If You are Arrested

Last updated on June 8, 2021

If you are accused or suspected of committing a crime, the police can arrest you.

In some cases, police will get a warrant for your arrest from a judge. A warrant is written permission, given by a court, to carry out a certain action. But there are many situations where police can arrest you without a warrant, including when:

  • A police officer sees you committing a crime
  • A police officer has reasonable grounds to believe you have committed or are about to commit a serious crime
  • You have broken any law and will not tell the police your name and where you live
  • A police officer has reasonable grounds to think you have a mental disorder and are dangerous
  • You are drunk or high in public

No matter how or why you are arrested, it is important to co-operate with police. If you resist a search or arrest, you could be injured or charged for preventing police from carrying out their duty. 

If police decide not to arrest you on the spot, they may give you an appearance notice or promise to appear. These are legal documents telling you when to show up in court. If you do not show up at court, you could face other criminal charges.

If police arrest you on the spot, they might release you later and give you an appearance notice or a notice to appear. Again, you must attend court at the time noted on either document or risk having other charges brought against you.

The police might release you without giving you an appearance notice, but later send you one or arrest you with a warrant. Often, police will not have the warrant with them, but they must show or tell you about the warrant.

If the police do not release you after you are arrested, they must bring you in front of a judge within 24 hours for a bail hearing.

For more information about being arrested, see:

More Information

For other information, please visit:

Criminal Justice Glossary

Check our alphabetical list of criminal justice terms along with their definitions.