Checking Your Own Warrant Status: Tips & Tricks

Checking Your Own Warrant Status: Tips & Tricks

Many people call me to find out whether or not they have a warrant, bench warrant, arrest warrant, etc.  My first question is always, “Do you have a case number?”  If the answer is no, then the task is to find out the case number, and then use the case number to find out about the case, and the warrant.

Every county in Southern California offers anyone a chance to search their name, date of birth and/or driver’s license number to see whether they have any criminal cases.  Some counties allow you to search for warrants (San Diego).  Some counties charge (Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside) some do not (San Diego, San Bernardino, and Ventura).

If you don’t have a case number, you need to know where to search.  Here are the appropriate links for each county, with my comments:

Los Angeles County Index of Defendants:   Los Angeles county charges, it’s a dollar a search for the first 10 searches of every month.  Once you have the case number, you need to plug that into a different search engine.   To search Los Angeles county, you need account.  Court records may or not reflect warrant status depending on the age and locaiton of the warrant- once you have a case number, call me so I can give you advice about whether the case has a warrant or not.

Orange County Criminal and Traffic Cases Search:   Orange county also requires an account and charges a dollar a search.  Their records regarding the existence of warrants is more accurate than that provided by Los Angeles.   Be VERY careful trying to clear warrants without a lawyer in Orange county- things can go very wrong, very quickly.

San Diego County Sheriff Warrant Search:    San Diego allows you to search directly for warrants, unlike the other counties.  Also, the warrant search is free.

Riverside County Criminal Case Information:   Riverside County also requires an account and charges a dollar a search.

San Bernardino Criminal Case Information:  San Bernardino is free to find case information, just need your full name.

Once you’ve found a case number, call me or text to discuss whether or not you have a warrant.

True Stories 3: 15 Year Old Warrants in San Fernando and Van Nuys


This is a case from last month:  The client, Mark R., called me from the state of Montana, where he’d been running a several auto body shops for the past two decades.  In his younger years he’d had some issues related to substance abuse- a sick wife, life as a single dad- and he’d picked up a couple cases- one in Malibu and one in San Fernando.  His family was from San Fernando, and his parents still live there.

He didn’t know the warrants existed until he started dating a woman in Canada, and the Border Patrol alerted him to the warrants.

Both cases were at warrant, the Malibu case was a drug diversion where he had failed to show up for the final hearing (a dismissal of the charges),  the San Fernando case was an assault charge where the client had failed to submit proof of community service.

Complicating matters was the fact that the the Malibu Court House was closed some time ago, all the cases were moved to Van Nuys.  Since the client was living in Montana, I went to Van Nuys to try to clear the warrant without him.  There, the Judge said that he would not clear ANY warrant without the physical presence of the client.  I left court, called the client, and we made arrangements for him to fly out.

The next week, we went to Van Nuys- miraculously, the client still had the 15 year old proof he needed to obtain the dismissal.   We got the case dismissed, then went to San Fernando, where the Judge flipped out and threatened to throw the client in jail for failing to clear the warrant sooner.   I asked for a continuance over the weekend- mainly to give the Judge time to cool off.

We went back the next week, and the Judge agreed not to throw the client in jail.  Unlike Van Nuys, the client did not the proof of the work he was supposed to do originally, so he had to back to Montana, and after he does what he was supposed to do originally (community service, anger management class) the case will be dismissed.   I charged the client 1000- 500 for each violation.  In retrospect, I probably would have charged more, but a deal is a deal. 

True Stories 2: Four Year Old Warrant of Arrest in Orange County


Emily X. called me last month with a tough situation- a four year old warrant of arrest in Orange County (Harborside Justice Center/Newport Beach) for failure to complete her 18 month second offender DUI class.  Emily had been living in fear for the last four years, as she raised her son as a single mother- with the warrant out she was afraid of being arrested, but she was also afraid that the Judge in Orange County would send her to jail for failing to clear the warrant.

I charged her 500- standard for a probation revocation, and told her I would go down to Harborside Justice Center by myself the first time, put the case on calendar and talk to the Judge.  Not all Judges will clear warrants without the client present- Orange County is particularly bad in this regard, but even if the Judge won’t clear the warrant, he or she will give an idea of what the punishment is likely to be.

Last month I went down there and the Judge surprisingly cleared the warrant, and agreed to set the revocation hearing out a month, so that Emily could see her kid graduate Junior High.  I’d advised her that jail was a real possibility, and I always want my clients prepared for the worst.   Today was the day of the revocation hearing.

We lucked out and got a visiting Judge- especially in Orange County- getting a Judge other than the “usual” Judge hearing a probation revocation is a win- they are never harsher than the original Judge, and usually they go a lot easier.  Such was the case here, the Judge didn’t even violate Emily, and let her off with 40 hours of community service.

Unfortunately, Emily waited too long to go back to the class, so she has to do the 18 months all over again.  That’s a drag.  When I asked Emily if I could share her story on this blog she said, “Of course- it went a lot better then I was expecting, I’m glad you prepared me for the worst, but now I feel great. I’m so glad it’s over!”

True Stories Volume 1: 3 Misdemeanor Arrest Warrants in Orange County

My name is Scott Pactor, and I am a criminal defense attorney.  I work in state and federal court, in all the counties of Southern California:  Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Imperial.  I like helping people with warrants, because they need help, and they need it fast.  That’s the whole point.  Clearing warrants fast.  I want to share the stories of the people I help because I know that many find hard to believe that I’m for real.  Well I am, and these are my true stories.

James W.(all names and places have been changed) called me late last week, he’d just been suspended from his good job with a telecommunications contractor in Atlanta, Georgia because a background check had come back with two warrants for 2015 misdemeanor cases from Orange County, California.   James W. lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and he didn’t have time to come to Southern California to clear the warrants.    One was located in Santa Ana and one was located in Harborside (Newport Beach).  Both cases were charges of California Health and Safety Code Section 11378(a), possession of narcotics paraphernalia.

James W. was ahead of the game, because he already had his case numbers, provided by his job.  Finding a case number is the first step of clearing any warrant, so I was able to run his case number in the Orange County Superior Court computer online, and based on that I quoted him a price of 5000 to handle both cases.  I told him that I couldn’t promise that I could handle his cases without his presence, but that as soon as he paid me I would go to a recon mission at the Courthouse in Santa Ana, CA.   James said he needed some time to find the money, and he got back to me yesterday.

He paid, and I drove from San Diego to Santa Ana, where I talked to the clerk at the attorney window.  Together, we discovered a third case, a probation revocation from a third Court House- Westminster.  Arguably the third, unknown warrant was a bigger problem for James.  I convinced the clerk to consolidate all three cases in Santa Ana, and I told her I would be back tomorrow morning (in Orange County Superior Court, warrants of arrest can only be added on between 8 and 10 AM in the morning, to be heard the same day.

Today, I went back to Santa Ana and got all three cases put on calendar in the misdemeanor arraignment department.   The District Attorney offered diversion- James has to do education and counseling in Atlanta, take a DNA test- at an Orange County area Court House, unfortunately, and pay off a 290 fine from his 2014 case, and with that, both cases would be dismissed.  A proof date was set six month out.  The warrants of arrest were cleared immediately , and the arraignments were postponed till the proof date in six months.

James W. was free to go back to work, and what remains is just ensuring that he does what he needs to do to obtain a dismissal- work that I let my office staff handle- but, just as important as the resolution of the case for a dismissal.   James W. got his warrants cleared in 48 hours, and he goes back to work next week.

He said, “I’m glad I texted you first, the reviews were certainly true.”  I asked if I could share his story on my new blog and he said, “Of course, people should know that what you are offering is legit.”