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  • Do Warrants show up on a police check?

    If statutory authorities like the police receive a warrant bearing your name and details, the Police can be legally empowered to;

    • Search your home,
    • Enter your property without your consent,
    • Seize any item in connection to that of the Warrant, or
    • Close a particular property or residence, depending on the details of the warrant.

    The Police can not do any of these unless the Court or the law empowers them through a warrant. The Court will usually issue a warrant where it is legally appropriate or relevant to settling a matter.

    The Court does not issue a warrant lightly. The Magistrate will only issue a warrant with solid suspicion, indictment or evidence leading to personal or private property.

    Disregarding, attacking, blocking or attempting any of these against an officer with a warrant is a criminal offence.

    Does a Warrant show up on a Police Check?

    The type of warrant the court issues against you determines whether it appears on your Police Check or not.

    An arrest warrant may appear on your criminal records and Police Check, especially if it is for an indictable crime.

    Recall that a Warrant is a statement that gives an authorised statutory body permission to carry out any of the acts stated. It is not a definitive proof of guilt, so it is uncertain as to how all types of Warrants may appear on a Criminal record.

    A warrant is not;

    • A finding of guilt, or
    • Equal to a court conviction on a matter (even if the Warrant was issued during a proceeding).

    Therefore, nothing makes the Warrant itself a criminal finding or indictment.

    An Arrest Warrant based on probable evidence for a Criminal Offence may show up on a criminal background check depending on the State or Territory's information release policies. Also, the Arrest Warrant may only show up after it has been executed by the police. Other types of Warrants (Bench Warrant, Civil Warrant, Search Warrant, etc.) will not show up on a national criminal history check.

    It should be noted that although a Warrant may not necessarily show up on a police check, pending criminal charges before a Court do show up on a police check. Therefore, pending criminal charges that are associated with a Warrant will show up on a police check.

    Does a Warrant show in other Checks?

    There are a few other types of Checks in Australia, although not as popular as the national criminal history check.

    Some of these checks may reveal the details of a person's Court Warrants if they are related to criminal offences;

    • Working with Children Check / Working with Vulnerable people Check (these checks are conducted by authorised State or Territory government screening units).

    What does a Police Check disclose?

    A Police Check will only disclose details of disclosable court orders in the person's criminal records. It means that infractions, community orders, tickets and civil warrants will not show in a Police Check since there was no court recording or hearing for a criminal offence.

    Therefore, these are the kind of offences a person can expect on their national criminal history check certificate;

    What is the purpose of a warrant?

    The Court warrant is a legal order that allows law operatives to embark on helpful duties for justice. Depending on the matter, the Warrant can be issued by a Registrar, Magistrate or Judge. The type of warrant may also allow the Police to;


    Arrest the person

    The Court may issue an arrest warrant where it is necessary to bring a person under custody. Keeping the person under custody may be to;

    • Make them answer a court summons or charge,
    • Prevent them from causing further havoc or menace,
    • Where it is necessary to do so for a case.

    Enter a property

    Where the Court receives an application that;

    • A place or property is an aid for crime, or
    • Necessary to investigate, the Court,
    • Breaches the State laws,

    The Court may issue a warrant that permits the Police to enter the property.


    Closure or seizure warrants

    The Court can empower the Police to seize or close off a property if it is convinced by such applications. A place may be closed off for;

    • Investigation,
    • To prevent/stop a crime,
    • To aid an investigation, or
    • Other reasons the court deems satisfactory under the law.

    The various types of Arrest warrants

    However, there are different types of arrest warrants the Court can issue. The kind of Warrant given can vary based on the stage of prosecution and court hearings. The factors that relate to the matter will determine if the arrest warrant is for;


    1. Pre-Court Warrant for arrest

    The Magistrate will issue such warrants where the Police find it difficult to locate a person for their charge. The arrest warrant allows the Police to search and remand the person if they find them.

    A pre-court arrest warrant will appear in a Police Check and Police records of the bearer. These warrants may empower the Police to use all means to investigate the whereabouts of the person.

    A registrar or other authorised officer of the law can issue such warrants.


    1. Arrest warrants for failure to appear before the Court

    The Court will issue a warrant against a person if they fail to appear in Court for a hearing after they are formally charged. It also includes where the person has been unable to show up on any other hearing days issued by the Court.

    These warrants can only be issued by a Magistrate or a Judge, depending on where the matter is heard.

    However, these warrants preclude cases where the person is on bail and has a reasonable excuse not to appear.


    1. Arrest warrants for breach of bonds or other programs

    It is common for a Magistrate to commit an offender on a more lenient bond or program instead of full sentencing. If the Court imposes any of these alternative orders, they will impose certain conditions which the offender must satisfy. Breaching or faulting any of the states in these orders will result in the Court issuing a warrant against you. Although the Court may issue a summon first before a warrant. Such warrants are either issued by the Magistrate or the Registrar.

    An arrest warrant for a breach of a bond may count against you in Court for the offence hearing. The prosecutor may reference it as your tendency to disregard the law and the courts.


    1. Arrest warrants for intervention Orders

    The Court will issue a warrant if it considers it necessary to bring a defendant to Court for a restriction order.

    The Magistrate or Registrar may also issue that the person remains in custody for the duration of the hearing. Regarding the safety of the protected person, the Court can issue a warrant for the Police to arrest or remand a person.


    1. An arrest warrant for correction of a sentence

    The Magistrate or Judge may issue a warrant for a person to appear for a correction proceeding. If the Court is convinced that the person will not appear before the Court through a court summons, it will issue a court warrant.

    The Police will arrest such persons (bearer of warrants) and remand them in custody until the court hearing.

    How does a Court issue a Warrant?

    The Court does not issue a warrant for every application or every matter before it. The Court must consider many factors, circumstances, costs, needs before issuing a warrant.

    Issuing a warrant against a person can be costly for the State or Territory, especially where the person intentionally avoids the law. It means the State or Territory will direct judicial resources to implement the Warrant.

    The Court will only issue a warrant;

    • Under the directives and guidance of the various legislations for the State or Territory,
    • When it is convinced as the only way forward.

    What happens when the Court issues a Warrant?

    When the Court completes the proceedings;

    • It validates the Warrant for the person, and
    • The records are updated on the court database. Also, there are specific Police officers that locate and implement details of these warrants.

    The implementation of the Warrant may allow the officer to;

    • Conduct surveillance,
    • Tail the bearer or any of their close acquaintances,
    • Monitor all residences, addresses and movements around the premises,
    • Enter a premise and lock it off from public use.

    Furthermore, an officer conducting a routine check on a person’s identity or records (Traffic records, DUI checks, tickets, and so on);

    • Will receive a system notification, and
    • Such a law enforcement officer may detain the suspect on the spot.

    What happens when the Police locate the Subject of a warrant?

    If the Police locate the bearer of the Warrant, depending on the conditions stated on the Warrant they will;

    • Place them under arrest,
    • Convey them to the Police stations or office,
    • Remand them until they appear before a court.

    The Subject of a warrant before a Magistrate

    When the person (bearer of the Warrant) is before the Magistrate, they can apply for bail. The Court can decide to;

    • Grant them bail under the bail legislation of the jurisdiction, or
    • Refuse their bail applications after they consider the relevant factors.

    Does a Court warrant affect me?

    A court warrant can affect anyone seriously. It may influence further court decisions about you (especially in a criminal hearing). You may be barred from travelling or migrating from a place if you have a warrant in your records.

    How can I obtain a national criminal history check?

    Individuals

    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process for approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal record check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

    Sources

    Judicial Commission of New South Wales (Warrants for arrest in criminal proceedings in the Local Court) - https://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/publications/benchbks/local/warrants_for_arrest_in_criminal_preceedings.html

    Legal Aid Queensland (Warrants) - https://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Find-legal-information/Criminal-justice/Police-and-your-rights/Warrants

    Legal Services Commission of South Australia (Warrants) - https://lsc.sa.gov.au/dsh/print/ch07.php

    Government of Western Australia, Department of Justice (Search Warrants) - https://www.justice.wa.gov.au/_files/cts/CTS-jp-factsheet-7-search-warrants.pdf

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