La. arrest warrants searchable on parish-by-parish basis - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

La. arrest warrants searchable on parish-by-parish basis

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New Orleans, La. - It's not possible to check if people have warrants out for their arrest everywhere in Louisiana.

"As of right now they're doing it on a parish-by-parish basis," said La. State Trooper Melissa Matey. "So, if the parish produces an active warrant list, then that's going to fall on the sheriff's office or police department as to what information they put forth to the public."

If you're background-checking someone in East Baton Rouge, you can go to the sheriff's office's website and simply search by name.

But in Jefferson Parish, for example, you can't.

Florida has a statewide database available to search anyone and see if they are being sought by law enforcement. It's something Salvatore LoVecchio, a local lawyer, says he'd like to see in Louisiana.

"I think it'd be beneficial to everyone," said LoVecchio. "Not only to parents who want to protect their children, but for parents of children who may be the subject of a warrant."

That's because in parishes like Jefferson, the only way you can find out if there's a warrant out for your arrest is to stop by the sheriff's office. At that point, you could be detained on the spot.

"People are very afraid to go and look up their own warrants because they're afraid they're going to be detained immediately without a chance of explanation, and that may very well be the case," said LoVecchio.

You can get an arrest warrant if you've missed a court date or if there is probable cause to believe that you've committed an offense. Having an arrest warrant does not mean someone is guilty, so having a database with this information does raise privacy concerns.

"These databases...for a warrant when someone is still presumed innocent until convicted - they're another way to get personal information that you want to be private, accessible to everyone in the public," said LoVecchio.

There are many ways to find out if someone has any convictions. Click here to request a criminal background check through the state.

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