The release of active warrants in Virginia is governed by the State Criminal Code section19.2-71 which describes these directives as judicial processes that are issued in response to a writ filed by the police with a local tribunal. The authority to issue these orders is vested in judges and magistrates and clerks of court.
Any circuit, general district or juvenile domestic relations district court can grant these judicial decrees as provided by section10-2-26. However, no magistrate can issue an active warrant if the complaint on which the release of the order is to be based is filed by anybody else other than an officer of law. If the complaint is brought forth by a civilian and it has no role of a police officer in it, a criminal summons will be issued in lieu of a warrant.
If this order of appearance is disobeyed, the issue of an active warrant will follow. Also, law enforcement officers are prohibited from seeking arrest orders in cases where capital punishment may be applicable unless they have the authorization of an attorney working on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The execution of Virginia arrest warrants
While explaining the rule on which the issue of these orders is based, it is also imperative to state that arrest warrants are rarely recalled. In fact, the failure to comply with any of the laws pertaining to the issue of these orders does not render the warrant invalid. In other words, the police as well as judicial officers are given some leeway as far as the release of these directives is concerned.
Yet, it is mandatory for all agencies involved in the task of issuing arrest warrants to meet the probable cause requirement before the order can be granted to the police. No degree of laxness is allowed on this front because a warrant which is issued without the establishment of probable cause stands in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Once an active warrant has been released police leave no stone unturned to serve it. In fact, the specific authority granted to law enforcement agents under the provisions of the order are meant to facilitate speedy detention. So, when working with a warrant, police officers can walk into private homes, properties, public places, other counties and states at any time and even years after the issue of the arrest warrant in order to nab the accused.
Seeking information on arrest warrants from Virginia
The VSP (Virginia State Police) offers two options to look for details on arrest records and active warrants. You can file form SP-167 or SP-230, depending on the applicant category that you fall in. As an individual or a private establishment interested in crime history information, you will, have to go with SP-167 and contend with partial information pertaining to the issue of warrants in the name of your subject.
In contrast, when you initiate a SP-230 inquiry, you will be given access to complete crime history; the same amount of information will be offered as that given to law enforcement and non-justice state agencies. However, this facility is only available to employers and entities that have the statutory right to access crime history data.
Inquiries under this provision can be initiated by furnishing personal identifiers of the subject or fingerprint cards. If the latter is needed, there will be an additional fee of $13 over the $15 charge which will have to be incurred for the warrant search. Forms for the can be sent to:
The Department of State PoliceP.O. Box 85076Richmond, VA 23261
A simpler way to find out about outstanding warrants from Virginia is to check out the most wanted list posted on the websites of the some of the local sheriffs' departments at:
- City of Danville: http://www.danville-va.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=171
- Newport County: http://www.nngov.com/499/Active-Outstanding-Warrants
- City of Norfolk: http://www.norfolk.gov/Index.aspx?NID=312
- Roanoke County:http://www.roanokecountyva.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1882
- Hanover County: www.hanovercounty.gov.