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Virginia Warrant Search

Virginia Warrant Search refers to searching for outstanding warrants issued by a Virginia court or law enforcement agency against an individual. An outstanding warrant is a legal document that allows police officers to arrest a person accused of committing a crime or breaching a court order.

The ability to issue a warrant in Virginia rests with the judges and clerks of the state's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, Circuit Courts, and District Courts. They grant a warrant if the asking police officers prove probable cause that the arrest, search, or seizure is appropriate.

Once granted, the information you can typically find in a Virginia warrant includes the following:

  • The warranted person's full name, date of birth, and residence
  • Law enforcement's particular actions, such as where to search or who to arrest
  • The issuance date, as well as the name of the judge or magistrate who issued it
  • The alleged offense or violation of the warrant's target
  • Any additional information that law enforcement officials believe is relevant to the execution of the warrant, such as the presence of weapons or dangerous substances at the search site

In Virginia, warrants are publicly accessible under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, this access may have exceptions or limitations. For example, certain types of information may be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA if they would jeopardize law enforcement activities or would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy if disclosed.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Virginia?

In Virginia, the length of time a warrant stays active depends on the type of warrant.

Some warrants, like arrest and bench warrants in Virginia, stay active until the suspect is arrested or the individual appears in court. These warrants have no expiration date, so they remain valid until the suspect is taken into custody or the court cancels it.

Nonetheless, the courts can revoke unexecuted felony warrants within seven years and misdemeanor warrants within three years under Virginia Code (VC) section 19.2-76.1. This clause usually applies when the warrant subject is deceased or erroneous.

Meanwhile, a state court issued a search warrant in Virginia for a specific period. When this warrant is issued, the judge decides how long it will be, which can vary depending on the case. But generally, as per VC section 19.2-56, a search warrant in the state is valid for 15 days.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in Virginia?

The following are the most typical types of warrants you may see while doing a Virginia Warrant Search:

Virginia Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant in Virginia is a legally binding issued by authorized personnel under VC section 19.2-71, allowing law enforcement agents to apprehend an individual accused of executing a crime. This warrant usually contains the name of the arrestee, the alleged offense, and the arrest conditions.

Under the VC section 19.2-72, the issuance of a warrant for arrest may only happen when a complaint is under oath or affirmation. The complaint must set forth the essential facts constituting the offense charged.

It also provides that arrest warrants may be issued without a prior complaint in certain circumstances, such as in cases involving offenses committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer or if there is reasonable suspicion of a crime.

Can Virginia Police Arrest You Without a Warrant?

In Virginia, police can arrest a person without a warrant under certain circumstances.

Virginia law allows for warrantless arrests when law enforcement officers have probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime.

Specifically, VC section 19.2-81 allows a law enforcement officer to arrest without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a felony committed, regardless of whether the commission of the offense was in the officer's presence.

Additionally, under VC section 19.2-81.3, any law-enforcement officer with any reasonable type of probable cause can arrest without a warrant in cases of battery or assault against a family or household member, stalking, and breaking a protective order, among other things.

Moreover, VC section 19.2-81.1 allows any correctional officer to make arrests without a warrant for the following offenses:

  • When an inmate escapes from jail or prison
  • In violation of VC section 18.2-474 or VC section 18.2-474.1, giving an inmate contraband
  • Helping an inmate escape from incarceration
  • Any other crime that could affect the safety, welfare, or security of the people who live in a correctional institution

It's vital to stress that warrantless arrests still need probable cause—enough evidence to sustain a reasonable suspicion that the individual committed the charge. The court may suppress any evidence gained from a warrantless arrest without probable cause.

Virginia Bench Warrant

The bench warrant is among the most common warrants during a Virginia Warrant Search.

In Virginia, a bench warrant, also called a capias warrant, is a legal document issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement to arrest an individual and bring them before the court.

This warrant is typically issued when an individual fails to appear in court. In Virginia, you fail to appear when you miss your court date or break the rules set up before the trial, like not showing up after posting bail.

In traffic offenses or misdemeanors, the court may conduct the trial and find the offender guilty without their attendance. Nonetheless, such defendants have ten days to submit an appeal with a District Court or a retrial petition within two months.

In Virginia, failure to appear may be a Class 6 felony or Class 1 misdemeanor. It aggravates the penalties associated with the initial charges; violators may be subject to an additional fine of up to $2,500.

Virginia Search Warrant

A Virginia search warrant issued by a judge or magistrate permits law enforcement officers to search a specific place, such as a home, vehicle, or business, for evidence related to a crime.

The warrant must be supported by probable cause, which means that there must be sufficient evidence to believe that the items being searched for are likely to be found at the location in question.

In Virginia, no officer of the law can search a place without a warrant unless under the provisions of the game laws or marine fisheries laws. Furthermore, the state doesn't allow no-knock warrants. Police officers must be identifiable as police and provide aural notification of their arrival and intent.

To obtain a Virginia search warrant, law enforcement officers must submit an affidavit or written statement to a judge or magistrate outlining the evidence supporting the warrant. The judge or magistrate will evaluate the testimony to decide whether probable cause exists to issue the warrant.

If the warrant is issued, it will specify the location to be searched, the items to be seized, and the period during which the search can take place.

Only authorized and trained law enforcement officers can conduct searches and seizures in the state. In addition, they may only perform it within a reasonable amount of time after the issuance, usually for 15 days.

It is worth noting that the Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures, and search warrants must comply with constitutional requirements. If a law enforcement officer executes a search warrant improperly, the court may suppress and exclude the evidence obtained.

What Is Subject To Search and Seize Under Virginia Search Warrant?

A judge or magistrate may issue this warrant for the search of or for particular places, objects, or persons. And as specified in a warrant, the seizure may include the following items:

  • Physical evidence related to the alleged crime, such as weapons or drugs
  • Stolen property, or the rewards of any crime
  • Documents or records associated with the alleged crime, such as financial records, emails, or other digital data
  • Electronic devices, such as computers or cell phones that may contain evidence related to the alleged crime
  • Items or substances whose sale or possession is illegal
  • Any individual with a warrant or procedure for arrest

Virginia Failure to Pay Warrant

A failure to pay warrant in Virginia is an arrest warrant issued when someone fails to appear in court to pay a fine or court-ordered restitution.

According to VC section 19.2-354, a failure to pay occurs when a court directs a person convicted of a traffic crime or other offenses to pay a fine, and that person fails to comply.

Once this warrant is issued, law enforcement officers may arrest you anytime and bring you before a judge to explain why you have not paid.

If the judge finds you have willfully failed to pay, you may be subject to additional fines, penalties, or jail time.

Moreover, the Department of Motor Vehicles can take away your driving right if you don't pay a court-ordered fine for a traffic violation.

How To Perform Warrant Search in Virginia?

In Virginia, you may locate warrants for your cases by reviewing case records if you have pending court proceedings. Generally, you can perform Virginia Warrant Search and get warrant information at the court handling the case.

To make it easier, you can visit the Virginia Judicial System website. It has several search tools for case records to discover if there are any outstanding warrants related to a case.

If you cannot find the needed information online, contact the Court Clerk's Office for the court where you believe the warrant was issued. They can provide you with additional information or guidance on how to proceed.

Alternatively, through a criminal background check, you can fill out and send in an online request to get warrant information from the Virginia State Police.

Moreover, county police agencies or sheriff's offices provide warrant information on their websites or at their offices. For example, the Virginia Beach Police Department has an online search tool for locating current warrants within its jurisdiction. On the other hand, Roanoke County keeps an up-to-date list of outstanding warrants on its website.

In performing Virginia Warrant Search, typically, you must provide the accused suspect's personal information, the warrant's location, and details about the issuing officer to get warrant records.

It's important to note that having an outstanding warrant can lead to arrest, so it's essential to address any warrants immediately. If you are unsure whether you have one, consult an attorney to help you navigate the legal system and manage the matter.


Counties in Virginia