Louisiana Court Records
Louisiana Warrant Search
Warrants are an official order authorizing a member of law enforcement to take a particular action. The most common warrants issued by the Louisiana courts are those obtained by police officers in the course of criminal investigation and bench warrants for failure to appear in court. Louisiana law enforcement agencies process over 2,000 warrants in a month. These warrants are usually recorded in the agencies' systems, which makes warrant searches possible for members of the public.
A Louisiana warrant search is the process of retrieving information about active or outstanding warrants issued by judges in Louisiana. Requesters can contact parish sheriff's offices, city courts, or city/town police departments to conduct warrant lookups. These law enforcement agencies disseminate warrants in compliance with the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure public safety. Different people conduct warrant searches in Louisiana for various reasons. For example:
- Law enforcement agencies can request warrant records to track the warrant status of all Louisiana fugitives. This aids in investigation and apprehension.
- Individuals can conduct a warrant lookup to inquire about the existence of a warrant in their name. This helps them to resolve a warrant before it escalates.
- Lenders conduct warrant searches on people to determine if the person can repay potential loans.
- Potential spouses conduct warrant searches on their partners to determine if the person's past can affect their future.
- Family members whose relatives are missing can conduct a warrant lookup to know if the person has been arrested.
Louisiana citizens are advised not to contact a person with an active warrant because they may be armed or dangerous. Instead, they can submit a tip to the agency to report the person's whereabouts.
Are Warrants Public Records in Louisiana?
Yes. The Louisiana Public Records Law states that no members of the public should be denied the right to inspect, copy, or reproduce warrant information except otherwise specified by law. Some warrant information open to the public includes the subject's name, mugshot, warrant number, date, and type, issuing agency, category, date of birth, race, sex, height, age, weight, offense description, and amount owed. However, not all warrant information is open to the public. Most law enforcement agencies redact sensitive information from warrant records that might affect ongoing investigations or reveal the identity of confidential sources before public disclosure. Additionally, warrants issued against a juvenile are confidential information in Louisiana.
Types of Warrants in Louisiana
Louisiana Courts issue different types of warrants to law enforcement officers to execute their duties. The most common are:
- Bench warrant: This is issued when a person fails to appear at a hearing after proper notice was given. It is usually issued for minor offenses like traffic violations or failure to meet probation or parole conditions. A bench warrant allows a police officer to arrest the person named on the warrant and bring them before the judge.
- Search warrant: This court-sanctioned document permits law enforcement officers to search an individual's property for evidence of criminal activity.
- Arrest warrant: This is issued by a judge to a police officer to arrest a person based on the affidavit of probable cause. It authorizes the police officer to arrest and detain the person named in the warrant.
- No-knock warrant: This is a warrant issued by a district court judge that allows police officers to enter a property without notifying the residents by ringing a doorbell or knocking.
What is a Search Warrant in Louisiana?
Louisiana law (CCRP 161) allows a judge to issue warrants authorizing the search for and seizure of any property within the court's territorial jurisdiction. Such authority is given when a property is the subject of theft, has been or intended to be used to commit an offense, or may constitute evidence to prove the commission of a crime. Louisiana judges only issue search warrants when the affidavit of a credible person has established probable cause. A search warrant describes explicitly the place or person to be searched, the persons or properties to be seized, and the legal reason for the search or seizure (CCRP 162).
Per CCRP 163, a search warrant cannot be executed during the nighttime or on Sunday except otherwise stated in the warrant. The CCRP 165 permits police officers to lift fingerprints, seize properties that prove the commission of an offense, and take photographs while executing search warrants. A receipt that describes the property sized by a police officer must be given to the person from whom the property was taken or left in the place where the seizure occurred if the property owner is absent (CCRP 166). Properties seized due to a search warrant are usually retained under the judge's direction. Such property will be legally disposed of if they are no longer needed as evidence as directed by the judge (CCRP 167).
How Long Does It Take to Get a Search Warrant in Louisiana?
Louisiana law does not explicitly state the timeframe required to obtain search warrants from a judge. The only guarantee is that search warrants will be issued immediately if a police officer can establish probable cause to the satisfaction of the judge. Typically, a search warrant can be obtained in minutes or hours.
What is an Arrest Warrant in Louisiana?
According to CCRP 202, magistrates issue arrest warrants when they have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the accused person committed it. An arrest warrant can also be issued if the person making the complaint executes an affidavit with specific details of the crime (the nature, place, and date of the crime and the offender and victim's full name, if known). Arrest warrants are issued to police officers and can only be executed in the territorial jurisdiction where they have authority (CCRP 204). Per CCRP 203, an arrest warrant must be in writing and command that the suspect or offender against whom the complaint was made be arrested and booked. It must include:
- The charges against the arrestee
- The signature of the magistrate
- Amount of bail (optional)
- The issuance date and municipality or parish
- The name of the arrestee. The police officer can designate the suspect/offender by any name or identifiable description if the arrestee's name is unknown.
An arrest warrant does not have an expiry date (CCRP 205). In Louisiana, an arrest warrant cannot be revoked because of any defect in the warrant. However, the warrant may be amended to remedy the defect (CCRP 206).
Arrest Warrant Lookup in Louisiana
Louisiana does not have a statewide portal for conducting arrest warrant lookups. Each local law enforcement agency has its own methods of disseminating arrest warrants to the public per the Louisiana Public Records Law. Generally, individuals should be able to find arrest warrant information online, by email, by phone, or in person at law enforcement agency offices. Below are ways of finding arrest warrant records based on the law enforcement agency:
- Few parish sheriff's offices in Louisiana have online portals where individuals can conduct an arrest warrant search. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office (LPSO) has a Warrant Portal where requesters can look up arrest warrants. The search criteria are by name, race, or sex. However, most law enforcement agencies provide phone numbers and emails on their websites, which requesters can use to contact them to request copies of arrest warrant records. For example, individuals can conduct an arrest warrant lookup at the St. Mary Parrish Sheriff's Office Warrant Division by calling (337) 907-0407 or (337) 907-0408.
- City police departments also do arrest warrant lookups online, by phone, or by email. The requester must provide specific details about the warrant to process the request.
- Most City Marshal Departments in Louisiana have warrant lists on their websites. This helps individuals to conduct warrant lookups without paying a dime. For example, the Pineville City Marshal has a Warrant List from 2015 to 2022.
Typically, an individual can walk into a record custodian's office to look up arrest warrants during office hours. A name, warrant ID, or warrant date may be required to process the search.
How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant in Louisiana
Depending on the law enforcement agency maintaining the record, there are different ways of determining if a person has a warrant in Louisiana. Individuals can check the following agencies to find out if they have a warrant through:
- City courts: Individuals can find out if a warrant has been issued in their name at the city court where their case is handled. Typically, warrant information can be retrieved online, by phone, or in person at the City Court's Criminal Traffic Division. For example, the Baton Rouge City Court provides access to warrant records through its Warrant Lookup tool. The requester's full name or portions are required to search. Also, individuals can contact the Criminal Traffic Division via email or call (225) 389-5278 to inquire if they have a warrant. Note that warrant information is also included in court records. Therefore, record seekers can request a court record to know if a warrant has been issued in their names.
- Parish sheriff's offices: Another way of finding if a warrant has been issued in a person's name is to check the sheriff's office in the parish where a person lives or is arrested. Warrant information can be retrieved online, by phone, email, or in person at a sheriff's office's warrant division or section. For example, the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office (CPSO) Warrants Division provides a Warrant Listing on its website where individuals can find active warrants.
- City or town police department: Individuals can contact the city or town police departments in their area, asking them to check their systems for active warrants issued in their names. For example, requests can contact the Alexandria Police Department's Warrant Division by phone (318) 441-6468 or email (email@example.com) to inquire about thier warrant information.
- City Marshal offices: Individuals can also find their warrant information online, by phone, by email, or in person at marshal offices in their cities. For example, the Lafayette City Marshal's office lists outstanding warrants on its website.
- Louisiana State Police (LSP): Individuals can request their criminal history record (which includes information about any warrant issued in their name) from the LSP's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information. Requests can be made online, by mail, or in person from Monday to Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. copies of criminal history records cost $26.
Free Warrant Search in Louisiana
Most law enforcement agencies in Louisiana permit warrant searches for free. These free services are only available to requesters online, by phone, email, or in person. Requesters must be willing to provide a name, warrant number, or issuing date to initiate the search.
Alternatively, inquirers may utilize third-party aggregate site which compile resources from various government-run repositories. It is worth noting that the information obtained from these sources is typically limited. Most aggregate sites require users to pay a one-time fee or monthly subscription to access detailed information.
How to Find Out If Someone Has A Warrant Online
Most law enforcement agencies in Louisiana have online portals where interested persons can determine if someone has a warrant. These online portals are available on the websites of city courts, police departments, and parish sheriff's offices in Louisiana. The search criteria are name, warrant type, race, sex, or date. Alternatively, individuals can retrieve warrant information from third-party databases. Like most government repositories, the subject's first name, last name, or state may be required to conduct the search. However, most third-party vendors charge a small fee for extensive searches.
How Long Do Warrants Last in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the validity of a warrant varies with the type and purpose of the warrant. A bench warrant does not expire until it's been answered in court or recalled by the judge who issued it. Similarly, an arrest warrant remains in effect until executed (La.C.Cr.P. 205). Conversely, a search warrant expires 10 days after its issuance. However, a warrant authorizing the search of a person for bodily samples and seizure of medical records expires 180 days from the day it was issued (CCRP 163.1 and CCRP 163.2).