Everyone has the right not to be subject to arbitrary searches and seizures. When you see a police officer, what are your rights? And when can they engage in these actions?
When Can Toronto Law Enforcement Officers Stop You?
The police may stop you in one of three general situations. First, if the police believe you have committed an offence, they may stop you. Second, if the police witness you committing a crime, they can stop you. Third, the police can pull you over at any time while driving to check if you have taken any drugs or alcohol, have insurance, and if the vehicle is roadworthy. After a police stop, you have the right to know why and contact an attorney within a reasonable time. Retaining a skilled criminal defence attorney as quickly as possible is crucial if you have been accused of a crime.
What to Do When Toronto Police Stop You
While you are legally entitled to keep silent when questioned by the police, it is essential to comply and identify yourself. If you do not provide the police with your name in particular situations, you could be prosecuted for impeding the police. You could potentially face charges if you give the police a fake name.
Being Detained By The Police
According to the law, you are detained if the police keep questioning you and refuse to let you go. When you are being held, you have the right to ask why you are being held or arrested and to speak with a lawyer.
Right to Remain Silent
Anything you say to the police can be used against you as evidence, whether or not you have been arrested. This also applies to any physical examinations or voluntary sample submissions that you are required to complete. Even though you may believe that what you tell the police will not be used against you in court, what you say or write could ultimately be used as evidence. Before saying anything to any police officer for protection, you want to speak with a lawyer.
Can the police search you?
In five situations, the police have the right to search you, your belongings, and your person. Which are:
- When you permit a police search of you.
- If the authorities have grounds to believe that you have committed or are currently committing a crime involving a weapon.
- When the police suspect you of having drugs when you are in an area where they are looking for them.
- When alcohol is present in a vehicle.
- After being detained.
Retaining a skilled criminal defence attorney as quickly as possible is crucial if you have been accused of a crime. You are always free to seek legal advice in any of these circumstances and are under no obligation to answer any questions from the police.
While lawfully searching you, the police may also charge you with a different offence if they discover evidence of that offence. For instance, if the police search you because they think you have a gun and discover illegal drugs while searching your person, they can also persecute you for a drug offence.
Although they are prohibited from doing so, police searches should not be resisted or provoked. You may be charged if you refuse a search. Instead, consult a Toronto criminal lawyer as soon as possible to get further information and counsel.
What If The Police Ask You To Come To The Police Station?
A suspect in a crime may occasionally receive a call from the police asking them to visit the station to discuss the incident. Lawyers will tell their clients that they do not need to appear at the police station unless they face charges. The attorney and client will need to discuss whether it would be advantageous to speak with the police, even if it is unnecessary.
Criminal defence attorneys with experience will only suggest their clients speak to the police if:
- Police have stated they are keeping an “open mind” regarding whether or not to charge the client and would want to hear their side of the tale.
- To appropriately counsel the client, the attorney needs enough information from both the police and the client.
- The risk of potentially compromising oneself by speaking to the police has been made known to the client by the attorney if the information provided is subsequently shown to be untrue or helps to establish the client’s guilt.
It is crucial to remember that many details will be unknown to the suspect at this early stage of the criminal procedure, and accusers will be searching for clarifications or admissions of guilt. An accused person might benefit from an expert criminal defence attorney to defend their rights and be able to direct all queries to their attorney by hiring one straight away.
Toronto police can stop, search, and detain anyone they feel is appropriate. However, you have certain rights as a citizen that may protect you from being stopped, searched, or detained by Toronto police. If you have questions about your rights when interacting with Toronto police officers, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.