Are Warrants Public Records in Delaware?
A Delaware warrant may be public or confidential, depending on its type. Arrest and search warrants may be public depending on the jurisdiction and the stage of the investigation. Some jurisdictions make warrants public after they have been executed, while others may be kept confidential if their disclosure is likely to pose a threat to national security or public safety. On the other hand, warrants related to financial or corporate matters, like stock warrants, can become public if the company is publicly traded. Ultimately, however, the availability of a warrant is best determined by querying the applicable custodial office. For instance, arrest and search warrants are usually held as part of Delaware’s criminal records or court records and are available through the state’s law enforcement and the Delaware judiciary.
What is a Warrant in Delaware?
A warrant in Delaware is a legal document that gives a law enforcement officer the authority to perform an action that is ordinarily against the law. This judicial writ is issued by a judge or magistrate and is limited to its territorial jurisdiction. In most cases, police officers secure warrants to arrest a suspect or search their premises.
The Delaware Judiciary issues different warrants, including arrest warrants, search warrants, bench warrants, tax warrants, and capias warrants. According to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and state laws, no warrant can be issued without "probable cause". This ensures that reasonable grounds exist for the issuance of any warrant, thereby protecting the rights of citizens.
Warrants issued in Delaware usually feature the first name of the wanted person and data that may be relevant for their identification like their eye color, weight, race, and their city/county of residence.
How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Delaware
The Delaware State Police advises citizens of the state to check if there is a warrant for their arrest. It is advisable to be aware of one's warrant status to prevent future inconveniences.
Anyone who wishes to check if they have an active warrant in Delaware may conduct a warrant search with the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System. To use the site, researchers will need to input their last and first names to start a search. The database contains warrants issued by the Delaware Judiciary.
Another way to find an outstanding warrant in Delaware is to check out one's criminal history. The first step is to run a fingerprint check, which will be forwarded to the Delaware Bureau of Investigation. Also, the requester must present a valid driver's license or state ID. The fee for requesting a Delaware criminal background check is $52, and $65 to run a state and federal check. This fee is payable by cash, certified check, money order, or company check to the Delaware State Police. Credit and debit cards are also accepted. Please note that Sussex County does not accept cash payments.
Delaware has strict regulations governing public access to criminal history information. As a result, court clerks and other state agencies can not conduct warrant searches.
Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:
- The personal information of the alleged suspect
- Information regarding the issuing officer
- The location where the warrant was issued.
How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Delaware?
The time a warrant stays active in Delaware depends on the kind of warrant. Generally, a warrant remains active until the subject presents themselves before the court or gets arrested by the law enforcement officers.
On the other hand, some warrants only stay active until the statute of limitation for the offense expires. Delaware's civil statute of limitations (SOL) is between two and five years, whereas criminal SOL laws range from two to ten years.
Even though warrants can expire under certain circumstances, it is advisable to take immediate action to address such warrants. However, a skilled lawyer is a better option in countering a warrant. The lawyer may resolve the warrant by fighting for the defendant's rights, minimizing the consequences, or having the charges dismissed.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Warrant in Delaware?
The exact time it takes to get a warrant in Delaware can vary depending on the circumstances. There are several stages in the process, including preparing the application, reviewing by a prosecutor, and judicial review. If the judge approves the application, the warrant can be issued immediately. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days or more depending on the circumstances.
What is a Delaware Search Warrant?
A Delaware search warrant is an order from a judge or a magistrate that authorizes the legal search of a person, place, or vehicle for evidence. When evidence is found after a search, law enforcement officers have the right to seize such items.
The Delaware Code Online Title 11 § 2301 - 2311 highlights the protocol for obtaining and executing search warrants. However, exceptions are made for hot pursuits, where the possible escape of a suspect nullifies the need for a search warrant.
The primary purpose of a Delaware search warrant is to prevent unauthorized intrusions. Typically, it is issued to search or seize the following:
- Persons with arrest warrants in their names.
- Properties used or designed for criminal activities.
- Properties obtained from committing a crime.
- Papers, articles, or things of which possession is illegal.
- Papers, articles, or things that reveal a crime was committed.
According to Section 2304 of the Delaware Code, officials authorized to issue search warrants include a Superior Court judge, Court of Common Pleas judge, justice of the peace, and an authorized magistrate.
Generally, the application for a search warrant must be in writing. Also, the complainant must sign the statement and verify it by oath or affirmation. The application must indicate the house, place, person, or conveyance to be searched. Also, it must include the reason for the search. Judges will only issue a warrant if the facts noted in the complaint constitute probable cause for a search.
In addition, an officer cannot serve a search warrant at night without the court's order. In certain cases, the court may allow the search to be executed at night to prevent a person's escape or the removal of things to be seized. Nighttime searches are conducted between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
What Can Make a Delaware Search Warrant Invalid?
According to the Fourth Amendment, a search warrant may only be authorized if it is reasonable and shows probable cause. Otherwise, the search warrant becomes invalid, regardless of the US state where it was issued.
Another way a Delaware search warrant can become invalid is if there is evidence that a police officer made a false accusation to obtain a search warrant. If there is suspicion of false statements in the search warrant affidavit, a suppression hearing may be held. During the hearing, if it is established that the police officer committed perjury, then the search warrant becomes invalid.
Aside from false information in the search warrant affidavit, establishing that there was no probable cause for a warrant can lead to its invalidation.
What is an Arrest Warrant in Delaware?
An arrest warrant in Delaware gives law enforcement the authority to arrest a person who has been declared wanted. Arrest warrants give officers the license to arrest named persons and put them in custody. Usually, an arrest warrant contains the names, physical descriptions, and other details of the person to be arrested. This helps the law enforcement agents to apprehend the right person. Other information contained in the warrant includes:
- The subject's alleged offense.
- Date and time that the warrant was issued.
- The issuing city or county and court
- Title and signature of the issuing judge or magistrate.
What is a Child Support Arrest Warrant in Delaware?
A child support arrest warrant is one of the enforcement tools used in Delaware to capture non-custodial parents who do not pay court-mandated child support.
The Division of Child Support Services in Delaware works with the court in issuing arrest warrants for parents who do not pay support. This warrant aims to enforce the child support payments in Delaware. When arrested and brought to court, the accused parent may be forced to pay the child support or even incur a jail term.
What is a Delaware Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is issued in Delaware when someone fails to comply with a court order. When a judge issues a bench warrant, law enforcement officers can arrest the named person and present such an individual to a judge. There are specific defaults that lead to the issuance of a bench warrant in Delaware:
- Failure to appear for a court hearing.
- Failure to pay fines or child support.
- Violating a court order.
- Disobeying a subpoena to testify.
- Violating probation.
A bench warrant is treated the same way as other arrest warrants. As such, police officers have the right to arrest the named person in the warrant at any time or location.
Delaware bench warrants stay active until the subject is arrested or voluntarily surrenders to the appropriate authority.
In Delaware, What is Failure to Appear?
In Delaware, a warrant for failure to appear is issued when a person fails to present themselves in court on a set date and time. Anyone who has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court is advised to turn themselves in to avoid arrest.
Generally, persons who will not be present at a hearing are advised to file for a continuance ahead of the hearing date. For example, if it is a criminal case in the Justice of Peace Court, the interested party may fill the applicable Continuance Request Form for Criminal Cases and submit it to the court.
How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in Delaware?
Anyone arrested after missing a court hearing in Delaware may spend up to 72 hours in police custody before appearing before a judge. In most cases, the judge may ask that the person be held in jail until their next court hearing. The defaulting party may also be charged with failure to appear or contempt of court.
In Delaware, What is Failure to Pay?
When a person fails to pay a court fine or fee in Delaware, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the defaulter's arrest.
Delaware residents can pay their fines over the phone to avoid the issuance of this warrant. This service is available all day across the three counties in Delaware.
The contact number for each county is as follows:
- New Castle County: (302) 255 - 0900
- Kent County: (302)735 - 3900
- Sussex County: (302) 858 - 5700
Also, Delaware residents may pay their fines online using a credit card. To use this service, individuals must have their case number.
What is a No-Knock Warrant in Delaware?
A "no-knock" warrant allows law enforcement agents to barge into a property without giving prior notice to the occupants or owners of the property. With the no-knock warrant, police officers are not obliged to notify anyone by ringing the doorbell or knocking.
The purpose of the no-knock warrant is to prevent a suspect from destroying evidence or fleeing the premises. Also, the warrant allows the police officers to catch the suspects unawares, leaving no room for them to arm themselves or fight against the officers.
How to Perform a Federal Warrant Search
There are several methods to search for federal warrants. However, not all warrant information is available to the public due to concerns over privacy and ongoing investigations:
- The National Crime Information Center is a database maintained by the FBI that contains information on active warrants for serious offenses. However, access to this resource is typically restricted to law enforcement agencies only.
- PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is a federal service that allows anyone to search court cases and warrant information in the federal court system. However, there are fees associated with access.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons: The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains a searchable database if you're searching for information on an individual who is currently incarcerated.
- The U.S. Marshals Service maintains searchable databases for specific categories of warrants, such as those related to escaped fugitives and sexual offenders.
- Local Law Enforcement Agencies and Courts: Some Delaware jurisdictions maintain online databases with warrant information search capabilities. If information on the specific federal district is known, the inquirer can search the district court's website for warrant information.
Does Delaware DMV Check for Warrants?
The Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles does not routinely search for arrest warrants when individuals renew their driver's license or vehicle registration. However, this does not preclude the possibility of a person with an outstanding warrant being arrested at the DMV. If a warrant exists and law enforcement is aware of the individual's location, the individual can be arrested at the DMV. In addition, if a person engages in suspicious behavior or if their identity is flagged for any reason, the DMV staff may contact law enforcement, which could lead to the discovery of an outstanding warrant. Additionally, in some instances, certain types of warrants may be associated with driving offenses and, as a result, may be visible to DMV employees during routine transactions. For example, if a person's license was suspended due to unpaid fines or a severe traffic infraction, this information could be included in their DMV records. If they endeavor to renew their license or registration, DMV employees may be made aware of the problem.