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Pennsylvania Warrant Search: How to View Warrant Records in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Warrant Search: How to View Warrant Records in Pennsylvania
September 4, 2022

The Fourth Amendment protects every US citizen against illegal harassment, detention, and seizures of property. Having said that, law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania may perform any of the above actions if they are backed up by a warrant to that effect.

 

Warrants in Pennsylvania do not expire, and police officers are authorized to enforce them at any time, even at night. So, if you have (or you suspect that you have) an active or outstanding warrant on your record, it's best to get it sorted out as soon as you become aware of it.

 

Luckily, warrants in Pennsylvania are not hard to find. We've identified a few ways to find and view warrants in Pennsylvania.

the words arrest warrant on a board next to pencils, a pen and glasses

 
Pennsylvania Warrants


A warrant is a court-issued document that authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest an individual in connection with a crime, search property and seize items to be used as evidence where necessary, or compel an offender to obey court orders. 

 

Judges and magistrates in the Pennsylvania judicial system reserve the prerogative of issuing warrants, which they do after a few conditions have been met by affiants.

 

Law enforcement officers seeking a warrant in Pennsylvania must submit a written complaint to a tribunal. For the accusatory instrument to be considered valid, it must clearly state the criminal incident as well as the basis on which suspicion of the subject is based. 

 

Beyond this, the judicial officer must determine that there are reasonable grounds or probable cause to conclude that a crime was committed and that the subject of the warrant is guilty of committing the crime. Once the judge or magistrate has established the existence of probable cause, they may issue a warrant.

 

Various warrants serve different purposes in Pennsylvania. In a few cases, judges may issue summons in lieu of warrants, especially if the affiant is a civilian. 


Types of Pennsylvania Warrants


Depending on the nature of the incident and the gravity of the offense, a judge may issue an active arrest warrant, a search warrant, or a bench warrant. Other types of warrants in Pennsylvania are failure to pay warrants, child support warrants, and failure to appear warrants. 


Arrest Warrants


Arrest warrants in Pennsylvania are typically issued when the court determines the need for an offender to appear in court for a trial. If the subject of a warrant is accused of committing a felony or a grievous misdemeanor, peace officers are authorized to arrest them at any time of the day and cross state and county boundaries to bring them into custody.

 

Pennsylvania arrest warrants typically have no expiry date. However, they can only be issued after the court has established probable cause. 

a police arrest warrant with a pen on it


Search Warrants


Search warrants are issued by judges at the request of law enforcement officers. These documents permit police officers to search properties connected to criminal investigations and seize specific items as evidence for a subsequent trial.

 

Pennsylvania search warrants have limited periods of validity. These documents may be deemed invalid if they do not specify the address of the property to be searched, the name of the owner of said property, and the specific item or area to be searched. 


Bench Warrants


Bench warrants are issued to defaulters or people who fail to obey court injunctions. These types of warrants are issued at the discretion of judges, and courts in Pennsylvania may sometimes notify subjects of bench warrants by mail. Bench warrants, like search warrants, have limited periods of validity; they may expire if a hearing pertaining to the warrant is not held within 72 hours of the subject's detainment. 

a 3D illustration of bags under a search bar


How to Find Warrants in Pennsylvania?


Law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania typically do not notify subjects of warrants against them, but they do provide a lot of ways for people to find out this fact for themselves. 


Pennsylvania State Police Database


Pennsylvania residents looking to find out criminal history information on themselves or other people can find warrants as well as other details of conviction on the Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) database. This online database is offered by the Pennsylvania State Police, and registered or unregistered requesters may obtain criminal records from this repository for a non-refundable fee.

 

Online searches on the PATCH database cost $22 per request. Mail requests cost $20, plus an optional $5 for the document to be notarized. 

a gavel next to a book on a table


County Sheriff's Offices


Several county sheriff's departments in Pennsylvania publish the most wanted lists, which are accessible to individuals looking for generic warrant information. You can find such information as the person's name, warrant number, last known address, offense, and date of issue on these lists. A few counties also offer digital versions of these lists on the official website of the sheriff's office.

 
Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Portal


The Pennsylvania judiciary offers a statewide repository of warrant records, and anyone who wants to find warrant information can visit the online web portal created by the judiciary to this effect. Searches on the platform are free, but you will need to create an account to get access to the service. 

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