How Long Does a Warrant Last

Warrant Lasts Forever

A criminal warrant typically lasts until that person is either apprehended and brought to face the charges against them or they pass away. This article might help you to discover if running from your warrant and skipping bail is a solid idea. It isn’t by the way… but please read on:

Wondering How Long a Warrant Lasts in the USA?

If you were wondering how long a criminal warrant will last… warrants are usually forever, that is, unless you are Keith Richards and the governor of Arkansas decides to clear your warrant so you will visit their fine state, or you have passed away, then yeah… a warrant for your arrest is forever.

That is to say any legal criminal warrant against you is active up until the time the warrant is served, some high power politician removes it, you die or you turn yourself in and present yourself to the courts to face your charges. A criminal warrant is basically a way to make you come to a court of law to answer charges against you.

It’s our opinion that if you have a warrant you really need to get a good bonding company and turn yourself in with your bondsmen along side of you. By having all of your information and possible bond paid in advance, you probably won’t spend too much time in jail and will be out quicker than those that were not prepared.


Warrants never go away and thinking that by not getting caught for a few years will make them disappear; think again. Don’t stick your head in the sand – be proactive about your future.

People who have been on the run for years are eventually caught and brought back to the jurisdiction where the warrant was made active. Could you imagine looking over your shoulder every day of your life while on the run? Many people have and there are a number JailGuide has reported on that were on the run for decades. The latest capture was James Whitey Bulger and others include Judy Lynn Hayman (on the run for 37 years), Paul Jackson (on the run for 24 years) and Frank Freshwaters who was on the run for almost 56 years!

Well, for those people who think they can run forever, we have put together some tips for you.

Have a warrant? There are a few things you need to consider if you are going to make a run for it:

  1. While on the run be sure to wear good clean clothes you would want to get arrested in. We suggest not only clean clothes but follow your mom’s advice and wear clean underwear… and your finest socks. Because every day you step out your front door is a day you may be apprehended. Dress to impress!
  2. Now that you’re on the run you’ll probably need some cash. You’ll need things like food, lodging, fuel etc. Don’t contact your family for this cash – let them save their cash for your bond when you get caught. Instead plan on buying limited food, limited lodging and a whole lot of walking.
  3. You will become the best driver in the world and if you aren’t driving, make sure the driver is better than you! One mistake in a vehicle you are driving or riding in will certainly bring the attention of a police cruiser. Not to mention if an officer is driving behind you…
    So, wear your seatbelt, don’t speed, use your signals and pray your vehicle doesn’t break down on the side of some busy highway and blocking traffic. Also pray that the other drivers on the road are the very best drivers they can be and will not hit you, or cause you to hit them…
  4. Clean the windows in your home or wherever you are staying. You’ll probably find yourself looking out your windows a lot now… it’s a good idea to be able to see out of them clearly.
  5. Hey, although we mentioned above that its going to take some cash to stay hidden, while on the run try to eat only the best food and drink the best wine – because when you are eventually caught, county lockup has only the best bologna sandwiches and truly the finest vintage kool aid. It will help you to relive your fine dining experiences while choking down what your local jail has to feed you. You might as well hand over your corn and biscuit to the inmate sitting next to you – he is probably going to take it anyway.
  6. Say goodbye to your parents, siblings, friends, wife, husband, children, grandparents… hmmm – forget it – just leave a note. Once you are on the run forget about making contact with the people you love and cherish. Don’t make them an accomplice to your crime or… witnesses. If you have decided to take your family with you on the run, you should really prepare them for the day you are pulled over (because of a driver who was not as good as you…) and ordered from the car. At least walking backwards to the sound of the officers voice you’ll be able to see your children crying and screaming as they look at you from the rear window of the car…
  7. We can’t stress this enough – stay the hell off Facebook and Twitter! Unless you really need people to know what you had for breakfast and where (especially people looking for you) then go for it. Your online social status needs to be devoid of any social standing other than the occasional friend asking where you are on some other friend’s wall. But, people enjoy being social butterflies so we also suggest having friends who are competent lawyers and bondsmen.
  8. Just let the paranoia seep in. Its going to happen anyway. Every car will be a cop car and every person in a uniform, regardless if they are FedEx drivers or USPS mail carriers, will be the police. So, don’t relax for a moment – stay on edge and let that refreshing wave of panic wash over you every time a police cruiser (or what you thought was a police cruise but turned out to be a senior citizen on their way to bingo who happens to have a blue car…) pulls up beside you at every traffic light. Eyes front now; take a deep breath… panic…

The point of this semi-informative article was to help point out that you can never truly run from your past legal troubles. You will eventually be caught and you may get a larger bond amount if you are considered a flight risk. Besides, not many bondsmen will take your money unless they know your co-signer has something of value to cover your bond when you run again.

25 Replies to “How Long Does a Warrant Last

  1. Hello, my brother got sentenced in 11/2016. He was given 5 years in prison by the federal judge and 3 yrs supervised probation. So when does he become eligible for halfway house? My brother is a bad person and we are worried about him when he gets out. We don’t want him to visit us… we are scared of him. Please help!

  2. Thank you for your information about how long warrants last and how to make a prison connect with inmate mail and inmate phone calls. There is no way to get around the official prison phone providers, but you can save a lot of money if your inmate calls a local number instead of long distance! That is so true and this solved so many questions about jail, warrants and how long a warrant lasts.

  3. I was floored to learn that a warrant for my brother still existed long after he passed away. I had to prove he was deceased to clear his name, and it still took months. I am glad the county removed the warrant for his arrest (burglary) I could just imagine the people with a similar name getting arrested for it.

    1. Yes, generally you would need to provide a death certificate issued by the county coroner or state (depends on where you live). And it may take some time for the warrant to be removed as it has to pass through several channels. Glad to hear it worked out for you, and sorry for the loss of your brother.

      On a sidenote, have you given any thought to reimbursing his victims for their loss from any monies from his estate? If he is innocent is one thing, but if you know he was guilty of the crime, I think it might do you family good to clear the family name as well. Just a thought.

      PeteMax

  4. Well I don’t know too much about the law but why would a warrant be good 40 years after it was issued? Seems like a big waste of time to the taxpayers in my opinion.

    1. @Buckley – no. On this blog and throughout the book we instill the fact you must get your warrants taken care of. You can not elude warrants as they never go away. We suggest you contact a lawyer or other legal representative and/or a bondsmen to help you if you or someone you know has a warrant.

  5. Pingback: TimR
    1. Its true. I think I was watching the same news report. It was some guy who caught a loophole back in the 1970’s in some other country (which they put an end to) but he was happily living in Portugal. I guess the US was waiting for his extradition. I dont know how anyone can look over their shoulder for 40 years. Hell, he would have been out of prison after doing only 10!

  6. What I found hard to do is to discover a blog that may seize me for a minute but your blog is different. Thanks for the prion information.

  7. If warrants last forever then how do you get one removed if the person has died? My grandfather died recently and he has several outstanding warrants for traffic violations. Since he was in a nursing home in another state I guess they really didn’t care if he had warrants or not. Besides who would want to arrest a 92 year old man for speeding and parking tickets from 30 years ago?

    1. I am sure you could take the death certificate to the town or county where the warrants were issued and have the warrants removed. Then again, if someone attempts to steal your grandfathers identity, those warrants will be on record. If the identity thief gets stopped for any reason, game over. But, if you are considering your grandfathers good name and want to get his past cleaned, try to chat with the Sheriff’s department or local police department about having the warrants removed.

    1. Most police stations or county jails might only hold you for 30 days while you await extradition. It all depends on the place where you are being held. By all means, ask your jailer for the laws in the state or county you are being held. You might also want to talk with your attorney about this matter.

      1. Terrific insight on how long a warrant lasts. My dad had a warrant for drug possession (he got caught smoking a joint outside a bar) that he picked up before I was born, that was 24 years ago. It was a year ago we got stopped while driving and I clearly remember the cops surrounding our car and ordering my dad out at gunpoint – and he was 57 years old! They handcuffed him but then found out the county would not extradite, the cops even joked with him about the drug charge. I told my dad about your site and that he needed to get the case over with or this would continue to happen. Especially nowadays he probably wouldn’t be able to travel on a plane to another country like my parents plan to do. Anyhow, he did like you suggested and got a bondsmen, turned himself in, kept his mouth shut and he wound up accepting an Alford Plea and he didn’t serve any time! Plus he is not on probation which is good. Thanks again for your help and the great site!

  8. If the warrant is really small, like a traffic ticket will a police department in another state hold you to be picked up?

    1. Normally most departments will verify first whether or not the other jurisdiction will extradite. If its a traffic ticket I wouldn’t think another department will hold you for extradition – but – consult with an attorney about this matter.

      1. What if there are a lot of traffic tickets? I have a few I still need to pay for and they total a few thousand because of an accident I had. Will they extradite me if I get caught somewhere in state?

        1. Having thousands of dollars in unpaid traffic fines may cause a department to extradite, but, that all depends on the department. You are better off turning yourself into the court and asking for a payment plan to pay off those fines. IMHO it’s better to be in control of your situation rather than be led around not knowing what is going to happen. Please CONSULT with an attorney in these and any other legal or personal matters. We are not attorneys and the preceding is simply an opinion.

  9. Thanks for the tips you have provided here. You have to wonder why anyone runs away from a prison nowadays. You cant hide anywhere – everything is being filmed and its a digital age. Unless you had thousands of dollars in cash forget it. Then you have to worry about the people you are hanging around or family turning you in.

    1. I think if I had to go to prison I too would at least make an attempt to run or plan something. Then again it depends on the time you have to serve too. I mean, if it were only a couple of years no big deal, but 20 years or something like that… I would be tempted to run like hell.

  10. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was really good. I imagine a warrant is just one of those things a person can never get rid of. Thanks you for a great post about warrants!

  11. Hi PeteMax, I was looking for this information on warrants and privacy info for sometime now and finally found it. Good work and great looking site. Thank you

  12. If you have a warrant and want it cleared, step up and be a man and get it taken care of. You will breathe a sigh of relief once its all over. If you are smart you would bring a bondsmen with you to the jail when you turn yourself in.

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