Paterson was responding to questions about the protest against Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion plans, and the more than two dozen arrests that have been made at that protest.
"First, as the BCCLA and as a lawyer, we never ever recommend people break the law," Paterson said.
"What we tell people is if they decide, for example not to obey a court order in order to send some sort of political message, that they need to be prepared to expect the legal consequences."
Paterson said protesters can be cited for civil contempt of court which is not actually a criminal charge.
"But even the fact that someone is arrested can turn up on records when you try to cross the border or could potentially turn up on an employment search of a police record," he said.