Do Warrants Show Up on a Background Check?

By Michael Klazema on 2/16/2018

There are various types of warrants, including criminal/arrest warrants, bench warrants, search warrants, and civil warrants. An arrest warrant indicates someone is under open investigation by law enforcement. A bench warrant indicates someone has failed to appear in court after being ordered to do so. No warrants are proof of guilt in any capacity, but they can raise red flags about a candidate.

Below, we explain how the most common types of warrants can be found using background checks.

Do Arrest Warrants Show on Background Checks?

When people ask this question, they often mean, “Do arrest warrants show up on standard criminal background checks?” Usually, the answer is no. States have different laws about access to arrest warrants, and arrest warrants don’t usually become part of the criminal record until they have been executed. As such, warrants rarely show up on a criminal background check—be it a county search, a state repository check, or a multi-jurisdictional screening.

Some background check companies, including, have services designed specifically to search for warrants. Our Nationwide Wants and Warrants search identifies outstanding arrest warrants at the state and federal level. This search will identify the agencies that issued those warrants. We can communicate with an issuing agency to learn more about the warrant.

Does a Bench Warrant Show on a Background Check?

Like arrest warrants, bench warrants are not part of the criminal record and will not show up on a criminal background check. However, they are part of court records. As such, they can typically be found in court record background searches. Similarly, civil warrants for when a subject fails to follow court orders are part of civil court history and will usually show up on court background searches.

Finding Details about Warrants

It is possible to find details about most types of warrants through background checks. Search warrants are the exception, as they do not usually appearance in criminal record or court record searches. Warrants will not show up in most standard criminal history checks. If you are curious about warrants, you will have to run an additional search or two.

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