What Are Your Rights If You Are Arrested or Detained

October 27, 2021

If you have been arrested or detained, it is essential to know your rights with the police. This post will discuss your constitutional rights upon arrest according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We will examine how a Toronto criminal defence lawyer can help your case. 

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a part of the Canadian Constitution, which sets out rules and laws about how our country operates. In the Charter, Section 9 and 10 deal with legal matters and your rights when you are under arrest or detained by police. 

Your Rights Upon Arrest

1. To be informed of why you are under arrest or detained. 

If the police have arrested you, you have the right to promptly be told the reasons for your arrest or detention. You can also ask the police why they are arresting you. According to section 9 in the Charter, the police cannot arrest you without a good reason and must have reasonable grounds for detaining a person. Police can stop a person driving in a car for any reason. 

2. You have the right to remain silent.

If you are arrested or detained, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions that the police ask you. 

3. You have the right to legal counsel right away and to be told about this right.

If you are arrested, you have the right to a lawyer and to speak with them right away.  The police also need to inform you about this right as soon as possible. 

They should also let you know about legal aid or duty counsel available in your area. This is a lawyer provided by Legal Aid Ontario. You have the right to be told that you have access to free legal services and provide you with a telephone to contact your lawyer. 

4. You have the right to speak to a lawyer in private right away

Once you have obtained a lawyer, you have the right to talk to your lawyer in private. The police do not need to allow you to speak to your lawyer unless you request it.

The police cannot continue questioning you until you have had the chance to speak to your lawyer once you have requested it. 

Once you have spoken with your lawyer, the police can continue questioning you and assume you have the legal advice you need. You still do not need to answer any questions.

5. You have the right to ask a judge if your arrest was legal

If you are arrested, you can request a judge to determine the validity of your arrest or detention by way of habeas corpus. If it is not lawful, you can ask them to order your release.

If You Are Under 18

If you are under the age of 18, different rules and criminal rights apply upon your arrest. 

The police should inform you that: 

  • You do not have to say anything, and that anything you say may be used as evidence against you. 
  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer.
  • You have the right to contact your parents or guardians
  • You have the right to have your lawyer and your parents or guardians with you during questioning. 
  • If you ask to speak to a lawyer, the police should stop questioning you. They should also provide you with a free 24-hour, toll-free number for legal aid if you do not have a lawyer. 

If you have been arrested or detained, it is wise to contact an experienced defence lawyer as soon as possible who can help you navigate your case. Evidence presented early can often determine if you will serve jail time and can significantly affect the outcome of your case. William Jaksa is an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto with over ten years of experience defending clients. Contact him for a consultation on your case today.

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