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Police approach me
on the street. Do I have to answer their questions?
While police can lawfully ask you whatever they
wish, you do not have to answer. Even if you have not done anything
wrong, your answers could come back to haunt you. If police are
investigating an offence and ask you questions, it may be best
to politely decline to answer particularly if you are a suspect.
Police ask me to
come to the station for questioning. Should I go? If I do, what
should I say?
It is almost always best not to go or say anything.
You have a right to remain silent. If you do make a statement
to police, signed or oral, the Crown may be able to use it in
evidence against you. If you've been arrested or detained police
must tell you that you can immediately contact a lawyer. If you
say you want to do so, police must hold off further questioning
until you've spoken with one. A lawyer will likely tell you not
to answer police questions. But once you've spoken to a lawyer,
police may question you further.
Generally, it is best to meet with a lawyer before
you co-operate with police. You should fully discuss the benefits
and consequences of co-operation.
Don't lie to police
If you do speak to the police, don't lie. Lying
to police could lead to criminal charges of public mischief, obstruct
police or obstruct justice; a false alibi could become evidence
of consciousness of guilt. The risk of speaking to police is that
even an honest, but mistaken statement, can be later used at your
trial as a prior inconsistent statement to attack your credibility.
If you have an alibi, do not tell police at the time of your arrest;
your lawyer should investigate your alibi before it is disclosed.
Should I take a lie
detector (polygraph) test?
Do not take part in such tests. The results are
not admissible at trial. Police know this but use these tests
to get you to confess. Unlike the test results, your statements
may be used in evidence.
Injured by police?
If in the course of investigation by police you
suffer an injury, it is important to have it viewed by a doctor
as soon as possible. Try and get photos.
Questioning of employees by employer or police
Truth behind the polygraph
Disclaimer: The material on this site is not intended as legal advice. It merely conveys general information on legal issues commonly encountered by persons facing criminal charges in Canada. If you are charged with an offence, you should contact a criminal lawyer.