Canadian police officers are for the most part courteous and professional. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist, it makes perfect sense to remain polite when you’re dealing with them. You don’t always need criminal defence lawyers by your side. If you’re ever stopped by Canadian police here are some things you should be aware of:
- Police can stop you in 3 basic situations. If you’re driving, then they can stop you at any time. They can also stop you when you’re biking or walking if they see you committing a crime or if they suspect that you’ve committed a crime.
- Your name and address. Police typically will ask for your name and address when they stop you. They may even ask for ID. Most of the time, you’re not required to give out this info. However, it is never a good idea to lie to the police. If you lie about your name and where you live, you may be charged with obstructing the police or obstructing justice.
When you’re riding your bike, the police can stop you if they see you commit an offence such as blowing past a red stop light. They will ask for your name and address, and you’re required to give out this info. If you don’t, they can arrest you.
The police may also ask to see your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance when they stop you while you’re driving. You have to provide the info they’re asking for. Failure to do so can result in charges against you.
- Questions you can ask. You can ask the police officers directly and politely: “Am I under arrest?” If they say you are under arrest, then you can ask on what charge. If they say you’re not under arrest, ask: “Am I free to go?” If the answer is no, then you can ask why. In general, they either need to arrest you or have grounds to detain you. If they don’t, then they should let you go.
- Answering their questions. Again, it must be emphasized that you must remain polite when you’re dealing with the police. However, in most cases you’re not required to answer their questions.
One exception to this rule is if you’re involved in a car accident. You must answer the questions posed by the police about the incident. If you don’t answer, you can be charged with an offence. Also, most of the time the answers you provide for police accident reports can’t be used as evidence against you, though there may be exceptions to this rule.
- Anything you say can be used in court. The exceptions are the answers you give for the accident reports. Still, for the most part you shouldn’t answer any questions posed by the police until you’ve spoken with your lawyer.
- If you’re detained, you need a lawyer. In fact, police officers are legally bound to inform you that you have the right to talk to an attorney if they detain you for any reason. They also must give you the chance to contact your lawyer.
If you’re given the chance to talk to your lawyer, take it. Your criminal defence lawyers can make sure that none of your rights are violated.
Many of the things in this list are not really rules…