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North Carolina Warrant Search

North Carolina Warrant Search is a process of looking up active warrants and other types of warrants issued by a court in the state.

A North Carolina warrant is a legal document that authorizes law enforcement officials to take specific actions, such as arresting someone or searching a property. The Judicial Branch of North Carolina issues various warrants, including bench, arrest, and search warrants, each serving a different purpose.

However, according to the Fourth Amendment, for a warrant to be issued, law enforcement must show the issuing official probable cause to think a crime has been committed and that the person or property in question is relevant to the crime.

Once a warrant is issued, law enforcement officials have the legal authority to take action specified in the warrant.

In North Carolina, the public has the right to access warrants per Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes and the North Carolina Public Records Law.

When performing a warrant search in North Carolina, the information you can obtain may vary depending on the source of the search and the warrant types. However, the following information may typically be available:

  • The name and identifying information of the person subject to the warrant
  • The nature of the offense or charge that led to the warrant
  • The issuance date of the warrant
  • The issuing court or agency that issued the warrant
  • The jurisdiction or geographic area where the warrant is in effect
  • The status of the warrant (active or inactive)

Note that the information available during a North Carolina Warrant Search may not include sealed or confidential information. There may be limitations on what information is open to the public, particularly in cases involving sensitive or confidential information.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in North Carolina?

Concerning the statute of limitations in North Carolina, most misdemeanors have two years limitation. A warrant for these crimes typically stays active for two years after issuance.

On the other hand, most felonies in North Carolina have no statutes of limitations. It means that warrants for these crimes can stay active for extended periods.

Nonetheless, most warrants in North Carolina remain active until the suspect appears in court or dies. Thus, North Carolina citizens should sometimes do a warrant search to determine their status.

But the search warrant is one sort that typically expires 48 hours after its issue. The police must execute the warrant within 48 hours. Otherwise, it becomes inactive, and the evidence obtained against the suspect is inadmissible to court.

It's worth noting that the court may renew the warrant if there is still reasonable cause. It means that even if the initial two-year statute of limitations has expired or the police officer has not executed the search warrant in a given period, the warrant can still be active if renewed.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in North Carolina?

When you perform the North Carolina Warrant Search, some of the most common warrants in the state that you will encounter include:

North Carolina Arrest Warrant

In North Carolina, an arrest warrant is a legal document authorizing law enforcement officers to arrest an individual suspected of committing a crime.

The following entities may issue arrest warrants in North Carolina:

In North Carolina, the authorized entities may only issue this warrant if there is probable cause to believe that there's a committed crime and that the person named on the warrant committed the offense. The existence of a probable cause is sufficient evidence to convince that the offender committed the crime.

Once an arrest warrant is issued, law enforcement officers can use it to arrest the person named on it. Once arrested, the person will have an initial appearance before a judge or magistrate to learn about their charges and rights. 

Section 15A-304 of the North Carolina Statutes asserts that certain things must be considered before deciding whether to take someone into custody. Some of these circumstances are:

  • If the suspect has missed prior summonses
  • If the subject won't arrive when called
  • If the subject escapes
  • The suspect may damage people or property
  • Offense severity

What Information Does a North Carolina Arrest Warrant Contain?

In North Carolina, an arrest warrant typically includes the following information:

  • The name and identifying information of the person to be arrested, including their date of birth, physical description, and any known aliases
  • The individual's charges and the statutes or laws allegedly violated
  • The warrant issuance date and time
  • The name and signature of the authorized official who issued the warrant
  • Any additional instructions or conditions for the arrest, such as the location and time frame in which the arrest must take place
  • Any restrictions on bail or other requirements for release that may apply to the individual named in the warrant
  • Other relevant information, such as the location where the crime occurred or information about the evidence used to establish probable cause

North Carolina Search Warrant

In North Carolina, search warrants are a type of legal document that gives authority to law enforcement officers to search specific locations and seize, or collect, any evidence related to an ongoing criminal investigation.

In North Carolina, search warrant applications must be in writing under oath or affirmation. The application must include the following:

  • The applicant's name and title
  • A statement confirming the probable cause
  • Facts supporting the statement
  • A warrant issuance request

Law enforcement officers obtain this warrant from the following authorized persons after providing evidence or probable cause for a crime committed and that the evidence or search items are likely to be at the specified location:

Within 48 hours after issuing the order, the police officer must execute the search. If not, the search warrant becomes invalid.

In addition, law enforcement officials must read the warrant and deliver a copy to the person or person in control of the premises or vehicle being searched.

What Information Does a North Carolina Search Warrant Contain?

A North Carolina search warrant must contain specific information to be valid and enforceable. The following is a list of the information that a North Carolina search warrant typically contains:

  • The name of the authorized official who issued the warrant
  • The signature of the issuing official
  • The name and title of the law enforcement officer or officers who requested the warrant
  • The name and address of the searched person, place, or thing
  • The specific items or evidence that the officers are searching for
  • The warrant issuance date and time
  • The expiration date of the warrant
  • A statement that the issuance of a warrant is upon probable cause

The information contained in a North Carolina search warrant must be specific and detailed and comply with the Fourth Amendment. Any evidence obtained through the search may be inadmissible in court if the warrant does not meet these requirements.

North Carolina Bench Warrant

A bench warrant in North Carolina is an arrest warrant issued by a judge when someone fails to appear in court or violates a court order after receiving a subpoena or a summons.

After issuing a bench warrant, law enforcement officers can arrest the person named on the warrant and bring them before the court. The person may be held in custody until their court appearance or released on bail or other conditions.

It's vital to take a North Carolina bench warrant seriously and comply with court orders or requests. If you have received a subpoena or summons and cannot appear in court, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options and determine the best course of action to avoid a bench warrant.

What is Failure to Appear in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, failure to appear is a criminal offense when an individual summoned or subpoenaed to appear in court fails to do so. This offense can apply to both criminal and civil cases.

If someone fails to appear in court as required, the judge may issue a bench warrant for arrest. Furthermore, the individuals implicated will face further penalties.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of North Carolina may revoke the driver's license of anybody convicted of failing to appear in court. The court clerk will notify the DMV of any offenders within 20 days of the first appointed date. The agency will then suspend the individual's license until the case resolution.

Regardless of the warrant outcome, the offender of failure to appear in court must pay a $200 fine and an extra $100 to have their license reinstated.

What Information Does a North Carolina Bench Warrant Contain?

Judge-issued bench warrants in North Carolina include the following information:

  • The warrantee's name
  • The warrant issuance reason, such as failure to appear in court or failure to comply with a court order
  • The name of the court that issued the warrant
  • The name of the judge who issued the warrant
  • The warrant issuance date
  • The amount of bond, if any, set for the person's release
  • The law enforcement agency or agencies that have the authority to execute the warrant
  • Other information, such as a physical description of the person, their last known address, or any relevant information that could help law enforcement locate and arrest the individual

How To Perform Warrant Search in North Carolina?

A criminal history check is the best North Carolina Warrant Search method to determine whether you have outstanding warrants. You must contact the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and request a criminal background check.

Under the "Right to Review," you may need to collect your fingerprints from a local law enforcement agency, complete the request form, and pay the applicable charge.

Alternatively, county clerk offices in North Carolina may assist you in conducting warrant searches to locate outstanding warrants.

Lastly, you can contact the sheriff's office in the county that issued the warrant. They may be able to provide information on active warrants. For example, the sheriff of Rowan County has a "Wanted List" that offers information on outstanding warrants at the county level.

Remember that a warrant does not indicate guilt, and an individual may have an active warrant for reasons other than criminal activity. If you discover an active warrant against you during your North Carolina Warrant Search, it is advisable to contact an attorney and address the issue as soon as possible.


Counties in North Carolina