I think the police want to question me about a crime that occurred, what should I do?
The police have a duty to investigate crime. Therefore, whenever someone makes an allegation about a crime the police will generally investigate that complaint. Police will often start their investigation by asking questions of those people that may know something about the allegation, including investigating the suspect(s).
The choice to cooperate with the police, whether as a witness or as a potential suspect, is up to the individual. Generally speaking there is no requirement that a person assist in a police investigation unless they are required by a specific law to do so, or are compelled by a judicial Order (such as a production order). As an arrested or detained accused, the person has a complete right not to cooperate with the police except in very narrow circumstances (such as being required to provide a breath sample). These examples where a person is required to cooperate are very rare, and are best addressed by speaking to a lawyer on whether there is such an obligation.
Speaking to a lawyer can assist you in understanding whether or not it would be in your best interest to speak to police, whether you are required to, or whether you should exercise your right to silence. Fortunately under Canadian law, any time a person is detained by police, they have a constitutional right to know what they are being detained for as set out in section 10(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). That person under detention also has a right to retain and instruct counsel (a lawyer) immediately as well as to be informed of that right.
Failure to inform you of these rights or to properly implement them may result in a remedy later on in court if you are charged. It is therefore always a very wise decision to speak to a lawyer immediately upon arrest or detention so that your rights are protected, so that you do not refuse to cooperate when you might be required to do so, and so that you do not provide the police with details that may be very damaging to your case at a later occasion. There is no greater right when under arrest then the right to counsel and effective legal advice; be sure to exercise it.
Call (416) 999-8389 to speak to a lawyer immediately.
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