If the police are talking to you, it is because they want a reason to arrest you. SHUT UP.

POLICE RECORDS

Understand this: Police records and files on you will never be erased. Records of every contact with you, every complaint by a neighbour, arrest, charge, acquittal, stay, discharge, diversion and conviction are kept permanently by the police regardless of the outcome.

If you talk to the police, you will just give them the excuse they need to arrest you.

Your Arrest and Charge: What to Expect

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU ARE ARRESTED?

The police must explain all of these rights to you if you are arrested or detained.

 

  • You have the right:
  • To be informed promptly of the reason you have been arrested or detained.
  • To retain and instruct a lawyer without delay and to be informed of that right.
  • To telephone any lawyer you wish. Free legal aid lawyers are available.
  • To free advice from a legal aid lawyer.
  • The words "without delay" mean once the situation is under control and the safety of everyone is ensured.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, you have the right to speak with a parent or other appropriate adult as soon as possible.

If the police have contacted you, or stopped you on the street, it is because they believe you have committed an offense and intend to arrest and charge you with something. It is not a social call.

Be polite to the police. Angering them will not help your situation and often results in their finding additional reasons to charge you and additional charges.

You are entitled to ask them why they are stopping you. They must have "reasonable and probable grounds." However, cooperate with them at this stage. Do not play lawyer, or be rude or insulting. But be very discreet in answering their questions. Do not lie, but if you do not wish to answer a question, just say so.

You will not talk your way out of an arrest if they intend to charge you. The officer is doing his job and a good arrest looks good on his record.

The Arrest and Charge: What to Expect

While you do not have to identify yourself unless you are under arrest, it is probably better to cooperate with the police and not to provoke them or make them think you have something to hide

Show them your id when asked. Give them your name, address and birth date. (If you refuse to identify yourself, you can taken to the station and held until they can identify you.) If you lie about who you are, you can be charged with obstructing justice or the police.

Identify Yourself

The officer may ask you to sign his notes. Decline politely. Do not sign it under any circumstances. It is like giving a stranger a signed blank cheque. Police often fabricate their notes to cover errors, make up evidence and cover their actions.

Do Not Sign the Police Note Book

Search

The police can do a pat down search if they arrest you. Do not resist.

Strip Searches

The police cannot strip search you unless there are very good reasons. They cannot just do it to embarrass, humiliate or intimidate you, although they frequently do so in violation of the law

If you have been contacted by the police or if you expect to be charged with a criminal offence, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer.

Alibi

Disclosure of your alibi is not required. However if it will definitely clear you, you should give them your alibi or at least tell them your lawyer will disclose it.

Click here Refer to "R. v. Cleghorn" if you wish more on the law of disclosing alibis.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held in R. v. Russell, 67 C.C.C. 28, that where an alibi is not set up at an early stage in the proceedings, the trial judge is entitled to comment on the fact and the alibi is thereby considerably weakened.

If you disclose your alibi:

Keep it simple. Do not elaborate. Tell them just enough to verify your alibi and nothing more. Then shut up. If you don't disclose your alibi in a "timely" manner, the alibi will be given less weight in court. The logical assumption is that you had time to fabricate an alibi and get someone to lie for you.

Politely refuse to answer any other questions.

The police may formally arrest you at any point. They must tell you when you are under arrest, under what charge and give you your rights.

If you resist, the police have an excuse to beat the crap out of you.

When a police officer decides to arrest you and lay a charge, you may or may not taken to the police station.

 

 

The police have two options:

Release You: You can be released on your promise to appear. This can be done at the scene or they may take you to the station and then release you.

  • If you are released, you will be given one or more of the following documents:
  • A promise to appear
  • An undertaking to an officer
  • A summons to an accused

 

Detain You: The officer can detain you, take you to the station, and lock you up in a cell pending a bail hearing. If they hold you, you will be locked up in a jail cell for a while and will be brought before the Court or a Justice of the Peace for a bail hearing.

Arrest and Charge: Will You Be Detained or Released?

Finger Printing and Photograph

Typically there is also a promise to appear at the police station in order to be finger printed and photographed under The Identification of Criminals Act.

People very understandably, often take offence to having their finger prints and photographs taken.

 Regardless, make certain you attend to have them taken at the appointed time. If you do not attend you will be charged with failure to appear, for which the crown quite often seeks a jail sentence.

Once acquitted, you can ask that the fingerprints and photos be destroyed. However, the local police will keep records of your arrest on file forever.

The police wish to obtain as many fingerprints as possible in order to better solve crimes. Police often fingerprint those charged with petty hybrid offences when there is no need for fingerprints at that time. These fingerprints, however, can be used to identify the person in future crimes.

While they are supposed to be destroyed when acquitted, it is not likely that they are. The police play fast and loose with the rules when it suits them.

They also lie in court and falsify their note books and records.

What is an Appearance Notice or Promise to Appear?

When you have been arrested, the office may issue you an appearance notice or similar notice. It is basically a promise that you will appear as ordered in court at a specified date, time and location to answer to the charge listed in the notice

An officer may phone and request that you attend the police station in order to be arrested and charged.

 

Ask for time to consult a lawyer before coming in. Usually the police will agree.

 

You do not generally want to turn yourself in on a Friday afternoon or a holiday and be held over in custody until Monday.

 

If you do not attend the officer may obtain a warrant for your arrest, or may arrest you directly without warrant if he believes you were committing a crime.

If you are wanted by the police, it is best if you arrange to turn yourself in. First, get a lawyer to find out what the police want and to set up a convenient time for you to turn yourself in so that the police can arrest or book you.

The lawyer may be able to get the police to commit to releasing you after being charged.

If not, the lawyer can usually arrange a convenient time to have the arrest take place so that you can be processed and transferred to court in a timely fashion so that you are likely to get bail the same day. If you get remanded to jail for any reason, it will be extremely difficult to arrange bail, consult your lawyer or reach anyone "outside."

Request to Come to Police Station

Turning Yourself In

Do not talk to anyone in the jail cells. They may inform on you.
Not sure what to do? Ask CanLaw to find a lawyer or paralegal who can coach you
Guide to the criminal law process
Copyright © 1996 - CanLaw Inc.

This is not legal advice, it is information

Lay Person's Guide To The Criminal Prosecution Process

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