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Know Your Rights

WHAT IF I'M STOPPED BY THE POLICE?
​Three Common Circumstances: 

  1. Suspected of a crime
  2. Seen committing a crime, and
  3. If you're driving. 


FACTS

  • If you’re NOT being arrested/detained the police MUST let you go. 
  • If you are under arrest/detention politely ask “Am I under arrest?” If yes, ask “Why?” On the other hand, ask “Am I free to go?” If no, ask “Why not?” 
  • If being detained the officer MUST allow you to speak with a lawyer and provide an opportunity to do so. DO NOT answer questions until you’ve spoken to a lawyer. 
  • Most cases, if stopped and asked for your name and address or ID you are NOT required to provide it (ie: walking down the street.) 


➔ WHAT IF I’M STOPPED BY THE POLICE WHEN DRIVING? 

  • If asked for a driver's licence, registration and insurance, and it's in the glove department, tell the officer BEFORE reaching for the documents. 
  • If police suspect consumption of alcohol he/she can make you take a roadside test without speaking to a lawyer. However, you do have the RIGHT to speak with a lawyer before taking a “breathalyzer test” at a police station. 
  • If stopped for sobriety, mechanical condition of the car, or insurance the police CANNOT search your car. 
  • The police can only search your car if there is reasonable and probable grounds (ie: drugs or alcohol or evidence relating to a crime in the car.) 


➔ WHEN CAN THE POLICE SEARCH ME? 

  • Most cases, police can ONLY search you if you are under arrest/consented to the search. 
  • You have the RIGHT to be searched privately by the same gender. 
  • 3 Exceptions for being searched: 1. Found searching for drugs or have drugs 2. Transporting or drinking alcohol illegally in a vehicle, and 3. Have an illegal weapon or one used to commit a crime. 


➔ WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IF I’M ARRESTED? 

  • You have the RIGHT to know the reason for the arrest and you have the RIGHT to remain silent. 
  • You have the RIGHT to speak with a lawyer, and the police MUST inform you about Legal Aid and your RIGHT to free legal services. 
  • You MUST be provided a phone and you can make more than one (1) call and in private. The police MUST stop questioning you until you’ve contacted a lawyer, and even after speaking with a lawyer you have the RIGHT to be silent. 


➔ WHAT IF THE POLICE COME TO MY HOME? 

  • Police can come to your home, but you are NOT generally required to answer questions or give permission to enter your home. 
  • 4 Reasons for Entry into Your Home: 1. A warrant to arrest someone 2. Search warrant 3. Permission from you or someone else in authority in the home, and 4. Urgent circumstances (ie: 911 call from the home, emergency services, domestic assault, drug laboratory  etc.) 
  • Make sure the police identify themselves, ask permission to enter, show a copy of the valid warrant, and make sure the information is correct (ie: name and address are listed, and look to see if there are time limits.) 
  • If something is taken that is legally in your possession they are REQUIRED to return it to you within 3 months. If not, contact the police. 


➔ HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT? 

  • CPC is responsible for investigating all complaints against RCMP officers in Canada. Tel: 1-800-665-6878; TTY: 1-866-432-5837 
  • British Columbia - Vancouver Tel: (604) 660-2385; Toll free 1-800-663-7867 ★ For more detailed info visit: www.peelpolice.ca