Is an arrest warrant only good in the state in which it was issued or it it good nationwide?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is an arrest warrant only good in the state in which it was issued or it it good nationwide?

I was issued arrest warrant in MA for not paying child support. If I understand correctly such warrant is not criminal I’m not in the U.S. right now. If I were to enter to the country, will I be arrested in the airport? Let’s say I enter in N.Y. or other state. How can I verify whether will have a problem entering the U.S?

Asked on September 16, 2017 under Family Law, Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Are you sure that it is not a criminal warrant?  Because the state of MA can indeed issue them for this type of offense.  The arrest warrant goes in to a National database that is accesible by all law enforcement.  So anyone that runs your name will find it.  The issue is what they will do: arrest you and hold you is an option but then the issue becomes will MA officials come and get you. You can not "verify" anything.  You are taking a chance. Clear up the arrears. Get a lawyer to help.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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