What is an Arrest Warrant?
A Kansas arrest warrant is a legal document signed by a judge authorizing only a sheriff, marshal, police officer or other authorized officer to arrest the defendant who is wanted for committing a criminal act.
To issue a warrant, the judge must be satisfied based on a criminal complaint or affidavits accompanying the complaint that there is probable cause that a criminal offense has been committed and that the person named in the complaint committed it.
A KS warrant must either name the defendant or if unknown, contain a detailed enough description of the defendant so that he or she can be identified with reasonable certainty. Merely stating that the defendant is a heavy-set Latino is not enough to meet the identification requirements.
Some arrest warrants in Kansas may only be executed within certain hours, and most are allowed to be executed anywhere including at the defendant's home or business. The warrant is executed when the defendant is arrested. The arresting officer may either have the original warrant or a duplicate original to show the defendant or if the officer does not possess the warrant, he or she must advise the defendant of the warrant's existence and show it to the defendant at the earliest opportunity.
Many arrest warrants are bench warrants issued by a judge when a criminal defendant who is on the court's docket fails to make an appearance. If the charge is not for a violent crime, most KS bench warrants are not actively executed and defendants are not apprehended until they are stopped for a traffic violation or make an appearance at the DMV or other government office or agency.
What are Arrest Records?
Arrest records in Kansas are public data indicating that you were arrested at some time and accused of a federal or state crime. An arrest record will reveal if the crime for which you were arrested was violent, alcohol or drug-related, a financial crime, or was traffic related.
Like any other state, KS arrest records consist of the date of your arrest, the charge or charges for which you were arrested, any investigative reports so long as no charges are still pending, DNA evidence, fingerprints, photographs, witness statements and any other evidence related to the circumstances of your arrest.
Arrest records are not proof of criminal activity though you are generally only arrested if the arresting authority has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that you committed it. Only a criminal conviction is proof of criminal activity. Many people are arrested based on faulty identification or on minimal evidence, or are caught up in mass arrests following a riot or street demonstration and ultimately have the charges against either dismissed or dropped.
How to Search for Active Arrest Warrants in Kansas
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed and signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 with each state, including Kansas, having its own version allowing public access to an individual's arrest records or to see if an arrest warrant has been issued. The Electronic Freedom of Information Act passed in 1996 requires government agencies to allow particular types of records, including records maintained by law enforcement, to provide public access to criminal records, though personal information about the offender or defendant must not be disclosed.
The easiest method of searching for a KS active warrant is to call the court where you believe your case might be handled. Most courts have phone lines specifically for this purpose. You can also search on the local police department's website for locally issued warrants, and some may list the warrants issued throughout the state of Kansas. Otherwise, you may have to use a general website for warrants issued throughout the country, which will charge you a fee.
You can also use the services of a criminal defense attorney. Most will search for you without charging a fee though they will not give you detailed advice about your case unless you retain them.
How to Search for a KS Arrest Record
The easiest way to search for anyone's arrest record in Kansas is by an online search. Most, if not all services providing such searches charge a subscription fee. These searches are used by employers, landlords and credit agencies.
Another method is to go to the courthouse and to search the database maintained on computers in the clerk's office for someone's records. After obtaining a docket or case number, you can request on a form supplied by the court that the individual's file be brought to you so you can review it in the courthouse only. Copies of the file require payment. You may not be able to have immediate access to a file though you can usually have the records within three business days.
The Kansas Open Records Act does not permit certain records pertaining to an arrest to be viewed. These include personal information, certain investigation records, expunged criminal records, grand jury proceedings and most juvenile records.
How to Search for an Inmate in the Kansas Prison System
Searching for an incarcerated individual in the Kansas prison system is relatively easy since the Kansas Department of Corrections maintains a website at https://kdocrepository.doc.ks.gov/kasper/ where you can begin your search. You must know the inmate's full name and it is helpful if you know the person's KDOC number and birthdate since many inmates share similar or the same first and last names. The information you do obtain is limited. In some cases, you may get a photo of the inmate.
This site also maintains a list of offenders who have absconded or failed to abide by their conditions of parole or community corrections. A list of parole absconders based on their last supervision agency or facility will be shown.
What Do I Do If There is an Outstanding Warrant for My Arrest in Kansas?
Discovering that an arrest warrant is outstanding for you is a frightful situation. You could be arrested at anytime and anywhere, even in full view of your children, friends or fellow employees. Although you may want to turn yourself in to the police, there are risks involved.
If you can afford an attorney, contact and retain a criminal defense attorney to arrange bail, if available, and for turning yourself in. If your outstanding warrant is a bench warrant for failing to make a court appearance or for traffic violations, you can call the clerk of court for the county where the warrant was issued and request that your name be placed on the court's docket or have your attorney do it for you.
Arrangements can be made for a bail bondsman if the warrant does not restrict bail or denies bail in your case. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate for bail or for release on your own recognizance (ROR) with the prosecuting attorney for your case. If your case is for unpaid traffic tickets or traffic violations, be prepared to pay for your tickets at your appearance and have a reasonable explanation for your previous nonappearance.
Can I Get My Arrest Record Expunged in Kansas?
Kansas law does allow you to expunge your arrest record under certain circumstances pursuant to K.S.A. 22-2410. Expungement is a legal process that effectively shields or deletes your record from public access. Your record may still be viewed by law enforcement authorities but a KS arrest record alone does not serve to enhance the charges or sentence that may be imposed in any subsequent criminal conviction.
You may have your arrest record expunged if there was no probable cause for your arrest, if you were found not guilty or if expungement would be in the best interests and justice and no charges were filed or were dismissed or are unlikely to be filed.
Should you have completed all terms of a diversion agreement, you can petition the court to expunge your arrest records once three years have elapsed since you fulfilled those terms.
Your expungement petition must contain your current name and your name as it was at the time of your arrest; your date of birth, sex and race; the crime for which you were arrested; the date of your arrest; and the name of the arresting law enforcement agency. No fee is required. A hearing will be held if there is an objection by the arresting agency or prosecutor. If the order is granted, a copy of the expungement order is sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secretary of Corrections and any other criminal justice agency that may have a record of your arrest.
Once the order is entered, you may lawfully state under penalty of perjury that you have never been arrested. You may still have to disclose your arrest record if it is requested on an application for employment with the military or any public or governmental agency.