Arrest warrant

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An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by a public officer which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.


Arrest warrants in the United States

Warrants are typically issued by courts but can also be issued by houses of Congress or other legislatures (via the call of the house motion) and other political entities.

In the United States, an arrest warrant must be supported by a signed and sworn affidavit showing probable cause that:

1. A specific crime has been committed, and

2. The person(s) named in the warrant committed said crime.

Hence, the form and content of an arrest warrant may be similar to the following:

Municipal Court, Springfield Judicial District
To any peace officer of the realm: Complaint upon oath having been brought before me that the crime of larceny has been committed, and accusing Nelson Muntz of the same, you are hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and bring that person before me. Bail may be admitted in the sum of $1,000.00. Dated: 15 May 1997. /s/ Bill Wright, presiding judge.

In most jurisdictions, an arrest warrant is required for misdemeanors that do not occur within view of a police officer. However, as long as police have the necessary probable cause, a warrant is usually not needed to arrest someone suspected of a felony.

A bench warrant is a variant of the arrest warrant. A bench warrant usually commands the arrest of someone for failing to show for a required court appearance.

Conviction rates of arrestees

Arrest Warrants in Canada

Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under section 83.29 of the Criminal Code. The judge must be satisfied that the person named in the warrant is (a) is evading service of the order, is about to abscond, or did not attend the examination, or did not remain in attendance, as required by the order.

Once the warrant has been issued section 29 of the Code requires that the arresting officer must give notice to the accused of the existence of the warrant, the reason for it, and produce it if requested.




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