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What Is a Warrant Number?

A warrant allows a police officer to arrest an individual without their consent.
Once a warrant has been issued by a judge, the information pertaining to it is entered into an electronic database.
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  • Written By: Jessica Saras
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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A warrant number is a unique identification number used in the law enforcement field. In the U.S., the warrant number is located on a court-ordered document known as a warrant. This sanctions a specified act that may otherwise be unconstitutional. If accused of a crime, for example, an arrest warrant gives police officers the authority to apprehend an individual without his or her consent. It can vary by location or country, but this code usually identifies warrants issued by the court or a member of law enforcement.

Other types of warrants include search warrants, which allow officers to search a person’s residence or other personal properties. Civil warrants are yet another example, and are usually issued when a person files a suit against another in small claims court. A third type is the bench warrant, a type of arrest order issued for a person who fails to appear for his or her scheduled court appearance.

U.S. warrant numbers usually consist of nine to eleven digits and/or letters. Once a warrant has been issued by a judge, the information pertaining to it is entered into an electronic database. This then assigns a unique number to the warrant, which can be used to track the status of all in the system. In general, law enforcement officers use warrant numbers to track and locate active, canceled, and void warrants.

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Many states rely on warrant management software to create, issue, and track orders in the system. In addition to the warrant number, such programs manage important data such as the defendant’s name, address, date of birth, gender, race, height and weight, and known aliases. The exact offense associated with the warrant is also documented for future use.

In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, a warrant number is used to identify police officers, rather than court warrants. Located on the officer’s identification card, or warrant card, the warrant number usually consists of eight digits. Warrant cards are used to verify an officer's authority, and typically contain information such name, rank, and warrant number. A photograph and/or signature may also be included on warrant cards in some jurisdictions.

An officer’s warrant number will often change if he or she moves to a different department, or is given a new rank. If a citizen requests to see an officer’s warrant card, the officer must usually provide his or her warrant number to the individual.

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Discuss this Article

anon965943
Post 5

How can I find out what the warrant clause is? I need the number to find out what it's for.

anon958015
Post 4

When an officer hands you the first page of four with no name, no address, no items to be searched for, no warrant number, no district attorney's signature and a biased judge, who do you complain to?

anon246328
Post 3

On one warrant number, can two people be arrested? Two different people, one warrant number?

Monika
Post 2

@JaneAir - It's interesting to think of the police force in terms of paperwork! I always imagine most police work involves shoot outs, car chases, and kicking down doors. However, I'm sure someone has to fill out the paperwork after all the excitement is over!

JaneAir
Post 1

Luckily, the only experience I have with warrants comes from watching Law and Order. I suppose I should have guessed that all warrants had some sort of number attached to them.

When you're dealing with any kind of bureaucracy, I feel like it's safe to assume that some sort of numbering system well be involved. I'm sure the bureaucrats involved are much happier since the advent of computerized systems for keeping track of the warrants though.

However, I deal with computer databases at my job, and sometimes they are incorrect. I hope the police check all their information twice before they make their arrests!

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