Local News

NCAWARE digs up decade-old arrest warrant

Posted September 23, 2009 6:24 p.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2009 10:50 a.m. EDT

— Have an outstanding traffic ticket or citation that's gone unpaid? If so, there might be a warrant out for your arrest.

Kim Dawson said she was fishing at a Raleigh lake on Labor Day when an officer running a routine check on her fishing license informed her that she was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant.

It was for a $25 citation for fishing without a license that she received in Wilson County in 1999. She never paid it.

When the state's NCAWARE system (North Carolina Arrest Warrant Repository) went online last June, the decade-old warrant for Dawson's arrest was placed into the system, which allows law enforcement officers and court officials to search for outstanding warrants from across the state.

After a week of pleading her case, Wilson County prosecutors dismissed the charge against Dawson.

"It was just irresponsibility on my part," she said. "I never thought 11 years later it would come back to haunt me the way it did."

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts said NCAWARE completes the justice process. Since it went online in 18 counties, more than 1 million outstanding warrants have been served.

NCAWARE is expected to be implemented in every county by 2010.

"Our bottom line is don't break the law," said Sharon Gladwell, a spokeswoman for the court system.

Gladwell said the system was designed to get dangerous offenders off the streets, but it does not discriminate. It includes all unserved arrest warrants dating to 1982.

"NCAWARE was designed to show information on all wanted persons in North Carolina," she said.

Dawson said she had forgotten about the citation but urges others to check with the Clerk of Courts office in their county for any outstanding tickets or charges.