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How Do I 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 any time and anywhere within the jurisdiction of the Court that issued the warrant. Most often, this will be within the province, but if the criminal, f.e. drug or fraud charges, are extremely serious, a Canada-wide warrant may be issued. In some cases, if the warrant was issued in one province, but you are arrested in another province (unrelated to the original warrant), the original province can apply for a 6-day hold/detention so that they can extend the warrant to the province where you were found.

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

  • Police have laid charges but are unable to locate you (this is called Warrant in the First Instance);
  • Failure to appear in court;
  • Failing to appear at a police station for fingerprinting after being charged;
  • Breaching terms of your release on another criminal charge; and
  • Failing to comply with conditions of probation or conditional sentence orders.

What Do I Do If There Is A Warrant For My Arrest?

If you are worried that 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. 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. It is best to have a skilled criminal lawyer negotiate the terms of release in advance of the execution of the warrant.

Police Inquiry

One way to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest is to contact the police and ask them directly. You will have to make this inquiry in person at a police station. They will confirm your identity through photo identification, so bring that with you. If you have a warrant, they will arrest you immediately. Depending on a number of factors, you may be released directly from the station on a release order compelling you to attend court and compelling you to attend at a later date for the purposes of obtaining your fingerprints and photographs (pursuant to the Criminal Identifications Act).  In other circumstances, the police have the power to detain you and hold you for a bail hearing. One factor is the type of warrant. Endorsed warrants give the police the power to release you. They have no ability to release you if the warrant is unendorsed. If you decide to go to a police station to determine if there is a warrant, do not take anything with you, even your cell phone. This is because the 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. There are sheriffs and peace officers at their disposal, so if a warrant is confirmed, you will be arrested immediately. However, the sheriffs have no ability to release you, so that they will have coordinate with their local law enforcement for that purpose.

Retain a Lawyer

The best way to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest is to retain a criminal defence lawyer. A criminal lawyer is able to contact the Crown Prosecutors’ office in order to make inquiries without any risk to you. If there is a warrant for your arrest, your lawyer can arrange an arrest by appointment so that you can turn yourself into the police. Your lawyer will also negotiate your release and the terms and conditions in order to minimize your detention and the risk of being detained. When you have a lawyer retained prior to having the warrant executed, that allows for your lawyer to develop a bail plan in place. This can mean the difference between being released on an Appearance Notice or being detained until your trial. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact our criminal lawyers in Calgary for guidance and help in regard to a warrant for your arrest – we do have enough experience and knowledge to help you.