What to (not) do if you are arrested

December 10, 2015

 

You have a right to remain silent. It sounds cliche but it's true, and you should exercise that right. Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides you with that right so that you aren't compelled to incriminate yourself.

 

Why is it so important? At it's most basic, anything you say will be used to help convict you if at all possible. If you are being investigated for a crime, the police are not your friend, and they are looking for evidence against you. It is unfortunate in some cases where people couldn't help but spill the beans, and that confession was the lynchpin of the case.

 

A second reason you should say nothing is that there is an information imbalance at the early stages of an investigation, where the police know more than you. Some people try and outsmart the police by providing an exculpatory statement. This can be problematic though because police might have independent evidence that contradicts your story like video surveillance footage. If you feel like you must proivde a statement, it is worth waiting until you have received full disclosure.

 

A third reason you should say nothing is that it is unlikely going to be very helpful to you to confess to the police in terms of leniency. In practice Judges seldom differentiate between a case where the accused has confessed and a case where they haven't in terms of sentencing, and the police will seldom let you off with a warning.

 

I am available 24 hours a day at 250-540-9798 in the event that you are arrested and need legal counsel.

 

 

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