How sure are you that you don’t have any outstanding warrants filed in your name, and more importantly – have you ever checked? Most people tend to assume they have no outstanding warrants and no reason to worry about them, and are then surprised to find out that often isn’t the case.
The fact of the matter is that an outstanding warrant is any type of arrest or bench warrant that has yet to be served. More often than not when people don’t realize they have outstanding warrants in their name it is because it may have been a relatively minor incident such as a traffic matter – but their subsequent failure to appear before a court may have resulted in a bench warrant being issued.
While that may sound fairly unimportant and the initial incident may have been minor, the fact of the matter is there are definitely consequences to having outstanding warrants in your name. Make no mistake some of the potential consequences are definitely not minor, which is why you should know about them:
- Law enforcement could arrest or hold you
Needless to say the main consequence of an outstanding warrant that you don’t know about is that you could be arrested or held by law enforcement as a result. Contrary to popular belief these warrants don’t ‘go away’ even after years on end and there is no statute of limitations on them or the charges they’re connected to so long as the warrant is outstanding.
Long story short you could get stopped at a checkpoint in a state you haven’t visited in years and end up being held due to some outstanding warrant you had no idea existed.
- Driver’s license suspension
In some states if you fail to appear in court and a bench warrant is issued – your driver’s license will be suspended until it is resolved. As you can imagine this can be very inconvenient, and may even lead to other complications with your insurance and so on.
- Fines, jail sentences, and bonds
While generally not imposed for minor matters, in some cases an outstanding warrant due to a failure to appear in court could result in a fine being imposed – or even a jail sentence. On the other hand if you’re out on a bond or originally no bond was required, the court is likely to rule that the bond amount be increased.
- Employment issues
Another consequence of outstanding warrants is that they can show up in criminal records searches and can be found using an online warrant search tool. Some employers may perform such checks prior to hiring, and that could make it difficult for you to secure employment – particularly in certain sectors.
To make matters worse employers may not disclose that the reason they aren’t employing you is due to an outstanding warrant that is on your record. As such you may continue to be unaware that it exists until you carry out a search yourself.
As you can see the consequences of outstanding warrants are very real, which is why it makes sense to check and see if there are any filed against you. If they are you should find out what they are for, then take action to clear them so that you don’t end up suffering any consequences at any point down the line.
Assuming the warrant is for some minor issue, clearing it up shouldn’t be too difficult. At most you may need to make a court appearance and explain what happened, and may have to pay a fine due to the outstanding warrant or maybe even the original charges. Needless to say that is definitely preferable to some of the other potential consequences that could stem from having an outstanding warrant on your record in the long term – which is why you should check your record as soon as possible so that you can take action if necessary.