The BC Offence Act [RSBC 1996] c. 338 sections 33-37 contains information on warrants.
Police may or may not need a warrant for an arrest, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the situation. A warrant is written permission given by a judge to carry out a certain action. If police have a warrant for an arrest, they must show or tell the individual about the warrant. The police may not have the warrant with them.
Dealing with an outstanding warrant:
Dealing with an outstanding warrant depends on the facts of the case and the offence the individual is charged with. There are a few options
• Call the prosecutor in the location where the warrant was issued to ask if the warrant can be canceled.
• Go back to that place to deal with it.
• Talk to a prosecutor in BC about resolving the warrant.
It’s important to get legal advice before deciding what to do.
Appearance Notice and Summons
Both an appearance notice and a summons are official notices that an individual must appear in court at a specific time and place to respond to a criminal charge. If the individual does not go to court when the document says, a warrant may be issued for an arrest and charges may be laid for failing to appear. An appearance notice may be given if the crime is less serious (such as theft under $5,000). Usually, it is a police officer who gives you an appearance notice.
Are Warrants Accessible from the Registry?
Warrants for Arrest are rarely filed with the court. However, if they are, the public may have access after the execution of the warrant, unless a sealing order or other court order restricts or limits access. The public may not access unexecuted warrants and registry staff cannot provide any information about unexecuted warrants. For more information on the Court Record Access policy click here.
Outstanding Warrants and Welfare
As of June 1, 2010, if there is an outstanding arrest warrant for an indictable or hybrid offence anywhere in Canada, welfare may not be available in BC.
Accused - Information Section
How the Criminal Justice System Works
B.C. Prosecution Services
Locations and Contact
Legal Services Society
• Over the phone through the LSS province-wide Call Centre at 604.408.2172 (Greater Vancouver) 1.866.577.2525 (elsewhere in BC), or
• In person at local legal aid offices, see the list here: www.lss.bc.ca/legal_aid/legalAidOffices.php