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What are my rights if the police approach me and ask questions?

Question
What are my rights if the police approach me and ask questions?

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Reviewed: 
October, 2016
Answer

The police can approach you and ask questions at any time. You don't have to stop and talk to the police if you don't want to. But it’s a good idea to be polite. Your rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You don’t have to stop and let the police ask you questions unless they have:

Even when the police arrest or detain you, you do not have to answer their questions, and you have certain rights.

Right to remain silent

You have the right to remain silent. In most cases, you don’t have to answer any questions the police ask you. Anything you say to the police may be used as evidence.

Right to be told what's happening

You have the right to be told why you're being arrested or detained.

Right to talk to a lawyer

You have the right to talk to a lawyer. The police must tell you that you have this right. If you tell the police you want to talk to a lawyer, the police must allow you to contact a lawyer. You must be allowed to talk to the lawyer in private.

The police must tell you about Legal Aid Ontario. Legal Aid Ontario pays lawyers known as duty counsel to give free legal advice if you've been arrested or detained. This advice is available 24 hours a day. If you've been arrested or detained, you can contact duty counsel immediately. If they don’t tell you, ask the police for the toll-free phone number for duty counsel.

Learn more about this topic
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)

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