Illinois Warrant Search
A warrant is a legal document that authorities use to search a place for a certain item or person. A person can perform an Illinois warrant search to see if they have a warrant under their name. Criminal information like warrants is considered public records under the Uniform Conviction Information Act (UCIA) of 1991. While employers are not allowed to ask for a person’s arrest history, they can perform a warrant search and check the conviction records, if available, of potential employees.
A warrant search in Illinois usually contains the following information:
- Alleged offense
- Suspect information like their name, sex, race, age, height and weight, and eye color
- Warrant location
- Date when the warrant was issued
- Title and name of issuing judge
- Expiration date
- Bail or bond requirement
How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Illinois?
Warrants stay active in Illinois as long as the wanted subjects remain at large. Since warrants are public records, they remain on the local or national database and do not generally expire.
However, the validity of a warrant would depend on its purpose. For example, warrants for felonies have a three-year validity following the statute of limitation, whereas warrants for misdemeanors have a validity of 18 months.
The state court can issue different warrants for different legal actions. No matter the type of warrant, the courts and local law enforcement must follow the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure. A warrant’s validity can become questionable when it fails to meet the legal requirements.
What Are the Most Common Warrants in Illinois?
Three different warrants are most common when performing an Illinois warrant search. These are:
- Search Warrant
- Arrest Warrant
- Bench Warrant
A search warrant is typically issued to collect or search for evidence, especially from a crime. Money and other properties, which are considered “fruits” of committing a crime, can also be searched as evidence.
Since the purpose of the search warrant is to “legally” search for evidence, the requesting officer must include an affidavit describing the need for a search and what they expect to find. Once a judge determines that there are enough grounds for a search, a warrant can be issued that may also prevent a defendant from entering their homes. That is, a defendant may not be allowed entry to their homes unless accompanied by a police officer to avoid any significant intrusion or the possibility of destroying possible evidence.
The Illinois Handbook of Criminal Law Decisions Chapter 43 discusses the general principles and proper protocol that comes with Search and Seizure procedures in the state.
Another common warrant in Illinois is a bench warrant. A judge will issue a bench warrant when a person violates court rules. Most often than not, a person can get a bench warrant when they fail to show up at a court meeting. Once a judge issues a bench warrant, the police can treat it as a warrant of arrest and bring the defendant back to court or pay for bail if they fail to do so.
Unlike a search warrant or a bench warrant, a police officer often initiates an arrest warrant when there is enough probable cause or evidence that a person has committed a crime. Once a judge signs the warrant, the police can immediately make an arrest to detain a possible suspect.
An arrest warrant is valid at any location and can be made at any time of the day within the state jurisdiction, as stated by section 725 ILCS 5 Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. The same law also dictates that “all necessary and reasonable force may be used” to perform an authorized arrest, including entry to any property, even without a search warrant.
How To Perform Warrant Search in Illinois?
There are many ways to perform an Illinois warrant search.
First, a person may go to the local police department and check if a warrant is issued in their name. The only downside to this is that if a person has an active warrant, a police officer has the authority to arrest them, no matter the location.
Another method to perform a warrant search in Illinois is to look up department records from the county or sheriff's offices. The Illinois State Police also has a list of wanted persons in their database that includes the offense, bond, and date the warrant was served. Each county in Illinois also has its own criminal justice system. Though not all, most of the counties have web pages online containing warrant information available to the public.
The public can also search for a warrant in Illinois using the clerk of the circuit court’s public access to specific traffic, civil, or criminal records available. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) also contains more than 1 billion federal court documents, including warrants in states like Illinois.
Lastly, an Illinois warrant search can be performed through a third-party website. However, the information that is available may vary.
Counties in Illinois
- Jo Daviess
- La Salle
- Rock Island
- Saint Clair