How to Find Out if Someone is in Police Custody

by | Apr 13, 2022 | General, Legal Questions | 0 comments

Finding someone in police custody in a crowded city like New York can be hell, but not if you act smart. There are a couple of ways by which you can find out if someone is in custody. Checking the online database is by far the easiest and most time-efficient method to search for your missing person; however, it is less reliable. Try calling the local police department and gather information about the person in custody, like name, address, and crime. 

If you’re a common man with zero knowledge of releasing your punk teenager from police custody, you have hit the jackpot! This article is an ultimate guide on how you can deal with police custody, including the legalities. But wait… how to find out if someone is in police custody? That’s simple! Head below and read this article till the end to know your rights and get an idea of the options available to you during such chaotic situations. 

What is Police Custody?

When a person commits a crime or breaks the law, police have the right to arrest him and isolate him in a custody suite under the orders of the law. You might have witnessed police arresting people in real life or in movies where they take the accused or criminal to jail and isolate him in an empty cell. Reality is pretty much like that! However, police custody is not always due to murder or heinous acts; it could be something as petty as breaking into someone’s private property. 

Police custody is not always on the crime scene and is sometimes processed under a form of suspicion submitted to the law enforcement officer. In such circumstances, the court officially interferes in the custody and determines the validity of the interrogation process. The second scenario involves lawyers and professional help, which is usually more complicated than the first one. 

Who is Held in Police Custody?

Anyone who breaks the law of their respective country or state or is involved in homicidal acts such as duels or fights is guilty of being held in custody by the police. This involves people of all age groups (excluding senior citizens), including minors, teenagers, and adults. However, there are a few rules and regulations regarding the custody and interrogation of minors and teenagers. Head below to find them out: 

  •  The police can only hold mInors (under 12) in custody for 6 hours. 
  • Teenagers can be detained by police in custody for up to 12 hours for non-violent acts. 
  • For violent acts, teenagers can be held by police in custody for up to 24 hours. 
  • Minors and teenagers cannot be facilitated with adult supervision during custody; however, guardians have the right to appoint a youth officer during custody. 

Ways to find out if someone is in Police Custody:

Now, coming to the main point, how to find out if someone is in police custody and that too in a massive city like New York or Chicago with tons of police stations. The solutions may not be the easiest, but you’ve got a couple of options to try your luck with, and you will surely come up with the answer. So if your rebellious teenager goes out missing again, follow the steps mentioned below: 

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Online databases:

As per the United States Constitution-Bill of Rights, the government is bound to publish information informing about the charges of the people held in police custody. This is the citizen’s basic right and is backed by the writ of Habeus Corpus, which makes sure that the custody is not kept a secret by the police officers. After being arrested, the police gather all valid information from the person and update it on the database, a public website accessible to every citizen. You can search for your respective state or area and find the name of that ‘someone’ who’s suspected to be held in custody. 

However, in a few cases, either the record has not been updated properly, or the information is inaccurate, so you’ll have a hard time finding the missing person. In such a case, you should clear the search field and type in any other names the person is called by (including middle names or nicknames). To ensure you’re after the right person, you should call the local police and confirm through the detainee’s appearance. You can even search for the person through the online detainee locator to find out his location. The online databases and detainee locator are free sites accessible 24/7, so it’s the easiest option on-hand. 

Custody records:

If the first option doesn’t work for you, then take the old-fashioned way to contact the police. The local police departments have accurate information about the detainees in their custody records updated regularly and religiously. So you can call the police department and give the name of the missing individual. With that being said, keep in mind that the police might not have all of the information since detainee information is extracted from the detainee himself, who is usually not in the calm state of mind of spitting out his name and address, so the closest guess you get can be a bummer at times. 

To contact local police departments, you can google their contact info; New York’s emergency line is 311. The other states and cities have their emergency dials for locating people and information. 


Locating the missing teenager is solved! But how to deal with the custody. We have briefed the legal matter in this section. First, hire an attorney only when the detainee is held in prison for 24-48 hours or more after the arraignment (first trial meeting with the court). After the arraignment, the detainee will be held in prison or released, depending on the situation. In order to clarify the detainee’s side and defend him, you will have to hire an attorney or a lawyer. Criminal lawyers are the best for this job, and you can consult any law firm on an emergency basis to hire one.