Things You Should Know About An Arrest Warrant In Canada

September 24, 2020

Things You Should Know About An Arrest Warrant In Canada

In Canada, arrest warrants are issued by the justice of peace or a judge under the Canadian Criminal Code. As per Section 29 of the Criminal Code, after issuance of a warrant, the arresting officer must provide the accused with a notice about the existence of the warrant, cause of warrant, and produce it upon request, if feasible.

There are several kinds of warrants that can be issued against you if you don’t act upon the conditions of your bail. All of these warrants give the authorities the power to arrest you within a specific time period. Different kinds of warrants a judge can issue for your arrest can include arrest warrant, bench warrant, bench warrant to hold, surety warrant, and telewarrant.

Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is a legal document endorsed by the court of law that identifies the accused’s name, the alleged offence committed by them, and the authorisation of the police officer to arrest the accused and bring them in before the judge. When the police have reasonable grounds to believe that you’ve committed a criminal offence and failed to comply with your bail conditions, they are liable to swear a court document known as an information.

A sworn document is presented before a court of law by the authorities, identifying a particular offence you’re charged with. The purpose of this activity is to request the justice of peace or a judge to review your case. The justice of peace will then decide whether to issue an appearance notice or an arrest warrant against you. A judge will issue an arrest warrant if they have probable grounds to believe that you have committed the crime, and they also believe that:

  • You will not appear before the court without a warrant
  • It would help if you were arrested to secure evidence regarding the criminal offence
  • Your arrest is essential to avoid the repeat or continuation of the offence
  • Your arrest is necessary to prevent you from committing a new offence
  • It would help if you were brought in by the police to establish your identity

After your arrest warrant is issued, the authorities within the jurisdiction of the warrant-issuing court will be allowed to search for you and bring you into custody.

Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is a type of an arrest warrant that is issued by a judge or justice in your name if you fail to appear before the court for a court date, hearing, or trial. This legal document is often issued after you fail to appear before the court as directed by a promise to appear, summons, and an undertaking or recognisance.

Just like an arrest warrant, a bench warrant also authorises the nearest police to arrest you and hold you in custody until your court hearing. In some cases, when you fail to appear before a judge, the judge may be courteous enough not to order your arrest immediately and instead issue ‘a bench warrant to hold’ for your arrest. In that case, it means that if you appear before a judge in your upcoming court appearance, your warrant will get vacated and you won’t be taken into custody.

Surety Warrant

Surety refers to the person who helps you get your bail by paying a certain amount of money and agreeing to provide a guarantee on your behalf that you won’t commit any further crimes and that you will appear in the court on your hearing date. If your surety doesn’t want to supervise you anymore, they can go to the court and apply to remove themselves as your guarantor.

Your surety can also bring you with them when appearing before a court. If they ask to remove themselves as your guarantor after bringing you in, you will be arrested. On the other hand, if you don’t appear in the court with your surety and turn yourself in after your guarantor gets relieved from the surety duties, the judge will issue a surety warrant for you, resulting in your immediate arrest.


Usually, a police officer has to appear before a judge in person to obtain a warrant for your arrest. However, under some extraordinary circumstances, they can get a warrant for your arrest from a concerned court over the phone, which is called a telewarrant.

The authorities can obtain a telewarrant by communicating with the justice using some means of telecommunication by informing them about the presence of probable grounds to believe that you have committed an indictable crime. Nonetheless, to get a telewarrant, the police will also have to convince the judge that it’s impractical for them to appear before a court to obtain a warrant for your arrest.

Slaferek Callihoo is a credible criminal defence law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit our website to learn about our expert legal services or contact us for a legal consultation.

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