Do Warrants Show Up on Your Background Check?

September 30, 2021
Checkr Editor

Editor’s note: Nothing in Checkr’s Blog should be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable state and local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

Do warrants show up on your background check? Likely, the answer is yes, but there are some scenarios where they won’t. Warrants may or may not show up on your background check. It depends on the check carried out and the type of warrant issued. Let’s discuss the issue of background check warrants and whether employers can find them on your record.

Warrants: Do they appear on background checks?

This largely depends on the warrant issued. Not all warrants are the same from a legal standpoint. Let’s look at a few common warrants.

Bench warrant

Do bench warrants show up on background checks? The answer to this question can vary. However, it’s important to note that bench warrants can be issued while a case is still going through the adjudication process. Courts will issue this warrant for a number of reasons, too. The bottom line is that if there is a pending case, it is likely your background check will report the current status of the warrant. Keep in mind that background checks may still check bench warrant issuances.

Criminal warrant

A criminal warrant is similar to a bench warrant with one crucial difference; a criminal warrant is signed by a magistrate and law enforcement must present it to a judge with a probable cause declaration. The judge will then sign the arrest warrant. So, do warrants show up on your background check if they’ve been issued by law enforcement? They can, but it depends on the background check conducted and the jurisdiction. Different states have varying rules on who can access criminal warrant records.

Civil warrant

Civil warrants are issued when a person fails to follow a court order. The most common reason for the issuance of civil warrants is the failure to pay child support. Because civil warrants do appear in court records, they may appear on background checks. However, it’s unlikely that a standard criminal record check will reveal a civil warrant because civil warrants are not criminal in nature.

Traffic warrant

Do traffic warrants show up on background checks? These are issued by courts in response to unpaid tickets for traffic violations or failure to appear in court. Traffic warrants are also considered bench warrants. As such, they may show up on background checks but generally won’t appear on standard background checks.

It’s important to note that when asking “can you pass a background check with a warrant,” that Checkr does not determine a candidate’s ability to clear a background check.

Do warrants show up on employment background checks?

This can be a complicated issue. Most warrants do not appear on criminal background checks. However, they can appear on a civil history background check. As such, answering the question “does a background check show warrants?” is not a simple yes or no.

Plus, only some checks will reveal warrants. For a warrant to show, the background check must cover publicly accessible court records. Many background checks will only cover criminal records. So, can you get a job if you have had a warrant? In most cases, yes, especially if it does not lead to a conviction. This is because if a warrant is recalled or a case is adjudicated it may not appear on a background check. Keep in mind that if you have an open warrant, the employer may be able to see it during the employment adjudication process.

What about search warrants?

Does a warrant come up on a background check if it’s only a search warrant? In these cases, search warrants will not appear because they’re simply an investigative tool forming part of a criminal investigation. Search warrants will not show up on a background check.


Many warrants are publicly accessible as part of court records, and therefore, can be found. In most cases, standard criminal record checks will not reveal any warrants. Unless your employer conducts an FBI or level 2 background check, warrants are unlikely to appear.

If you’d like to learn more about a criminal records background check, you can review Checkr’s screenings service.

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