If you are arrested, you may have dozens of thoughts racing through your head, like: are you obligated to answer questions? Is there someone you can talk to for advice? What are your options?
Upon being detained, your rights may not be clear to you immediately. But rest assured, there are protections in place for these situations.
In Canada, you have a right to speak with a lawyer as soon as you are arrested or detained. This is when you’re legally required to answer questions or remain with the police. If you are arrested, you can immediately ask for a phone to call your lawyer. The police are obligated to inform you of this right.
We’re going to review a few of your rights to give you a clearer idea of what you should do in this situation:
When Can You Call Your Lawyer?
According to Section 10(b) of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you have the right to immediately obtain legal counsel from a lawyer following an arrest or detention. Providing detainees with access to legal advice helps them make informed decisions about whether they’ll participate in the investigation.
Although you have the right to call a lawyer as soon as possible, some factors may delay this. These include:
- Car accidents or other incidents where people are injured and require medical attention
- Dangerous, volatile, and time-sensitive situations
- When the detainee is receiving medical treatment in a hospital
The police should provide you with a phone to use—you will most likely be unable to use your own.
You also have the right to choose which lawyer you’d like to speak with. As such, you may need a phonebook or the Internet to locate the number of a lawyer.
What If My Lawyer Doesn’t Answer The Phone?
If you don’t have a lawyer, you could provide answers and statements that will be used as incriminating evidence against you. Following an arrest, you may not be in the best frame of mind, which might result in inaccurate responses to questions.
Even if your lawyer does not pick up immediately, you can call them several times until they do. The police are not allowed to take the phone away after a single call. To exercise your rights fully, you should pursue all avenues of contact, such as:
- Obtaining contact information from others
- Calling multiple phone numbers of that lawyer
- Contacting a secretary or assistant
You can choose to leave a message after a reasonable amount of time has passed. Then, you can decide to call another lawyer for assistance. The police are not allowed to question you while you’re waiting to hear back from a lawyer.
What If My Rights Are Violated?
If the police do not allow you to contact a lawyer, the evidence they gather may not be usable. This includes statements obtained during an investigation.
Protect yourself by hiring criminal defence lawyers in Winnipeg. At Brodsky Amy & Gould, we can arm you with the knowledge that you need in these critical situations. Contact us today for experienced legal counsel.