From time to time, people call me because they want to know if a warrant has been issued for their arrest. I usually tell them that if they are concerned enough about it to make a round of calls to local criminal-defense attorneys, then they probably do!
Then I tell them that most jurisdictions do not post that information online or distribute it in any kind of publicly available way. Bench warrants for missing court and warrants for violating probation or for violating court orders might be an exception—a fair amount of the time, those are public record. But if it’s a warrant for something new, the best way to really know for sure is to go down to the warrants division of the county jail and ask.
There are still plenty of reasons why you should call a criminal-defense attorney if you feel like you might be the subject of a police investigation. A lawyer can advise you on what to expect if you are arrested. They can give you an idea of what charges might be brought and what possible punishments they can carry. They can tell you what the process is for getting in front of a judge to have bond set for your release. They can do important legwork ahead of time that may help in the early stages of your case, such as at a bond hearing or a preliminary hearing. Sometimes, an attorney might be able to reach out to an investigating officer to learn more about the status of your situation, and if an arrest is inevitable, they can at least see if bond can be negotiated and set in advance.
One thing is for sure: do not accept the invitation to sit down for an interview with an investigating officer without having spoken to a lawyer ahead of time. If you are innocent, do not assume that having the truth on your side will mean anything to an officer who has already made up their mind about what happened and is just trying to make their job easier by twisting an incriminating statement out of you to supplement whatever evidence they think they already have.
Every case is different, and you shouldn’t take the word of a friend or anything you read on the internet as the gospel for what might happen with you. There is no substitute for calling a criminal-defense lawyer and speaking with someone who deals with these situations for a living.
If you think you might need to call a lawyer, you probably do. I welcome you to call my office to set up a time for a free and confidential consultation.