FAQs

How to know if there is a warrant for my arrest?

If there is a warrant for your arrest, the police have the power to arrest you at anytime and anywhere within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court that issued the warrant. Most often, this will be within the province, but if the criminal charges are extremely serious, a Canada-wide warrant may be issued. This means that the police can arrest you at your house, your school or your place of business causing you unnecessary embarrassment and significant inconvenience. 

There are a number of reasons there may be a warrant for your arrest: 

  • Police have laid charges but are unable to locate you;
  • Failure to appear in court;
  • Failing to appear at a police station for identification after being charged;
  • Breaching terms of your release on another criminal charge; and
  • Failing to appear in court as a witness after being subpoenaed  

If you have reason to believe there may be a warrant for your arrest, it is important that you find out so that you can take the necessary steps to have the warrant executed. If you don’t deal with your warrant, it can follow you for life. You also want to be proactive so that you can take the necessary steps to make sure you are released from custody as soon as possible. 

Police Inquiry

One way to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest is to contact the police and ask if a warrant has been issued. You will not be given this information over the phone, so you will have to appear in-person at a police station with photo identification. If there is a warrant for your arrest, you will be arrested on the spot. Depending on the severity of the charge, you may be released on a Promise to Appear or detained and subjected to a bail hearing. If you choose to go to a police station to determine if there is a warrant, do not take your cell phone with you. Police may seize it and look for incriminating evidence, with or without a warrant. 

Court Clerk

Another way to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest is to go to your local courthouse and speak to the court clerk. Just like with the police, this information will not be given to you over the phone, so you will have to go in-person with photo identification. Once again, if there is a warrant for your arrest, the clerk will contact a sheriff to place you under arrest. 

How to know if there is a warrant for my arrest? 

Hire a Lawyer  

The safest way to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest is to hire a criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer is able to call the Crown Prosecutors’ office and find out without any risk to you. If there is a warrant for your arrest, your lawyer can arrange a time and place for you to turn yourself into police and also negotiate your release. Having a lawyer retained means that you can work on your bail plan prior to having the warrant executed. This can mean the difference between being released on a Promise to Appear or being detained until your trial. 

Executing a Warrant 

Generally, there are two ways for a warrant to be executed. The most common way for a warrant to be executed is once you have been arrested. The warrant will be executed whether you turn yourself into police or they find and arrest you.    

If you are going to turn yourself in, don’t do it on a Friday and don’t do it late at night. If you do, you run the risk of spending the night or weekend in jail.

To turn yourself into police, you can attend any police station and tell the person at the counter there is a warrant for your arrest. You will be placed under arrest and the warrant will be executed. Once released, you will be given a court date and a list of your charges.

Another way to deal with a warrant is to appear in court and ask a judge to bring the warrant into the courtroom to be deemed executed. This is a very difficult process if you don’t have a lawyer. Not many judges are willing to do this unless there is a good reason why you can’t go to a police station and turn yourself in. This generally only happens if the warrant was wrongly issued or your lawyer failed to appear in court on your behalf. If the warrant was not the result of your actions, a judge will be sympathetic and deem the warrant executed in court so as to not inconvenience you. 

About Cory Wilson

Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.