What to Do if you are being Investigated?
Knowing your rights when you are suspected of committing an offence is essential. If someone is investigating you, it’s important to know what actions will turn up your guilt.
If you are arrested or detained, ask why.
You have the right to know why you are being arrested or detained, be searched reasonably, remain silent and speak to a lawyer.
You must comply with all police requests, exceptions being refusing to speak about your case. Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects persons from arbitrary detention. Detention includes physical constraint by police as well as psychological constraint. Psychological constraint involves situations where you feel you have no choice but to comply with police requests.
Speak to a lawyer before speaking with the police.
You do not need to answer any questions without first speaking with a lawyer. Anything you say can be used as evidence against you in court. Even if officers just want to chat and ask you a few questions, you have the right to remain silent. It is essential that you speak to a lawyer before agreeing to or admitting to anything.
Do not obstruct an investigation or destroy evidence.
If you lie to the police or are obstructive, they will accuse you of obstructing justice. Do not deny information either. It is better to remain silent than to intentionally or unintentionally obstruct an investigation.
Always avoid destroying any evidence that may be relevant to an investigation. You should not delete computer files, recycle files or get rid of materials that might make it look like you are destroying evidence. Destroying evidence can lead to accusations of crimes like obstructing justice. You might be destroying evidence without meaning to when you destroy your data.
Do not consent to any form of search.
Police have the power to search you if they think it might be necessary.
Police have the discretion to search incidents to arrest because they had reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion. In a valid search, a police officer must have evidence to justify the legality of their search.
Any other search of your home, vehicle, other property or person requires authorization by a search warrant. Police must have a reasonable belief that there is evidence somewhere in order to get a warrant. Section 8 of the Charter protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. A person is giving up their human rights by consenting to a search request without receiving advice from a lawyer.
Do not speak about any charges with the public or post on social media.
Your family may be able to use your posts on social media against you, so be sure not to make any wrong statements in the future. It is important not to talk about the police encounter with anyone else as well as lawyers.
To protect themselves, people should understand their rights and seek out legal advice. If you are looking for more information and want to discuss your situation in more detail, you can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.
We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information. Should you require assistance, please contact our office to book a free initial consultation.