Warrant Check Washington

In State v. Williams, 50 Wn.App. 696, 750 P.2d 278, 280 (1988), the Court of Appeals of Washington observed that checks for outstanding arrest warrants during valid criminal investigatory stops have been recognized as a reasonable routine police procedure. In Williams, a warrant check was conducted during the time the police were lawfully questioning defendant about a motor vehicle accident; the procedure took between two and three minutes. Id. In finding this detention reasonable and the confession which flowed from it lawfully obtained, the court held, "So long as the duration of the warrant check does not unreasonably extend the initially valid contact, we believe that the purpose behind warrant checks supports their use." Id. In so holding, however, the court noted that it was not deciding the issue of the validity of warrant checks outside the traffic stop context. Id. at n. 1.