Illinois Warrant Searches

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If you have an arrest warrant in the state of Illinois, law enforcement officers have the right to arrest you, restrain you with handcuffs, and bring you to jail for processing. Instances, where a police officer may need an arrest warrant to bring you in on charges, are:

  • Evidence at a crime scene points to you
  • Somebody witnessed you commit a crime
  • You fled the scene of a crime
  • You were caught on video committing a crime

If an officer witnesses an individual commit a crime in Illinois they have the right to establish the factor of probable cause on their own merit and arrest the individual without a warrant.

If the officer did not witness the crime they must obtain an arrest warrant through a judge or find a way to justify probable cause.

If you believe that you or somebody that you know has a warrant, we recommend that you do an Illinois warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.

Types of Warrants in Illinois

There are three types of warrants in the state of Illinois:

  • Search warrant
  • Arrest warrant
  • Bench warrant

As with most other states, there are three basic types of warrants. Each type has its own unique characteristics that make it different from the others, however, they are all documents of the court that are signed by a magistrate.

Search Warrants

A valid search warrant gives police permission to search your body, property, or premises of your location in order to obtain evidence of a crime.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is in place in order to protect United States citizens from unauthorized or illegal search practices by authorities. There are also Illinois state laws and statutes in place to protect the people of the state of Illinois.

There are countless scenarios that could merit a valid search warrant to be executed some of which are:

  • Evidence that a crime is being committed
  • Property is being used to commit crimes
  • Manufacturing of illegal material
  • Evidence suggests a crime has been committed
  • Witness states a crime has occurred
  • Threat to the community

The key factor to all search warrant authorizations is the presence of probable cause. As for a distinct definition of what circumstances merit ”probable cause,” there is none. In most circumstances, the judge decides what factors determine the cause.

Arrest Warrants

Arrest warrants, as we mentioned above, allow the authorities to arrest an individual. Although there are circumstances that merit the police to get an arrest warrant to arrest a suspect, as long as there is sufficient probable cause the police can arrest anybody at any time.

If you suspect that you have a warrant you should:

  • Do a warrant search to confirm
  • Contact an attorney
  • Make plans to resolve the warrant on your own terms

The only way to resolve an arrest warrant is to face the court and allow a judge to either drop the warrant or bring you to trial for the crime you are accused of.

Bench Warrants

Bench warrants in the state of Illinois are warrants that are issued directly by the judge, from the bench. Most causes for bench warrants are from an individual failing to gratify an order from the court.

Bench warrants result mainly from circumstances such as:

  • Failure to appear for court
  • Failure to pay a fine
  • Failure to complete work project or community service

The judge can write the bench warrant to specify a bail amount or to specify a no-bail hold where the defendant can not bail or be released from jail when they are apprehended.

The only way to resolve a bench warrant is to be seen by a judge, or have a judge dismiss the warrant.

What Exactly is a Warrant?

Humans have been using warrants for thousands of years to authorize the arrest or even execution of certain people. But the warrants that are commonly used today didn’t exist until the United States revolution when we won our independence from the British.

The type of warrants that the British used to use, called common warrants, is actually illegal in the United States Constitution.

A warrant, in short, is an order that allows law enforcement to do what is normally considered an illegal action.

The fourth amendment protects you and every other citizen from unreasonable searches and seizures. Warrants are orders that declare that the search or seizure from you is legal.

These orders must be signed by a judge or magistrate to be considered legal, and many states even require for them to be filled out a specific way in order for them to be considered valid. Every state handles things a little differently because there is no general standard for how warrants are to be handled.

What Does an Illinois Warrant Look Like?

As we mentioned, every state handles warrants a little differently. That means that Illinois has its own rules and regulations for how warrants are to be handled. For instance, every warrant that is issued in Illinois must contain:

  • The name of the person that is to be arrested. If the name isn’t available, a description of the person in question can be used in its place.
  • The signature of the judge or magistrate, along with the date it was signed.
  • Which county the warrant was issued in.
  • The name of the judge or magistrate’s office.
  • The crime that is believed to be committed by the person in question.
  • The amount of bail that is set, if bail is available for the case at hand.

Any warrant issued in Illinois can be executed at any time, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3:00 AM on Christmas.

Some warrants allow for police to raid the person in question’s home, and that can also happen at any time.

In general, warrants can only be executed in the county where the warrant was issued. A warrant can be endorsed by a judge or magistrate from another county that allows the warrant to be executed in other counties.

Out-of-county coverage usually happens when the suspect is believed to have fled the county out of fear of persecution.

It’s also possible for warrants to be executed in other states, and that typically results in the suspect being extradited back to their own state.

Why It’s Important to Do Regular Warrant Searches

There is no law that states that the authorities have to notify you of a warrant when one is placed on you. What this means is that you could have a warrant out for your arrest. There could also be a search warrant in effect that would allow the authorities to search your personal property.

Somebody could report that you were involved in a crime and say that they saw you do it. Even a false eye witness can be the determining factor of probable cause.

If you have an active warrant out for your arrest you could:

  • Be arrested and go to jail
  • Have to stay in jail
  • Be tried for the crime while being held in jail
  • Have to pay thousands of dollars in fees

By conducting warrant searches in your area on a regular basis you will have the upper hand in the situation and be able to resolve the warrant on your own terms. Knowing ahead of time will give you an opportunity to:

  • Hire an attorney
  • Hide any questionable property
  • Avoid being arrested

In the event that you have a warrant against you, the authorities will not take the time to make things convenient for you. As far as they are concerned you are a criminal, and they are going to treat you appropriately.

If there is a reason that you could be in jeopardy of having a warrant placed on you, the best defense is to be prepared.

Making Sure You Understand the Law in Illinois

This is far from a comprehensive guide to warrant law in Illinois. New laws and amendments to existing laws are constantly in progress. It’s important to be able to understand how the warrant laws work in your state so you can be sure that you understand your rights. If you are ever in doubt about your rights, or what you can do to protect yourself do not hesitate to seek legal advice from a lawyer.

Regardless of which state that you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.