Your right to remain silent is constitutionally protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If the police want to speak to you, in most cases, you are under no obligation to speak or provide any information. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule that we will discuss later in the blog.
However, as far as criminal investigations are concerned, you are not obligated to assist in any way. If you don’t know how to cooperate, or whether you should cooperate with the police, try and consult your lawyer before providing any information. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help advise you regarding the information you should and should not share.
Also Read: How To Find A Good Criminal Defence Lawyer
This Does Not Mean You Can Lie
The right to remain silent is often confused or mistaken by individuals as an opportunity to lie to the police. However, it is imperative to understand that while you have the right to remain silent and withhold information, you are in no way allowed to lie to the police.
Lying to a police officer who is conducting a criminal investigation is an offence that might be constituted as “obstructing a peace officer” or “obstruction of justice.”
These are serious offences and if you are caught lying to or misleading an officer, it will affect your ability to defend yourself in court.
Why Do The Police Want To Meet You?
If you have been summoned by the police or you were told to report to the police station, there is a chance that the police are either investigating you for a criminal offence or they have enough evidence to arrest you.
However, in some cases, the police will also call in individuals to ask for their alibi or to confirm their whereabouts. Moreover, in some cases, the police might suspect someone but might not have enough evidence to arrest the individual. In these cases, they call the person to the precinct in hopes that the suspect says something or admits to a crime so that they can formally place the individual under arrest.
Thus, if the police want to meet you, it is better to call a lawyer and exercise your right to remain silent in the absence of your lawyer.
Are You Being Investigated For A Criminal Offence?
If the police think you may have committed a crime or an offence, you might be asked to come into the precinct and submit a statement. In most cases, the police are hoping that you will spill something that will make the case easier for them. Hence, in a situation like this, it is best to not talk in the absence of your lawyer.
Even if you are innocent and the police just want your statement, it is not advised that you talk without a lawyer. Remember that you might be guilty of committing a crime even if you think you are innocent. In another scenario, you might have been an accessory to a crime without knowing.
Off The Record Statement
When you are talking to a police officer, there is no such thing as an off the record statement. Anything you tell a police officer can be used against you hence it is imperative that you are very careful while sharing details.
Anything you admit to an officer over a phone call, text message or any other means of communication is considered a statement and evidence.
Conditions Under Which The Right To Remain Silent Are Waived
Some conditions under which you must provide the police with some information include:
- In case of an arrest, you have to provide your name, address, and date of birth.
- If your vehicle is involved in an accident, you have to explain the details.
- If you are participating in a regulated activity you may have to talk to the regulators.
Who Can You Talk To?
If you have a statement to record or are wondering who you can talk to, to get legal advice, then it is best to consult a lawyer. Lawyers are bound to keep the information confidential under the solicitor-client privilege.
About Slaferek Law
Slaferek lawyers are highly proficient at strategizing effective defence strategies that can lead to case dismissal, reduced charges, reduced penalties, and more. To get in touch with us today, click here. Our expertise lies in criminal cases and DUI cases.
If you are scrambling with charges or are looking for a good criminal defence lawyer to fight your case, our team of trained lawyers can help you build a strong case. We have successfully closed hundreds of cases pertaining to murder, DUI, financial fraud and more.