Three Tips for Locating Witnesses

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

As legal professionals know, locating witnesses is far from easy. When you’re trying to locate someone, you need to uncover addresses and potential locations, and then contact the witness directly at that location. In certain situations, such as if a witness is being called to testify against someone in a criminal defense case, that individual may not want to be found, or you just may not be able to find direct contact information. 

When you need to locate a hard-to-find witness, you should take advantage of the best skip tracing services available in order to boost your chances of finding your witness without wasting time or money. With a public and private records search engine, you can access comprehensive data about almost any adult in the United States, and here are 3 tips for using that data to locate witnesses. 

How to locate a witness by building a web of connections

Obviously, the best case scenario for locating a witness is getting direct contact information. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible – particularly if the witness moves around or is trying to fly under the radar. In these situations, building a web of connections can be the first step gaining insight into a witness’s whereabouts. Even if a person isn’t attached to any current contact records, it’s highly likely that family members can provide you with at least some information about how to get in contact with them.

A public and private records database can provide you with the names of relatives of a person, even former relatives, which you can then search to get contact information. Close relatives may also be able to help you gather information about other possible connections of the witness, like friends, who you could contact to get an idea of where the witness may be. 

You could also perform business records search to locate business associates of the witness who may be able to provide you with direct contact information for the witness. Or, you could use a social network lookup by name to build a deeper web of connections. People often post photos with friends or tag friends in web comments and posts, meaning you can use social media data to pinpoint names of friends and then reach out to those friends to try to gain more information about a witness’s whereabouts.

Use past living patterns for witness location

Understanding a witness’s past living patterns can also be helpful in finding their current locations, even if you don’t have access to any current records. 

If you’re wondering how to look up addresses to find a witness, use Tracers address history search to view all of the previous addresses they were tied to. A full address history can help you better understand someone’s past living tendencies, which will in turn help you extrapolate to potential future locations. You can also search property records to find properties they were associated with or have been tied to in the past.

 If you run into a situation where you can’t uncover a full address history with a basic address search, you can look up utility bills by address. Because most adults have paid some sort of utility, whether it’s gas, electric, or water, a public and private records search engine with utility data can provide you with past and present addresses or other contact information associated with that utility — helping you track down a hard-to-find witness.

Locating a witness with vehicle information

Sometimes, you may not be able to gather enough information from a witness’s relatives or past living patterns in order to skip trace and get in contact with that individual. In situations where traditional address records or contact records aren’t available or don’t point you in the right direction, you can gather secondary information about a witness through information from the DMV or a vehicle sighting database.

A public and private records search engine can provide you with real-time motor vehicle registration pulled directly from the DMV, which can in turn provide you with information about the person who owns that vehicle. 

You can also track car location by license plate in a license plate recognition system to pinpoint areas frequented by hard-to-find witnesses. For example, if you found that a certain car belongs to a witness, you can search through a vehicle sighting database and find any recent sightings of that vehicle. And with a license plate recognition system that’s consistently updated, you’ll boost your chances of locating witnesses that are trying to avoid being found. 

When you have the best witness location tactics and tools at your disposal, you can locate witnesses in less time and focus more of your energy on winning a case for your client. If you’re interested in using a public and private records search engine for better witness location, check out Tracers today.