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Your rights and what to do if you are arrested or detained

Your rights

The first right of a person in such a situation is to know the exact reasons for his or her detention or arrest. The police officer must ensure that the language is clear and precise, allowing the person to realize the exact magnitude of the situation.

The second right is to be informed of the possibility of speaking to a lawyer of one’s choice. The peace officer must provide a reasonable opportunity for the person to contact his or her lawyer confidentially and as soon as possible. This does not necessarily mean that the police officer should allow you to call your lawyer the second after your arrest. It must allow you to do so as soon as the situation allows. Most of the time, this will happen once you get to the police station. Of course, any member of the police force must allow you a confidential conversation. It is important to note that the right to consult with a lawyer of one’s choice is not absolute. If your child does not respond within a reasonable time, you may be required to speak to a lawyer at the Legal Aid Child Care Service. This service is free of charge and lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will then be able to contact your private lawyer again so that he or she can represent you in court in due course.


The third right is the right to remain silent.

The Charterprovides that no one is required to incriminate himself. This rule requires the peace officer to inform you of your right to remain silent and ensures that you do not have to cooperate with the police to help them discover the evidence they will use to build their case against you. In theory, you don’t have to identify yourself to the police. However, it is strongly advised not to resist arrest and to answer questions about identification in order to avoid the peace officer detaining you as a security measure or deciding to add a charge of obstruction.

These are, in a nutshell, the three main rights of a person in detention or under arrest. The most important thing to remember is that the officer who detains or arrests you has an obligation to inform you officially of each of these rights, and that they intersect. For example, the police cannot force answers from you after you have listed your rights and before you have a reasonable opportunity to speak to a lawyer. It should technically allow you to consult with your lawyer so that he or she can explain in depth your right to remain silent.

The Rights of Peace Officers

Peace officers do not only have obligations when detained or arrested. They also have rights.

They may detain you until they are certain of your identity.

They may also conduct a frisk search. This is a right granted to them in order to protect them. They can then search you very briefly to make sure that there are no objects that could hurt them in their work. If they find such an object, they can, of course, confiscate it on the spot.

Finally, the peace officer or his or her superior has the power to release you without charge, to release you by having you sign an official document (a summons, promise or undertaking, for example) to compel you to appear in court, or to keep you detained for up to 24 hours so that you can appear before a judge.

What to do if you are detained or placed under arrest

– Make sure you understand the reasons and reasons for your detention.

– Identify yourself to the peace officer.

– Be silent. This tip is the most important. Once your rights have been given to you, anything you say can be used against you at your trial. As a general rule, if the police officer gives you your right to remain silent and you make statements as a result of that, the prosecution will be able to use them against you. This is evidence of great probative value and is difficult to contradict. So I repeat: after you have identified yourselves, DON’T TALK ANYMORE!

– Demand to speak to your lawyer as soon as possible and provide the police with his or her name. It is therefore essential to always know the name of your lawyer.

– Make sure your conversation with the lawyer is confidential.

– If you are released, contact your lawyer as soon as possible so that he or she can study your case.

– Write down anything that happened contemporaneously with the event. This is especially important if you believe there has been an abuse of authority or if the police have not listed the three rights mentioned above.