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

5. Let the police do their search

The police are legally allowed to search you under certain conditions when you’re being or . The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. This means the police must conduct their search in a reasonable manner. They aren’t allowed to destroy your property for no reason. If the police do their search in a way that is not reasonable, a court may later decide that the they found can’t be used against you.

What the police are allowed to do

When you’re being detained, the police can pat you with their hands to search for weapons. This is to make sure you’re not a threat to the police or public safety. They aren’t allowed to empty your pockets, purse, knapsack, or other type of bag. They are only allowed to frisk you to find and take away weapons.

When you’re being arrested, the police can search you and your immediate surroundings, which include:

  • you
  • your clothing
  • anything you’re carrying, including your knapsack or purse
  • your cell phone, if you do not have a password. If you have a password you do not have to give it to the police
  • your car if that’s where you’re arrested

When you’re being arrested, the police can conduct a more thorough search. They can search you to:

  • find evidence related to the you’re being arrested for
  • prevent you from destroying evidence
  • protect the police or public
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