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Kentucky Warrant Search

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Are Warrants Public Record in Kentucky?

Yes. Per the Kentucky Open Records Act, warrants are available to the public. Therefore, anyone can request to inspect or obtain copies of warrants. Warrants can be retrieved through the state’s courts and at most law enforcement agencies. Expunged or sealed Kentucky criminal records can deem or render warrants confidential by extension. In addition, warrants pertaining to juveniles are restricted from public disclosure unless the requestor is authorized by judicial order.

What is Considered a Warrant in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, a warrant refers to an official authorizing directive issued by a judge or grand jury. It empowers law enforcement agents to embark on an operation that could otherwise violate a party’s constitutional rights. A warrant from the Kentucky Court System can be categorized as arrest, bench, or search. Any of these warrants fall under the jurisdiction of the court. Warrants not in the judicial parlance include treasury warrants, tax warrants, land warrants, etc.

Initiating the issuance of a warrant begins with the law enforcement agency finding a good reason to enforce one. The law enforcement agency must submit a statement that shows probable cause for a warrant. Probable cause could be criminal or civil. Below is an outline of the types of warrants commonly found in the state:

  • Arrest warrants: In criminal cases, an arrest warrant is almost always automatic because the authorities assume that the suspect may not be willing to cooperate. If the criminal case involves a business entity, arrest warrants can only be issued if it has unlimited liability.
  • Bench warrant: The court may issue a bench warrant if the involved party contravenes court rules. Failure to appear in court, refusal to comply with a subpoena, non-payment of a fine, or indications that the party has not completed community service are all causes for a bench warrant. It allows the law enforcement agency to arrest the violating party. However, authorities rarely need to search for the parties in question, as the law does not view them as felons.
  • Fugitive warrants: A fugitive warrant serves to stop persons who have committed an offense in another region and are on the run. For example, when an individual commits a crime in one state and tries to hide out in another, the court will release a fugitive warrant for their arrest. After the arrest, persons with a fugitive warrant will be moved to the jurisdiction where the crime took place for due legal process.
  • A search warrant in Kentucky is a court endorsement to proceed with a search of a suspected party's private space. Usually, the law enforcement authorities must produce sufficient reasons for the sitting judge to issue a search warrant. The process involves the Kentucky Police composing claims under oath (affidavit). Contents of the claims include law enforcement observations, informants' submissions to the police, and undercover studies about the suspected individual.

How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Kentucky?

Individuals in the state of Kentucky can find out if they have a warrant to their names. An up-close option is to get in touch with the law enforcement agencies personally and inquire about it. This option has its potential risks; for example, law enforcement officials may interrogate the inquirer about the warrant.

A safer approach is to use the internet to search for outstanding or active warrants on the law enforcement agency page. It could be a county sheriff's department or a city police department. Information gathered here is reliable because there is a regular update of warrant information on the agency web page. Statewide E-warrant Searches are available only to authorized personnel. Although non-governmental third-party websites may also provide data in this respect, changes may not reflect quickly.

Most of the time, warrants are displayed as part of background check data. It means that a summary report of background check information will show if there are any warrants. Parties can request county-based background check information from the local law enforcement agency or a more comprehensive summary from the Kentucky Police/ Administrative Office of the Courts. The Kentucky Police Department collaborates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to generate criminal history information reports. Persons wishing to get background check information should be prepared to submit their fingerprints to track accurate information.

Third-party websites also maintain records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions. 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 Kentucky?

Warrants do not expire in Kentucky until the involved party is found. Unlike other legal matters with a statute of limitations, warrants in Kentucky do not have active time frames. An arrest warrant remains confidential until the individual has been apprehended. Thereafter, it becomes a public record. If the arrested party is innocent of the charges that led to the arrest, the authorities delete the record from the public domain.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Warrant in Kentucky?

The length of time it takes to get a warrant depends on how quickly a police officer gets to a judge and convinces them that a warrant is necessary. This can take between minutes and hours, especially in cases where time is of the essence.

How Do Search Warrants Work in Kentucky?

A search warrant differs from a regular arrest or bench warrant in Kentucky. With a search warrant, law enforcement agents have the authority to search the home, vehicle, and other property of the suspected party without consent. However, there must be a good reason to invade the personal space of the involved party, which could be the existence of pointers to ongoing or already completed criminal activity.

For example, with illegal drug deals, Kentucky law enforcement agents have a right to invade the personal space of the suspected individual and search everywhere for evidence of drug dealings if there is a warrant. A search warrant also comes in handy when there is a need to access phone records or email content. Local ordinance violations will require that the local law enforcement agency press for a search warrant at the court of jurisdiction. Felonies usually get statewide attention. Therefore, the Kentucky Police Department presses for a search warrant with the court of jurisdiction.

At the court, the law enforcement agency on the case produces an affidavit of probable cause. The document provides sufficient information to show the courts that there is a good reason to search the private space of the suspected party. The sitting judge must consider the information in the affidavit reasonable enough to issue a search warrant because the state constitution prohibits unlawful searches of residents’ property.

How Does a Kentucky Search Warrant Become Invalid?

According to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, citizens and other residents are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures unless there is a warrant to that effect. The state laws also emphasize the privacy rights of Kentucky citizens and legal residents. Warrants, by law, must have the backing of an affidavit of probable cause and an Oath of Affirmation. Some other reasons why a government-issued warrant may become invalid are:

  • The way it was obtained. Suppose there are indications to show no affidavit of probable cause and subsequent court approval or that the law enforcement officers skipped due process. In that case, the recipient party can get the services of a lawyer to fight a search warrant.
  • A change in residential address may render a previous warrant obsolete. However, it does not prevent law enforcement agencies from proceeding on the same course; it only means that the authorities may reflect the changes on a new document.
  • If the document does not sufficiently describe the materials intended for search or seizure, any search and seizure outside the scope of what is stated in the warrant nullifies the entire process. It could lead to a failed prosecution process and eventually dropping the charges in court.
  • If the receiving party has proof that the sitting judge was not neutral as per the case, then the person can get the services of a lawyer to fight and invalidate a search warrant.

How to Conduct an Active Warrant Search in Kentucky

An active warrant search can be conducted online or in person at the sheriff's office in the county where the warrant was issued. For example, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office provides access to warrant information through the “Most Wanted" link on its website. A click on the links leads to a list of warrants issued in the county. Click the image on the page to view the warrant information of specific people. The person’s mugshot, full name, age, and charges would be revealed. Alternatively, a requester can visit the Sheriff's Office during business hours (Mon - Fri, 8 am - 4 pm) to retrieve warrant information. In-person requests can be made at:

Grayson County Sheriff's Office
44 Public Square
Leitchfield, KY 42754
Phone: (270) 259-3024

Free Warrant Search Options in Kentucky

Most law enforcement agencies in Kentucky allow residents to search warrants for free online or in person at their offices. For example, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office has a Most Wanted list where individuals can find warrant information for free. The list is located at the top bar of the homepage and provides information like the fugitive’s name, race, sex, date of birth, mugshot, and charges. Alternatively, a requester can visit the Sheriff's Office during business hours. A name or date of birth will be required to complete the search. The Office is located at:

Pulaski County Sheriff's Department
Somerset, KY 42502
Phone: (606) 678-5145
Fax: (606) 679-3119

Arrest Warrant in Kentucky: Rules of Procedure

An arrest warrant in Kentucky is a court-issued authorization to arrest someone suspected of criminal activity. The Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 431, provide the definitions and procedural framework of arrest warrants in the state. The law enforcement agency has the right to hunt down suspected individuals until they are apprehended, irrespective of whether they are at the time of the arrest. Clear documentation of probable cause in an affidavit precedes the request for an arrest warrant with the court of jurisdiction in Kentucky. When the sitting judge grants the warrant, such individuals get declared as wanted by the law enforcement agency.

Another type of arrest warrant is the fugitive warrant, in which case the suspected individual is on the run from one region/state to another. According to the Kentucky Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (KRS Chapter 440), a fugitive warrant gives the local enforcement agency of other states the right to arrest the involved party on behalf of the state of jurisdiction. Under this Act, the serving governor has the power to issue a fugitive warrant.

Kentucky Child Support Arrest Warrant: What You Need to Know

Child support is a court order in Kentucky. It instructs both parents about their roles and responsibilities towards the support of the child in question. Most times, the non-custodial parent has an order from the court to pay a fixed amount for support every month. When the party refuses to meet payments after six months without good reason, the law recognizes it as a class D felony (flagrant non-support). Even if there is a plausible reason for the delay, but non-payment has lingered for six months or above $1000 in arrears, it is a class A misdemeanor. For this reason, the court can issue a child support arrest warrant on the defaulting party. In Kentucky, the law imposes sanctions of fines on non-compliant parents after the authorities make the arrest. Some of these fines are:

  • One-year nonpayment of child support attracts a $500 penalty;
  • Above one year and up to five years attract 1000 to 10000 dollars fine;
  • Above five years attract non-optional imprisonment.

Kentucky Bench Warrants: Issuing and Arrests

A sitting judge issues a bench warrant in Kentucky to arrest persons found to have violated court rules. A typical example is where the party in question fails to appear in court as promised. There is a bit of a twist to the rules of a bench warrant in Kentucky:

  • A bench warrant does not require the exact aggressive search as a regular arrest warrant, but it is for an arrest, anyway.
  • The second feature of a bench warrant is that there is a 72-hour detention time frame. During this time, the arrested person must face the judge in court. Otherwise, the authorities must release the person. Parties may avoid detention by posting bail. Such parties must know that the acceptance of bail is at the instance of the court and not a right. It is especially true for cases where the law allows for bail as an option to detention. Some instances require mandatory detention, and will not matter if the arrested party posts bail. After the 72-hour timeframe expires and the party is yet to be brought before the judge, the law enforcement agents have no option other than to let go.

Failure to Appear in Kentucky: Rules and Consequences

Failure to appear (FTAs) in Kentucky violates court instructions to appear on a set date. Although there are many reasons for which a party may not make a court date, the state’s laws consider it contempt of court to miss an appearance. Failure to appear can compound an otherwise minor case, thus getting a default judgment. It could also leave the sitting judge with no option other than to include additional charges to the pending offense.

These additional charges usually result in the issuing of a bench warrant. Law enforcement authorities do not go out aggressively looking for their targets, as is the case with a regular arrest warrant. However, there are device alerts and surveillance networks that make it easy to track them down. When found, the individual could face one of these consequences:

  • A jail sentence and/or fine: The judge may order the individual to be jailed or fined if found guilty of contempt of court.
  • Revocation of bonds or review of terms of release: for example, parties who did not need to post bail may be required to do so after being charged with failure to appear. Otherwise, the judge can increase the amount of bail required or insist that the party remain in jail until the trial is complete.

Overall, failure to appear in court does not help the involved party in the case.

How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in Kentucky?

When an individual fails to appear in court on the scheduled date, the law of the state views it as a misdemeanor. According to KRS 431.005, the court deals with failure to appear in one of three ways:

  • The issuance of a bench warrant: the type of charges necessitating the court appearance will determine how long the offender will remain in custody. Serious offenses may require remanded in custody until the next date of trial.
  • Jail sentence: this may or may not be accompanied by fines. A jail term makes the overall penalty heavier, especially if the initial offense was not punishable by imprisonment.
  • Revocation of bonds or adjustments to conditions of release: upon conviction of failure to appear, the court may mandate the individual to post bail. Persons out on bail may have to pay more for their release. A third option is to keep the violator in jail until after trial.

Failure to Pay in Kentucky: How It Works

In the language of the courts, failure to pay borders on issues on court costs, fees, fines, and restitution. The court does not waive administrative costs involved in legal proceedings, even if it is part of a plea bargain. An exception is if the court decides upon a petition that the applying party is poor according to the State law. Otherwise, a party may be guilty of Failure to Pay if the court has issued a fine as a penalty for the defendant, but the person has refused to meet the payment. Another category is restitutions that penalized parties have failed to complete. KRS 534 060 provides the procedure for prosecuting a party that has not paid up fines within the required time frame:

  • First, the court must hold a hearing before imprisoning a person for failure to pay.
  • The defendant has a right to counsel.
  • The court must set out the prosecutor’s findings of the defendant's ability to pay and refusal to do so. If the defendant cannot pay under KRS 534. 060 (3), a court can convert the fines to jail time.
  • Alternatives to imprisonment may come into consideration. One of them is that the court may grant modifications to the existing payment plan by reducing installments or extending the time limit.
  • When converting fines to jail time, it must not exceed the maximum the law imposes for the offense. There are statutory limits such as six months’ failure to pay jail time for felonies, one-third of the maximum jail time for the misdemeanor, and ten days for a violation. The assessment of jail time as a replacement for failure to pay is according to the jail service credit formula (KRS 534.070). Once there is a sentence for failing to pay, the obligation to pay the fine is wiped off.
  • Other court measures according to the law KRS 533.030 (3). The court may sentence the defendant to probation until payment of restitution.

No-Knock Warrant in Kentucky: General Laws

A no-knock warrant in Kentucky authorizes law enforcement agents to conduct a search or seizure at the residence of persons suspected of a crime. In many cases, the crime under investigation qualifies the suspect, if convicted, as a violent offender. As the name implies, there is no form of permission required from the suspect or preliminary announcement before the police or sheriff can access the property for search or seizure. A classic feature of a no-knock warrant operation is a higher level of aggression on the part of the agency. Most times, it may become necessary to immobilize the suspect while the search is going on.

How to Perform a Federal Warrant Search

A requester can perform a federal warrant search at federal law enforcement agencies. For example, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) allows individuals to request records or information by providing various links that can help facilitate the search. Similarly, eligible individuals can use the Warrant Information System (WIN) the U.S. Marshal Service provides to search for federal warrants.

Does Kentucky DMV Check for Warrants?

Generally, the Kentucky DMV does not check for warrants. They do not use the Kentucky criminal warrant system, so they cannot run a warrant check on a person. However, warrants sometimes trigger driver’s license suspension, and the DMV may have a red flag in their system that will not allow people to receive a new license. The best bet is to have the warrant cleared before applying for or renewing a driver’s license.