What are my rights if I’m detained or arrested?

4. Remain silent

What to say

The police can keep asking questions and trying to get a statement from you even after you say that you want to remain silent. If the police are questioning you and you don't want to answer, tell them. Politely say, “I do not wish to give a statement or answer any questions.” Repeat this as often as necessary. By saying this, you make it clear that you have chosen to use your right to remain silent.

Your rights

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects your right to remain silent. In most situations, you don't have to answer any questions the police ask you. Anything you say to the police may be used as if you're charged with an .

If you're being or , the police may caution you before asking for a statement, but they don't have to tell you about your right to remain silent.

It's usually in your best interest to remain silent. It's always in your best interest to wait until you've talked to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions from the police.

If you lie to the police, you can be charged with .

Exception for a motor vehicle accident

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. You can ask the officer if the information is being requested for an accident report or for a criminal investigation. If it is for a criminal investigation, you do not have to say anything.

Your accident report cannot be used against you as evidence of an offence related to the accident, but making an untrue statement is an offence under the . Also, if you lie to the police, you can be charged with obstructing justice.

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