them may do a warrant search in Texas.

Warrants are an essential part of the system for dealing with crimes. Simply put, they are legal papers that give the government the right to do something or search for a place. Without a warrant, these actions could be against the law and violate the person's rights.

In Texas courts, judges and magistrates use different kinds of warrants to do their jobs. The court issues warrants for various purposes and with varying consequences. And each type will give you a different set of information.

Before a warrant may be issued, proving probable cause is one of the most crucial requirements. After a thorough investigation, the officer who wants the warrant must show the court that there is enough reason to issue the warrant.

It could violate their Fourth Amendment rights if a law enforcement officer didn't show probable cause. Police officers risk being sued for damages for malicious prosecution if they don't have probable cause.

Can you access a Texas warrant? Most of the time, warrants are often part of the Texas Criminal Record, and under the Texas Freedom of Information Act, this is public information you can access upon request.

However, as per Section 404.058 of the Texas Government Code, the warrant number of an outstanding (unpaid, canceled, etc.) warrant is confidential. Thus, state agencies can't give unauthorized parties copies of the Outstanding Warrants Control Report.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Texas?

Depending on the kind of warrant and why the court issued it, warrants remain active for different periods in Texas.

In Texas, search warrants include execution windows during which a law enforcement officer may search for the designated property or person. After the expiration of the search window, the warrant is no longer valid. However, the court may reissue this warrant if it determines that probable cause for the search or seizure still exists.

On the other hand, arrest and bench warrants usually remain active until the defendant settles them or a judge recalls them. Even if the suspect moves or the warrants expire, they remain valid.

If unsettled, many states have criminal statutes of limitations. If the time limit for the crime that led to the arrest warrant has passed, the court may drop the case because the crime is no longer a crime. Also, the charge may go against the rights of the suspect.

Section 12.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the processes for a crime's statute of limitations. The legislation specifies that misdemeanors have a statute of limitations of two years, whereas felonies have up to three years.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in Texas?

Understanding the different types of warrants and their specific functions is vital for law enforcement and individuals who may be the subject of a warrant. And in a Texas Warrant Search, the most common warrants you will find are the following:

Texas Search Warrant

A Texas search warrant lets the person who has it search a person or their property. Officers or other law enforcement personnel may search, seize, and turn over any evidence they find with a search warrant issued under Chapter 18 of the Texas Criminal Code.

Since executing a search warrant infringes on one's privacy, there must be probable cause to believe before one is issued. Law enforcement must demonstrate probable cause to search and that doing so will yield evidence of a crime.

In Texas, there are also certain kinds of search warrants, such as DNA warrants and administrative warrants.

Civil law violations require administrative warrants. One example is if a health department fails to comply with specific standards, such as maintaining a clean office. However, under this writ, the organization can use its right to privacy.

With a DNA warrant, the officer can take a swab of your saliva or mucus to get a DNA sample. To perform this task, the officer must have a separate DNA warrant aside from a search warrant for your property.

Other things that a Texas judge or magistrate can give the warrant to search are the following:

  • Illegally acquired property
  • Gambling devices or equipment
  • Theft-obtained property
  • Property or equipment used during the execution of a crime
  • Contraband property holding criminal evidence
  • Prohibited weapons
  • Electronic data
  • Cell phones

In Texas, search warrants are not valid without the following:

  • Identifying information about the place or person being searched, seized, or arrested
  • Issuing date
  • Name and title of the presiding judge or magistrate
  • Judge or magistrate's signature
  • A request for an officer to conduct a search, seizure, or arrest

In most cases, the Texas law enforcement officer must execute search warrants within three days. However, electronic data search warrants are valid for up to 11 days, while DNA search warrants have a 15-day validity period.

What Conditions Must a Search Warrant Meet in Texas?

The Fourth Amendment safeguards citizens from unlawful search and seizure by requiring proof of probable cause and an affidavit under oath. Warrants for searches that don't conform to these standards may be invalid.

A search warrant in Texas is invalid if the seeking officer has failed to provide sufficient evidence of probable cause to justify the warrant issue. Furthermore, if, in the affidavit, the asking officer makes several overstated claims.

In a trial court, under state law, the police can't use the evidence gathered via unlawful searches. If the defendant intends to apply the exclusionary rule, they may file a petition to suppress such evidence.

Texas Arrest Warrant

This sort of warrant issued by a court is perhaps the most well-known and understood. As its name implies, it facilitates the arrest of a specific individual on-site. Chapter 15 of the Texas Penal Code allows judges, magistrates, and court clerks to issue arrest warrants in the state.

To issue this document, probable cause for an arrest must exist. Also, before the court issues the arrest warrant, a police officer must provide an affidavit stating that the accused committed the alleged violation.

Warrants for arrest in Texas are not valid without the following information:

  • Specific details on the alleged crimes of the defendant
  • Signature and office of magistrate
  • The accused person's name or a detailed description of them

What is Failure to Pay in Texas?

The court will issue an arrest warrant for failure to pay if a defendant has not settled a fine, court fee, or other payment imposed by the court.

Depending on the severity of the circumstances, a person who fails to pay court-ordered costs may be charged with a minor infraction or a serious misdemeanor. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) may refuse license renewal applications in such cases.

If a person intends the nonpayment, that could lead to further charges.

What is Child Support Arrest Warrant in Texas?

Under Texas arrest warrants, there's also the Child Support arrest warrant. The judge or magistrate issues this warrant in civil child support cases. It is when a parent fails to appear in court for a child support hearing after receiving a notice.

In Texas, knowingly refusing to pay child support is a criminal non-support under section 25.05 of the state Penal Code. A person arrested on this warrant will stay in detention until the court-ordered payment is made.

How Do Police Execute Texas Arrest Warrants?

Law enforcement officers in Texas can use reasonable force during arrests. An officer may also force an entrance into a home by breaking a door after knocking and announcing himself in a criminal case.

Texas officers can arrest without a warrant. However, they must provide the defendant with one as quickly as possible. Also, they must disclose the nature of the warrant to the accused.

Moreover, the police may execute warrants anywhere without notice from the courts or DPS. Thus, they can arrest someone with an outstanding warrant at any time or location.

Texas Blue Warrants

Another type of warrant you might encounter when you perform a Texas Warrant Search is the blue warrant.

Once inmates have served their minimum time in Texas, they are on parole and stay under court supervision for the rest of their lives. Like most states, a Texas inmate must agree to and follow specific rules the court sets to get parole. A judge or magistrate will issue a blue warrant when they violate these rules.

Also, parolees may get this warrant if they break the law again, possess firearms, or fail to attend parole officer meetings.

Texas Bench Warrant

A judge or magistrate will issue a bench warrant if someone doesn't follow the court's rules. It means the individual didn't present in court, didn't listen to a subpoena, or didn't follow court orders.

If a judge gives you a bench warrant, the police will arrest you immediately. In addition, bail bond agents may locate and arrest anyone with outstanding bench warrants.

There are a few forms of bench warrants in Texas, depending on the cause for the court's summons.

One example is the capias warrants. Under Article 23.03 of the Texas Criminal Code, the court issues this sort to peace officers for arresting individuals who failed to appear for felony or misdemeanor cases.

In Texas, judges and court clerks may issue bench warrants.

What is Failure to Appear in Texas?

A warrant for failure to appear is a form of a bench warrant. If you're released from prison in Texas but don't show up for court dates, you'll get a failure to appear warrant under Penal Code section 38.10.

Texas has civil and criminal consequences for failing to appear in court.

Willful absence from court may typically result in penalties of up to $500 and jail time. However, the consequences for failing to appear in court vary according to the nature of the underlying crime.

Some may result in bond forfeiture, in which case the defendant would repay the whole sum of bail to the bail bond agent.

Note, though, that the court will not impose sanctions if a person cannot appear for a reasonable cause. Some reasonable grounds are hospitalization, accidents, and the loss of a family member.

How To Perform Warrant Search in Texas?

You have three methods for performing Texas Warrant Search.

First is to use the Criminal History Conviction Name Search service the state DPS provides. It allows you to check for outstanding warrants in Texas.

Here, you can look up the court outcomes, criminal histories, and prosecutions of those arrested for crimes that amount to no less than a Class B misdemeanor. Aside from that, looking for DPS-reported Class C convictions and deferred adjudications is also possible. But to use this service and get the information you want, you must register and pay the necessary fees.

Secondly, visit the websites of your local courts, cities, and counties. Some of these websites have search portals and databases for warrants. For example, the City of Austin has a warrant search online service where you can search for active warrants in the area. Similarly, Harris County Sheriff's Office has an online tool for Class A and B misdemeanor warrants.

Lastly, those curious about their warrant status may visit or call the court clerk in the county where they now reside.

Regardless of the methods you use, you typically have to supply the following:

  • The accused's personal information
  • The location or agency that issued the warrant
  • Details about the issuing officer

Counties in Texas