Do I have a right to a lawyer if I’m arrested?

1. Ask to talk to a lawyer

What to say

If you've been , ask to talk to a lawyer right away.

Just say, “I want to talk to a lawyer.” The police should stop questioning you as soon as you ask for a lawyer. You don't have to say anything else. If the police keep asking questions, do not say anything. Ask again to talk to a 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.

Your rights

The rights related to talking to a lawyer are called the right to counsel. The police must tell you about your right to counsel without delay.

Your right to counsel helps protect you from self-incrimination. Anything you say to the police can be used later in court as . By talking to a lawyer right away when you're being or arrested, you greatly reduce the risk that you'll say or do something to incriminate yourself.

Talking to a lawyer also helps you understand your rights and what the police are allowed to do. After talking to a lawyer, you will make better decisions about how you deal with the police during the investigation or arrest.

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 , 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 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.

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