2. Ask to talk to a lawyer and remain silent

What if the police don't let me leave after they arrest me?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
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2. Ask to talk to a lawyer and remain silent

If you’ve been arrested ask to talk to a lawyer right away. Just say, "I want to talk to a lawyer." The rights related to talking to a lawyer are called the right to counsel. Always talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police.

If you tell the police that you want to use your right to counsel, the police should not question you until after you've talked to your lawyer, but they are allowed to complete their searches and usually their booking procedure before you talk to the lawyer.

If you do not speak or understand English, tell the police so that they can take steps to make sure that legal advice is given through an interpreter or a lawyer who speaks your language.

You are allowed to call someone who is not a lawyer if the purpose of the phone call is to get help to find a lawyer.

If you still do not understand your rights after talking to a lawyer you should clearly tell the police. The police may have a duty to give you the opportunity to talk to another lawyer.

Services while in custody

If you need to talk to a lawyer while you’re in custody, the police must tell you about the Brydges duty counsel service. This is a service provided by Legal Aid Ontario. It gives free legal advice to anyone in Ontario who is detained or arrested. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service is available in English, French, and any other language through an interpreter.

Tell the police officer that you want to talk to duty counsel if you don’t have your own criminal lawyer. The officer should call the hotline for you and let you speak with duty counsel in private. If duty counsel is not available, the officer can leave a message and duty counsel should call you back within 30 minutes.

Remain silent

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects your right to remain silent. You don't have to answer questions from the police. Anything you say to the police may be used as evidence if you're charged with an offence.

If the police don’t let you leave after they arrest you

Tell your lawyer where the police are taking you for your bail hearing. If you don’t have your own lawyer and are using legal aid services, there will be a duty counsel at the courthouse to help you with your bail hearing.

Your lawyer or duty counsel will help you prepare a plan of release and present it to the court.

You May Also Need

Legal Aid Ontario
Law Society Referral Service
Reviewed: December 31, 2016

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