Do I Have to State That I Have an Outstanding Warrant on a Job Application?


An open warrant for your arrest is a serious legal problem. Informing a prospective employer of your open warrant can often disqualify you for employment. The employer or company conducting employment screening might also report your information to the police in accordance with the laws in your state.

Obligation to the Truth

You are obligated to answer all questions on a job application to the best of your knowledge. The application may even contain a brief paragraph outlining the consequences for failing to tell the truth when providing information on the job application including immediate termination. If the employer does not ask specific information relating to open warrants on a job application, you are not required to volunteer the information. If the employer asks about arrest history on the application, you should answer truthfully.

Criminal Background Checks

If your prospective employer performs a criminal background check as part of your application, an open warrant for your arrest will probably show up. A bench warrant for a minor offense may not show up on a background check unless the employer uses a third-party background investigation company which performs a thorough investigation. An open felony warrant is all but certain to appear on any criminal background check. Your employer is required to obtain your written permission to conduct a background investigation. Refusing to allow the investigation may send up a red flag and cause the employer to overlook your application.

Arrest Requirements

If a third-party background check company discovers an open felony warrant in your criminal report, the company is required to inform the proper authorities of your location. Failing to do so might be considered criminal aiding and abetting. An open bench warrant or warrant for a misdemeanor-level offense may not carry these reporting requirements, but the company may still report your location to the police to maintain a good relationship with law enforcement.

Length of Warrant Reporting

An open warrant does not go away. The issuing law enforcement agency can keep the warrant open indefinitely in a continuing effort to bring you in to answer for your alleged crime. Fleeing the area won't help, since background check companies can search all state criminal databases for open warrants. The best course of action is to turn yourself in to the police. The longer you remain a fugitive, the more serious your legal problem can become.

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