Tennessee Criminal Code 40-6-201 defines an active warrant as a written order from the court directed at the proper Law enforcement officer which commands the arrest of the defendant. Apart from information about the person in whose name it has been issued, an active warrant should clearly state the substance of the complaint in response to which the warrant is being released.
This complaint can be lodged by an officer of the law or a civilian. However, if the affiant is not a member of a law enforcement agency, the magistrate will usually issue a summons in lieu of a warrant. This protocol need not be followed if the matter in question is a felony or if of the multiple affiants, even one is a law enforcement officer.
The gravity of an active warrant
Pursuant to Tennessee Code 40-6-205 an active warrant will only be issued when a complaint is submitted in court by an officer of the law. This complaint must be backed by a written examination which should show the evidence available in the matter. Just because the police have petitioned the court for an arrest order does not mean that one will be issued promptly.
The written examination and the supporting affidavit submitted in court by the police have to satisfy the probable cause restriction placed on the issue of such detention orders. The evidence presented whether hearsay or factual and or the witness testimony offered under oath have to be enough for any person of reasonable mind to believe that a criminal act was committed and this incident involved the participation of the accused.
Finding information on Tennessee active warrants
There are three ways to procure details pertaining to active warrants; you can either approach state or county law enforcement for such data or get in touch with the judiciary. If you are looking for the most recent active warrant issues, the most wanted list posted on the websites of some sheriffs' departments can certainly be useful. The few areas of the state where this facility is offered include:
- Williamson County: http://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/index.aspx?NID=872
- Henry County: http://www.henryco.com/publicsafety/sheriff/mostwanted.htm
- Washington County: http://www.wcso.net/Divisions/mostwanted.html
- Hamilton County: http://www.hcsheriff.gov/most_wanted/most_wanted.php
To find a statewide list of the most wanted criminals from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, you can go to https://www.tn.gov/tbi/section/tbis-top-10-most-wanted. If your search involves warrants issued against a specific person, it can help to go through the court dockets of the general session's tribunal in your area.
As far as records from the state judiciary are concerned, you can only find information on cases that were heard by the Appellate courts including the Court of appeals, the Court of Criminal appeals and the Supreme Court. However, since warrants are seldom issued by these tribunals, it would be hard to find the records you are looking for through this source. However, if you do need to find information on cases heard by these tribunals, visit http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/courts/supreme-court/public-case-history.
While not all county level judicial networks offer court records online, in some geographical divisions of Tennessee, the county clerk's office does offer online tools to search through their dockets database. These include:
- Hamilton: http://www.hamiltontn.gov/courts/Sessions/dockets/CriminalDockets.aspx. Dockets are only available for 7 days through this site.
- Shelby: https://www.shelbycountytn.gov/index.aspx?nid=83 you will have to pay a small fee to use this facility
- Davidson County: https://sci.ccc.nashville.gov/. Search can be initiated through a name based or case number based query. For warrants, the ticket or warrant number will have to be provided to access details.
In counties where the judiciary does not offer the provision to look for case records online, you can always walk into the local justice center and request a deputy from the clerk's office to initiate a warrant search for you.