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What should I do if there's a warrant for my arrest?

What should I do if there's a warrant for my arrest?


Clear language definitions to common legal terms. 

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December, 2016

If there's a warrant for your arrest, it's better to turn yourself in than to wait for the police to pick you up. The courts will think you're a more responsible person if you turn yourself in. This may improve your chances of being allowed to go back into the community if you have a bail hearing.

Talk to a lawyer

Before you turn yourself in, talk to a lawyer.

Your lawyer can contact the police and help you arrange to turn yourself in. Your lawyer can also help you make a plan of release.

Prepare to turn yourself in

Before you turn yourself in, write down phone numbers for family and friends who might be willing to be a surety for you. When you go to the police station, do not bring personal property or your car with you. This will make it simpler if you're not released.

What the police are allowed to do

The police are allowed take you into custody when there’s a warrant for your arrest. But after taking you into custody, within 24 hours the police must:

  • let you leave, or
  • bring you before a judge or a justice of the peace, and not cause an unreasonable delay in giving you a bail hearing

Warrants from out-of-town

The warrant may not be from the city where you live. If this happens and you’ve decided to plead guilty, you can:

  • surrender to your local police, and ask the police to have the Crown transfer the charges to the city where you live, or
  • go to the city that issued the warrant to turn yourself in there

If this happens and you've decided to plead not guilty, when you surrender, the police where you live may want to take you to the city where the warrant was issued. But if they do not want to do that, you must go to the city that issued the warrant to deal with it.

Learn more about this topic
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
OJEN-ROEJ Ontario Justice Education Network Réseau ontarien d'éducation juridique
Legal Aid Ontario - Aide juridique Ontario

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