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North Dakota Warrant Records

What is a Warrant in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, a warrant is an authorization or order issued by a competent judicial officer, typically a judge or a magistrate authorizing law enforcement agents to arrest, detain, search and seize the properties or individuals named on the warrant. The court issues warrants as required in judicial processes to aid the execution of law and administration of justice. Law enforcement agents such as sheriffs, policemen, and others execute warrants in North Dakota.

Depending on the requirements of each judicial process, there are different types of warrants that North Dakota Courts issue. Common examples are arrest warrants, search warrants, and bench warrants. Other types of warrants include tax warrants, child support arrest warrants, and capias warrants. The law requires requesting law enforcement agents to demonstrate probable cause or sufficient grounds to the court before the court issues a warrant.

Law enforcement agents may find sufficient grounds in the process of investigating a case. This could include suspicion of criminal activity or failure to appear in court. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” therefore, any unauthorized action would constitute an infringement of the individual’s rights.

How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in North Dakota?

North Dakota courts and law enforcement agents do not issue warrant notifications. Therefore, it is possible for a person to be unaware of outstanding warrants issued against them. A person who wants to find out if they have outstanding warrants issued against them may conduct North Dakota warrant searches in the following ways:

  • Criminal history records requests
  • Government registry search, including county and sheriff websites
  • Third-party registries and databases

Criminal history records contain a person’s criminal history, including any outstanding warrants. An individual may request criminal history records from North Dakota’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) by submitting a completed request form. Each request costs $15, payable as money orders or checks - the BCI does not accept cash payments. The BCI processes criminal history record checks and requests within seven (7) to ten (10) business days.

Any interested party may also conduct a North Dakota warrant search through the North Dakota Courts Records Inquiry website. This government database provides information on active warrants in the state. Requesting parties may search for records by county, case, date filed, and case party names. Some counties, sheriff’s departments, and local police departments also provide search portals and databases to the public. An example of this is the Bismark police department. Arrest warrants are public records; therefore, interested parties may search third-party websites and databases for information on active warrants.Interested parties may also contact the court of clerk in the county where the party lives to find out if they have outstanding warrants.

Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:

  • The personal information of the alleged suspect
  • Information regarding the issuing officer
  • The location where the warrant was issued.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, a warrant’s active period depends on the type. Most types of warrants do not expire even after the statutes of limitation for the offense have passed or the subject has died. This is so in order to discourage individuals with warrants from willfully disregarding the warrants or the court orders. These types of warrants will only cease to exist if the court recalls the warrant or the subject resolves the warrant.

Some other types of warrants have validity periods. Examples are search warrants and Ramey warrants. The court sets the validity period for the return of such warrants; it could be anywhere from ten (10) to 90 days. Law enforcement agents can no longer execute expired or inactive warrants. However, the court can reissue expired warrants if probable cause still exists.

Waiting out a warrant may lead to unexpected arrests, driver’s licenses suspension, and other consequences. It is best for persons who have outstanding warrants to resolve the warrants as soon as possible.

What is a North Dakota Search Warrant?

A North Dakota search warrant is a court order issued by a judge or a magistrate; the order authorizes the bearer, typically a law enforcement agent, such as a peace officer, to search the property or residence named on the warrant for a person or evidence. The court issues search warrants in connection to particular crimes if the court determines that there is probable cause. Before the court issues a search warrant, the requesting officer must demonstrate sufficient grounds to search the property or seize evidence. The officer must also present an affidavit or a recorded sworn statement to the court.

According to the North Dakota rules of criminal procedure (Rule 41), the court may issue a search warrant if the following conditions exist:

  • The property contains criminal evidence, criminal possessions, or contraband.
  • The person on the property is unlawfully detained, or there is probable cause for the person’s arrest.
  • The property has been used or is intended for use in committing a crime
  • The property is evidence of a crime

A search warrant identifies the person or property who is the subject of the search. North Dakota search warrants have an expiry period of ten (10) days. However, if the designated peace officer does not execute a search warrant within ten (10) days, the court may re-issue the warrant if the court determines that probable cause still exists.

What Can Make a North Dakota Search Warrant Invalid?

There are a few things that can make a North Dakota search warrant invalid. If the requesting officer does not establish probable cause or demonstrate sufficient grounds, the warrant may become invalid. North Dakota has specific guidelines that law enforcement agents must follow in the request, execution, and return of a search warrant. For example, North Dakota search warrants may only be executed in the daytime unless the court grants an exception.

Law enforcement agents must also execute search warrants within ten days. Any action outside the warrant’s specifications may render the warrant invalid and a search unlawful. Evidence obtained from unlawful searches and seizures may be inadmissible in court. Additionally, aggrieved defendants may petition the court to return or dismiss evidence obtained from unlawful searches.

What is an Arrest Warrant in North Dakota?

An arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement agents to arrest and detain persons named on the warrant. North Dakota courts typically issue arrest warrants in connection with criminal offenses. The court issues arrest warrants if it determines that there is probable cause. A requesting officer must provide evidence to the court that the court will use to determine whether there is probable cause. The officer must also accompany the complaint with an affidavit.

According to North Dakota’s Rules of Criminal Procedure, only judges or magistrates may issue arrest warrants, and only peace officers may execute arrest warrants in the state. A valid North Dakota arrest warrant must contain the following information:

  • The magistrate’s office title and signature
  • The county and date of issue
  • The defendant’s name or a reasonable description of the defendant
  • The offense or reason for the arrest
  • A command that the defendant be brought before the nearest court
  • Bail amount where applicable

In some cases, law enforcement agents may execute arrests without warrants. Examples of such cases include:

  • When the court has issued an arrest warrant for the defendant’s arrest and another law enforcement agent is in possession of the warrant.
  • When the defendant commits an offense in the arresting officer’s presence
  • When there is probable cause for the arresting officer to believe that the defendant has committed a crime.

Informalities in North Dakota arrest warrants will not lead to a dismissal or release of the defendant. However, the court or law enforcement agents may update the warrant to amend the informalities.

What is a Child Support Arrest Warrant in North Dakota?

North Dakota courts issue child support arrest warrants when a parent defaults on child support payment. Child support arrest warrants can be civil or criminal. The court issues civil child support arrest warrants when a parent is found in contempt of court. If the court finds that a parent willfully defaulted on child support payments or failed to appear at a child support hearing, the parent may be found to be in contempt of court. Typically, the penalties for contempt include fines, jail terms, and possible license suspension.

North Dakota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) posts lists of parents found in contempt of court. The court may also issue criminal arrest warrants for parents who willfully default on child support payments. Criminal non-support is a felony in North Dakota. Parents found guilty of criminal non-support in North Dakota may face up to $5000 in fines and up to five (5) years in prison. The DHS also posts the names of such parents on its website.

What is a North Dakota Bench Warrant?

A North Dakota bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant that the court issues for failure to appear in court. According to North Dakota Rules of Court 6.6, the court issues bench warrants to individuals who violate court appearance orders, subpoenas, or otherwise fail to attend scheduled court hearings. In North Dakota, peace officers execute bench warrants. Typically, a bench warrant directs the executing officer to arrest the defendant and bring the person before the court at a specified time. The court may issue bench warrants for infractions, misdemeanors, and felony offenses.

Apart from judges and magistrates, court clerks may issue bench warrants in North Dakota. Given that law enforcement agents may execute bench warrants in the same way as arrest warrants anywhere in the state, persons with bench warrants need to seek resolution as soon as possible. Such persons may contact criminal defense attorneys for help in resolving the warrants.

In North Dakota, What is Failure to Appear?

In North Dakota, if a person fails to respond to a court summons or as a case party (defendant) at a scheduled court hearing, the court will issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. The court also issues warrants for the arrest of persons who fail to appear as witnesses. While failure to appear does not automatically result in a criminal charge, it can result in a criminal conviction in North Dakota. The court may penalize failure to appear with fines or a warning. However, if the court determines that the concerned party willfully ignored the court’s order, the penalty may be more significant. The court may issue criminal arrest warrants for persons who:

  • Fail to appear after bail or bond
  • Fail to appear as witnesses
  • Fail to appear in criminal hearings

How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in North Dakota?

Willfully ignoring a summons, court order, or subpoena is a crime in North Dakota. The length of the jail sentence a person serves for missing court depends on the circumstances or grounds on which the court issued the arrest warrant. For example, failure to appear as a witness is a Class A misdemeanor in North Dakota. According to NDCC t12.1c32, the maximum jail term for a Class A misdemeanor is 360 days.

However, if the court releases a person on bail in connection with a felony, failure to appear is a Class C felony. Failure to appear is also a felony if the person jumps bail while awaiting sentencing. The maximum amount of time a person can stay in jail for a Class C felony in North Dakota is five (5) years.

In North Dakota, What is Failure to Pay?

When a person defaults on court-ordered fees, the court may issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. Failure to pay is a type of bench warrant that authorizes law enforcement agents to arrest persons who fail to make payments such as fines and other court-ordered fees. While the court does not penalize financially destitute persons, willful default may result in a criminal conviction. Failure to pay may result in a contempt of court or misdemeanor charge, which the court may penalize with jail terms, additional fines, or license suspension.

What is a No-Knock Warrant in North Dakota?

A no-knock warrant authorizes the bearer to enter or search a property or residence without knocking, ringing the doorbell, or otherwise notifying the occupants of the property. According to NDCC 19-03.1-32, North Dakota issues no-knock warrants under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act if the court has reason to believe that:

  • Giving notice may endanger the executing officer’s life
  • Notice may give the occupants time to dispose of the property being sought

However, upon entry into the property, the executing officer must identify themselves and state the purpose of entry as soon as possible.