North Carolina Arrest Records and Warrant Search

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Everything that you wanted to know about Arrest reports and a Warrant Search from NC!

I have been approached for a criminal check for a wide variety of reasons. However, normally I have found that people seek arrest records or want to do a warrant search when they either encounter suspicious behavior or want to play it safe when allowing a person into their business or personal life.

I, for one, truly believe that access to an arrest report, the area’s warrants list and other details from the police blotter works as the most effective preventative measure against antisocial elements. I mean think about it, if you find out that a potential employee or business partner has arrest warrants out against him, would you really want to get into a personal or professional association with this person?

Now, when you start your inquiry for criminal court records or the arrest log of your subject, you are bound to come across both the arrest report and information on any outstanding warrants in the name of this individual. So, to begin with, it is crucial to understand how arrest records and the details found in a warrant list are linked.

When I initiate a warrant search, will the results of the warrant inquiry also get me the arrest log?

Without a doubt, there is a link between arrest reports and active warrants. But arrest records are different from arrest warrants. Let me tell you how. If you have read any of my other articles on this site, you may already know that an arrest warrant is basically a court issued order that allows the police to detain a person.

The sheriff’s office will usually file a request for these orders, and they are typically issued by the court of the magistrate. Of course, other courts can also issue warrants. Regardless of which court sanctions these orders, it is the police that is in charge of making the arrest.

Once the person is taken into custody, his arrest records are created, complete with the arrest mugshots. This information is then shared by local law enforcement with various state and county agencies.

But, just because your arrest inquiry gets you information pertaining to police detentions, it is not a given that you will also get details on the outstanding warrants against a person. Often, neither the judiciary nor the police will offer data on active warrants.

Can I be sure that if an active warrant has been issued, there has to be an arrest report linked with it?

two police officers having a conversation

No! The police will often seek an arrest warrant to take a suspect into custody. However, they can arrest a person without a warrant, if he is caught red-handed or they have reason to believe that this person WILL commit a crime in the immediate future. Since an arrest can occur without an outstanding warrant, you cannot be sure that just because a person has been detained, he must have an arrest warrant in his name.

Along the same lines, arrest reports are created after a person is taken into custody. An active warrant will stay in the system till it is served. So, if an arrest warrant exists against your subject, this does not mean that he has already been taken into custody. This individual may very well be a suspect on the run.

Are arrest warrants and arrest records only linked to criminal matters?

Not at all! An arrest warrant may also be issued by a tribunal if an individual fails to obey an order from it. Take the example of a person who is ordered to appear in court to handle a civil complaint against him, but he does not show up. This act will be considered as contempt of court and an arrest warrant will be issued against this individual.

In fact, arrest warrants can also be issued if the person fails to pay traffic tickets or other fines as ordered by the court. When you launch a warrant lookup, you will get information on all arrest orders in the name of your subject.

What are the various ways in which I can launch a criminal check in NC or look for criminal court records?

There are various ways in which you can seek a background check in North Carolina, depending on the type and extent of information you need and the subject of your inquiry. These include going to:

  1. The local law enforcement agency: In NC, the police are not required to handle offender search requests, which means that you may not be able to get a crime history report from the police. However, at the least, the police will help you with information on arrest warrants.
  2. The County Jail: This is the facility where detainees are held till they are released on bail. If your subject is an under trial, you may get information on the charges against him as well as bail bond details by contacting the administration of the County Detention Center.
  3. The Clerk of Superior Court: This is the records-keeping division of the judiciary and as such, they handle all requests for criminal checks. You can find the address of the Clerk of Superior Court of your county by using the tool at They offer a paid offender search service for $25.
  4. The State Bureau of Investigation: This agency offers finger print based, non-certified background checks for $14. However, you can only initiate the inquiry in your own name and you will need to pay extra for finger printing. I recommend that you go through the FAQs at, before availing this facility
  5. The NC Department of Public Safety website: This agency offers an online tool for tracing active and released prisoners in the Correctional Network of the state. You will need the name of the subject to use this facility, which is available at

A private agency: This is a paid service offered by various agencies. I highly recommend that you opt for this channel of inquiry if you feel that you may have an arrest warrant in your name. This type of warrant inquiry will be discreet and since private agencies are not connected with law enforcement or the judiciary, you won’t risk arrest.

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