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Police Powers: Stops and Searches

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What are my rights if I am arrested or detained?

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Canadian Constitution, sets out your rights.

If you are arrested or detained, you must be:

  • told why you have been arrested or detained,
  • told immediately that you have the right to a lawyer,
  • told about Legal Aid and your right to free legal advice, and
  • allowed to speak to a lawyer, in private, as soon as possible, if you ask to do so.

If you are under 18

If you are under the age of 18, you should also be told that you do not have to say anything and that anything you say may be used as evidence against you. You should be told that you have the right to contact your parents or guardian and to have them with you, if you want them there, when you talk to police. You should be allowed to contact your parents or guardian. You do not have to choose between calling your parents or guardian and calling your lawyer. You can do both.

If you ask to speak to a lawyer

If you ask to speak to a lawyer, the police should stop questioning you. And if you have been arrested, the police should give you the 24‑hour, toll‑free number to get free legal advice from duty counsel. This is a lawyer provided by Legal Aid Ontario.

Once you have spoken to a lawyer, the police may continue to ask you questions. Even if you say that you do not want to answer, they can continue to ask. However, you have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer.