If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you should never wait to address the consequences. A warrant can lead to arrest and trial for a crime. Any background check run after a warrant is executed might show the arrest, potentially hurting your chances of being hired for a job or qualifying for admission to a college. If a warrant is pending against you, talk to an attorney immediately. Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych further explain when a warrant will show up on a background check, and whether you are safe from out of state warrants.

Do Arrest Warrants Appear in Background Checks?

What shows up in a background check depends on a lot of different factors. First, whoever is running the background check may have certain goals in mind and may limit their search. This could mean looking only for things like violent crimes, which would ignore other types of crime. The search may also have limited depth. For instance, some background checks may only look for felony-level convictions, which means they will only look for “indictable crimes” (the term New Jersey uses for “felonies) and will only look for convictions. This would ignore any pending indictments or any convictions for disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors).

Another important factor in what shows up in your background check is where the person running the check looks. Background checks are performed in a number of different ways. Software used by many HR departments and other similar groups may run a basic check of your criminal record that does not show anything besides convictions and may ignore minor offenses. More serious investigations run by experts may dig up records from multiple sources, including your driving record, your criminal record, and court records for pending cases. This will show not only any convictions you faced but also any traffic tickets or drunk driving charges you face, as well as any civil cases pending against you.

Many of these records are public record, but some things, like traffic records, may require your approval before they can run a search.

Are Warrants from Other States on My Criminal Record in New Jersey?

Whether a warrant on your criminal record shows in a background check typically depends on who is looking for the warrant and where they are looking.

When police run a search for warrants, they may search multiple systems for outstanding warrants. If there is a warrant for your arrest or a bench warrant from New Jersey, this will usually appear on a warrant check run by a New Jersey officer. However, many police databases also check interstate systems where warrants can be reported. If there is a record of a warrant from another state, it will likely appear on this check.

Police can arrest you using an out of state warrant and hold you until the court can extradite you. This means that even if the warrant is from another state, you can be arrested by local or state police in NJ. The court will hold an extradition hearing, make sure that you are the person named on the warrant, and let the issuing state come to collect you for transfer.

If someone other than a police officer or government agency is running a search for outstanding out of state warrants, they may not appear. Warrants that have already been issued and carried out may show as part of your criminal record. That means that if you were arrested and convicted of a crime, there might be an entry for the arrest and an entry for the conviction. But if the warrant is outstanding, it may not be registered on your criminal record. Instead, this would be registered as part of the court’s record from when the judge approved the arrest warrant or bench warrant. These records may be harder to find, and many investigations may not look for these records.

For someone to find a criminal record in another state, they must also run a background check of that state’s records. This means that if someone is running a background check in New Jersey, they will typically only see your New Jersey criminal record. Unless they intentionally broaden their search to look in other states and the federal system, they may not see any records from other states, let alone the court records where outstanding warrants may be found.

However, just because warrants or records may be difficult to find does not relieve you of your obligation to tell people about certain offenses. Some laws or policies may require you to disclose an arrest, indictment, or conviction for certain offenses, especially sex crimes. Even without a legal obligation, the person running the background check may ask you to disclose arrests, then run the background check to double-check your story. If they catch you in a lie, that could also hurt your chances of acceptance.

Our Atlantic City Criminal Defense Lawyers Offer Free Consultations

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, has an outstanding warrant, or has questions about their criminal record, they should speak with our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys today. Our attorneys may be able to seek expungement of your criminal record or help you get charges dropped and dismissed to take care of outstanding warrants. Call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today to schedule a free legal consultation. Our number is (609) 616-4956.