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Do I have to answer questions from the police when stopped on the road?

Question
Do I have to answer questions from the police when stopped on the road?

Glossary

Clear language definitions to common legal terms. 

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Reviewed: 
October, 2016
Answer

In most situations, you don’t have to answer questions from the police. But it’s a good idea to be polite if you’re stopped and questioned.

Motor vehicle accidents

If you’re in a motor vehicle accident you may be required by law to give a statement to the police. This statement is called an accident report. You are required by law to give police the information necessary to complete the report.

Your accident report cannot be used against you as self-incriminating evidence, but making an untrue statement is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act. Also, if you lie to the police, you can be charged with obstructing justice.

When driving a vehicle

If you're stopped while driving a vehicle, you must show the following to the police when asked:

  • your driver’s licence
  • your vehicle’s registration
  • proof of insurance documents

You don’t have to say anything to the police. Just show them the documents. Anything you say to the police can be used as evidence if you're charged with a criminal offence.

If you don’t show the police your documents, you can be charged with a provincial offence under the Highway Traffic Act. It is a provincial offence to not show the police your insurance card.

When riding a bicycle

The police can stop you while you’re riding a bicycle if they think you’ve broken a provincial or municipal traffic law. If this happens, you must give the police your name and address. If you refuse, they can arrest you. They will keep you until they figure out who you are so they can give you a ticket. You don’t have to show them a licence.

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