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.