5. Remain silent

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5. Remain silent

You have the right to remain silent if the police ask you questions.

What to say

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 statement as often as necessary. By saying this, you make it clear that you have chosen to use your right to remain silent.

Your rights

You have the 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 evidence.

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.

Exception for a motor vehicle accident

If you're in a motor vehicle accident, you may have 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.

Your accident report cannot be used against you as self-incriminating evidence. But giving a statement that is untrue is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act. Also, if you lie to the police, you can be charged with obstructing justice.

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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Reviewed: October 17, 2018

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