“In an interesting twist to the police being one step ahead of offenders with outstanding arrest warrants, people are now able to search online for their own active arrest warrants,” indicated Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, of Austin, Texas, with offices in Dallas and Houston.
Being able to search online for an active arrest warrant certainly gives new meaning to the term “too much information.” Imagine finding out that the traffic ticket which was never paid way back when, went to a bench warrant. Now this could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view, as the police have the same information.
This means that if a person thinks they have an outstanding ticket and wants to deal with it and get it off his or her driving record, they need to know the status of the ticket. “Finding this out online will avoid the inevitable arrest if courthouse records are searched instead,” said Wannamaker.
There doesn’t have to be a lot of money spent to find out if there are outstanding tickets either. Many of the online search sites happen to be free, so don’t be attracted to the expensive sites that charge for searching a police site; when for zero investment, another site will provide the same information.
Taking this kind of search one step further, it is not too difficult to imagine that in the future the general public will be able to search for even more information than just online warrants. In fact, even today there are some sites that will allow people to search for arrests and convictions.
“This kind of information floating around on the Internet is a major concern to attorneys who realize this is a direct violation of a person’s right to privacy,” indicated Wannamaker. The biggest concern is that the records may not be up-to-date, and there is no guarantee of accuracy either. “It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see what might happen if an online site has an outstanding warrant for a particular offense (say for instance, unpaid traffic tickets) but not the updated fact that the offender paid the fine two weeks ago,” explained Wannamaker.
This whole area of criminal information, charges, dispositions, etc. on the Internet is highly controversial and many attorneys would rather this kind of information be kept away from the general public who has no experience in correctly interpreting the charges or the disposition of them.
“As with anything dealing with the legal system, everything is relative to the circumstances of the case and any criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in this area will tell you a case may change on the drop of a dime,” added Wannamaker.
Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.