Know and Exercise Your Legal Rights
Upon arrest, the Common Law and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms purport to give you rights that you should exercise. Whether they want to or not, the police are required to not only advise you that you have the right to speak to a lawyer, they also must give you the opportunity to speak with a lawyer if you so wish. As well, you have the “right to silence”. That is, you do not have to speak to the Police.
A lot of times people think that if you say you want to speak to a lawyer, ‘they’ will think you are guilty. Well, the Police already think you are guilty, otherwise they wouldn’t have arrested you, and the fact you spoke to a lawyer makes no difference in an actual Court of Law. If the Police have demanded you come to the police station (handcuffed or not) to be questioned, or if you have been arrested, and you are in an Interrogation Room being questioned on video, you are not talking yourself out this situation, no matter what the interrogating officer might say.
Call a lawyer, and call the lawyer you want. If you cannot get a hold of the lawyer you want, the Police must put you in touch with Duty Counsel. Duty Counsel are lawyers. They will give you advice. Most likely, he or she will tell you “Don’t talk to the police”. That is, exercise your ‘right to silence’.
However, while you have the ‘right to silence’, the police have the right to keep questioning you. It is important to understand that Canada, unlike United States, does not have Miranda rights. In Canada, adults do not have the right to have a lawyer present when they are being interrogated. As well, you can say to the police “I don’t want to talk to you” and it doesn’t mean anything. Your lawyer can tell the Police you do not wish to speak with them. It doesn’t mean anything. The Police can and will ignore your desire not to speak with them. They can continue to interrogate you, in some cases our Firm has dealt with, for over ten (10) hours straight.
Realize, when the police have you, you are outmanned and outgunned. You are powerless – a bound sheep amongst wolves. The police have specific training to get you to talk. They are allowed to lie to you, telling you certain evidence exists when it does not. They can manipulate and twist everything you say. In some cases, they have been able to convince absolutely innocent people to confess to crimes they did not commit. There are far too many people who been exonerated as being “wrongfully convicted” having spent years – sometimes most of their life – in jail for a crime they did not commit.
There is only one real way to protect yourself when you are arrested:
DON’T SAY ANYTHING!!!
NOT ONE WORD!!!
NOT EVEN YOUR NAME!!!
Put your head down on the table and ignore the Interrogator. Ignore any insults or attempts to engage you in small talk. Ignore any suggestion that they care about you. They don’t. They believe you are guilty, and all they want is you to confess. If you are resolutely silent, at some point the Police will give up and put you back in a cell.
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