North Dakota Arrest Records and Warrant Search

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North Dakota Arrest Records & Warrant Search

Arrest records refer to the information offered in response to a criminal history inquiry launched in North Dakota. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which works under the supervision of the Attorney General’s Office, has been entrusted with the task of procuring crime related information, storing it in a central CHRI (Criminal History Records and Information) database, and disseminating it pursuant to the laws of the state.

Crime history inquiries vs. background checks

Contrary to popular perception, a background report differs from the arrest records you are given in response to crime history investigations. The former is merely a collection of publicly available information collected through various databases that have been put up online. On the other hand, a warrant search from ND is an investigation conducted by scouring the privately maintained repositories of justice and law enforcement agencies.

The primary difference between the two is the purpose for which these searches are initiated and the scope for error in the results. Background checks are typically asked for by landlords and employers who are not part of the legislatively authorized group of establishments allowed to conduct criminal history checks. Typically, these investigations are conducted on the basis of a single personal identifier, such as the name of the subject. Hence, the inquiry can miss the mark quite often and bring back information on every offender who matches the search criteria.

As opposed to this, arrest records will be called for when a person wants to apply for adoption or immigration and even when seeking employment in certain commercial sectors such as health care, nursing, education, etc. These investigations can be conducted on the basis of fingerprints or personal identifiers. In terms of the latter, more than one search factor is used to bring back accurate results.

How is an inquiry on active warrants and arrest records from North Dakota conducted?

In North Dakota, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) can only supply arrest records. This agency collects information on all crimes, suspects, convicts, active warrants, court dispositions, sentencing, etc., from the local law enforcement and judicial establishments. This data is stored on a central CHRI (Crime History Records and Information) repository.

When a request for a warrant search is made, the BCI cross references the name of the subject along with other personal identifiers such as the date of birth and the social security number or the fingerprints through the arrest records held in their database. While a fingerprint inquiry for arrest warrants no doubt returns precise and accurate results, even the personal identifier investigation is a success, given the extensive cross referencing that is done through the use of multiple search criteria.

This ensures that even if the subject has used other aliases besides the given name, you would still be able to find his arrest records and not those of somebody else who has the same given name. Apart from the disclosure of criminal history reports to the general public, the BCI also maintains the state system for sex offender registration, assists local, state, and federal agencies in the investigation of crimes, including narcotic related infractions, undertakes the training of law enforcement agents, offers help to local justice agencies in maintaining CHRI databases and makes community presentations pertaining to the hazards of drug use.

What are arrest warrants?

Rule 4 of North Dakota Court Procedures states that a magistrate is legally bound to issue an arrest warrant if a complaint is filed in court through which this determination can be made with reasonable certainty that a crime did occur and that the evidence points to the involvement of a certain individual in it. Active warrants from North Dakota are issued to police officers who are put in charge of their execution.

The sheriff’s office is also responsible for filing the complaint, which eventually leads to the release of the arrest warrant. This is done at the completion of a criminal investigation. It should be understood here that although ND outstanding warrants are frequently sought in felonious matters, cops are allowed to make arrests in such cases even without resorting to the use of a court issued order.

The probable cause requirement for arrest warrants

To ensure that arrest orders do not violate the constitutional rights of an individual, the police cannot take any decision pertaining to these decrees on their own. The sheriff’s office will merely inform the court of the criminal transgression and the proof they have collected that points to the culpability of a said person. It is then left up to the courts to ensure that a probable case can be found on the basis of this evidence before an active warrant is released. The finding of reasonable cause can be based on witness testimony or evidence that is hearsay in part or whole.

A magistrate who has not been admitted to practice law in ND can only issue a warrant if the complaint filed has been approved by a prosecuting attorney. However, if it is clear from the affidavit that the accused may flee the county if he is not immediately taken into custody, the active warrant can be released even without the involvement of the state prosecution.

The serving of an arrest warrant from ND

The execution of outstanding warrants is the responsibility of all peace officers in the state. Although a law enforcement agent is allowed to seek help from the police departments of other jurisdictions in apprehending the accused and even ask for civilian assistance, only an officer of the law is allowed to serve these directives. Arrest warrants can be served in any county of the state and by a police officer from any jurisdiction.

Moreover, outstanding warrants can be executed at any time; particularly, those issued in felonies are also endorsed for night time service. Once arrests are made, the officer in charge will have to furnish a copy of the warrant to the detainee and his counsel at the earliest available opportunity.

How to search for an inmate in the North Dakota Prison System?

Information on inmates lodged in the prisons of North Dakota can be sought from the Department of Corrections, which runs all the penitentiaries in the state, along with halfway houses and other detention facilities. This information has been put up on the website of the agency, where visitors can use an online search facility to find details on a particular prisoner.

The DOC also has a Victim Notification Program in place, which offers timely telephone or mail updates on the movement of the prisoner and his status in the correctional system. Those who register with the system will be able to find out about impending parole and release dates and get prompt information on the death or the escape of an inmate.

To use the inmate search facility, you can go to Simply enter the last name of the subject to reach a tabular listing of all inmates who share the personal identifier. On this page, you will find information such as the DOC number of the prisoner, complete name (including first, middle, and last), and date of birth. Click on the name of the prisoner to procure further details, including the name and address of the facility where this convict is being held and a photograph of the subject. To contact the DOC through mail or in person, you can drive down to DOCR, 3100 Railroad Ave, P.O. Box 1898, Bismarck, ND 58502. The VINE hotline is available at 866-631-8463

Who can search for arrest records and warrants in ND?

North Dakota follows what can only be called a partial open records policy under which all parties, including civilians and commercial establishments, are allowed to place the request for a warrant search. However, arrest records are only offered when the applicant furnishes a signed consent letter from the subject. If this is not available, the subject of the inquiry will be notified of the warrant search before the arrest records are released to the applicant.

In other words, at least through the BCI, there is no way to conduct the inquiry without involving the person who owns the records. Furthermore, the Bureau recommends that for an accurate match, it would be best to conduct a fingerprint based inquiry; the request for these has to be submitted by the subject himself.

How to Request Records under the North Dakota Public Records Act?

You can access information from the Criminal Justice Information Sharing System of North Dakota through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. For the inquiry, you will need to download the forms at (for regular inquiries) or (for schools).

You will need to offer the full name of the subject along with his date of birth, social security number or fingerprints, and current address (not required if you are furnishing a signed release form). Send the duly filled form along with a $15 money order or check drawn in favor of ND Attorney General to:

CJIS PortalCriminal Justice Information SharingState of ND600 E Boulevard Ave., Dept. 112Bismarck, ND 58505

If you are interested in a fingerprint inquiry, ensure that you send in two sets of fingerprints captured by the local law enforcement agency. The prints will have to be taken on Blue FBI fingerprint cards. Once you send in the request, it will take the BCI 7 to 10 days to process it. This means that it can take 10 to 15 days to receive the results of the inquiry in your mail. To receive the response faster, send in a self addressed prepaid, priority or overnight mail envelope along with the form and issue the payment in a money order or certified cashier’s check.

How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In North Dakota?

While criminal history records will be kept through the lifetime of the convict, in certain cases, the owner of the arrest records can request an expungement from the courts. If this is granted, the information will be sealed off, although it will still be available to justice and law enforcement agencies. Even if court records are expunged, information on convictions will be available to the general public regardless of how old the records are.


Q: What is BCI ND?

A: BCI ND refers to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a government agency that collects and maintains criminal records for the state of North Dakota.

Q: How can I access public records in North Dakota?

A: Public records in North Dakota can be accessed through various channels, including government websites, county courthouses, and law enforcement agencies.

Q: Can I search for outstanding arrest warrants in North Dakota?

A: Yes, you can search for outstanding arrest warrants in North Dakota using the Attorney General’s website or by contacting your local law enforcement agency.

Q: What types of information are included in North Dakota arrest records?

A: North Dakota arrest records typically include the name and identifying information of the individual, the nature of the offense, and information on the arresting agency and court.

Q: Are North Dakota arrest records and warrant searches confidential?

A: No, North Dakota arrest records and warrant searches are not confidential and can be accessed by the public in most cases. However, certain information may be redacted or limited based on the circumstances of the case.


Last Updated: February 19, 2023