Being arrested and accused of a crime is a stressful experience. You may need clarification about what you should do next and whether or not you should speak to the police. To ensure your legal rights are protected in situations like these, it is essential to know your rights. Every Canadian citizen has rights, which are outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These rights are in place to protect your privacy and liberty and form part of the foundation of the Canadian legal system. If you do not know your rights and how to use them to protect yourself, you could be at risk of putting yourself in greater legal jeopardy. So, do you have to speak with the police when you are arrested in Saskatchewan? In most cases, we recommend not speaking to the police without speaking with a lawyer first, especially if you are being accused of or charged with a crime. The criminal lawyers at Andrews Benko & Associates are here to provide you with the information you need to know if the police stop you so you can protect your rights. Read on to learn more.
When Can the Police Stop You?
While the police cannot stop and question you for no reason, there are circumstances where they are allowed to stop you. In Saskatchewan, there are three general reasons why a police officer might stop you:
- They see you committing a crime (assault, theft, vandalism).
- They suspect you of committing a crime (you fit the description of a suspect they are looking for).
- If you are driving (check for registration, they suspect you are under the influence).
Unless you have been detained or arrested, you do not have to answer any further questions and are free to go. To determine this, you can simply ask the officer if you are under arrest or being detained. If the officer says no, you can leave. If the officer says yes, you should ask why you are being detained or for what you are being arrested. You have the right to know why the police are detaining or arresting you.
Do I Have to Answer the Police's Questions?
Generally, you are not obligated to answer any questions the police ask you. As per the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you have the right to remain silent or to not self-incriminate. However, you should always be friendly and polite when dealing with a police officer. If the police pull you over while you are driving, they are typically allowed to ask you questions regarding your driver's licence, insurance and registration. If you are pulled over, the police will ask to see your driver's licence, registration and proof of insurance. You are required by law to provide this information, and refusing to do so may result in you being charged with a criminal offence.
If the police suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test or to provide a breathalyzer to determine if you are intoxicated. If you fail to comply with this request, you will be charged with refusing a breathalyzer. If you blow at or over .08, the officer may arrest and charge you with impaired driving. Regardless of the reason you have been arrested or detained by the police, you have the right to be informed of the reason. The police are also required to inform you of your right to speak with a lawyer and to give you a chance to do so before asking any questions. Anything you say to the police may be used against you in court. This is why speaking with a lawyer before answering any questions is essential.
Can the Police Search My Car?
The police may not search your car when they pull you over unless you permit them to, they see you committing a crime in the vehicle or if you have been arrested. They can, however, look in the windows of your car. If they see any illegal substances or weapons in your vehicle in plain view, they can then place you under arrest and will then have the grounds to search your vehicle for the purpose of their investigation and officer safety.
Can the Police Search Me?
In most cases, the police aren't generally allowed to search you unless you have consented to a search or have been placed under arrest. If the officer insists on searching you, make it clear that you do not consent to the search. It is essential that you do not fight or resist, as it could result in you being arrested and criminally charged. If the police searched you illegally, your lawyer will be able to address this afterwards.
If the police suspect you are involved in a crime, they may temporarily detain you. They cannot conduct a full body search but only pat you down for officer safety. If you are detained, even if you are suspected of a crime, you are not required to answer any of the police's questions. If you are arrested, the police can search you and whatever you are carrying (like a backpack, bag or purse). The police will search you upon arrest to ensure the safety of the public and the officers, to uncover evidence related to the offence, and to prevent the destruction of evidence. If the police find any evidence they suspect is related to an offence, you still are not required to answer their questions until you have spoken to a lawyer.
Do I Have to Answer the Police's Questions if I am Arrested?
If you are arrested, it is your right to be immediately informed of the reason for your arrest. If you are not sure of the reason for your arrest, you can ask the police officer for a reason. Remember to remain polite and respectful. You also have the right to speak with a lawyer as soon as you are arrested. If you do not have a lawyer, the police are required to connect you with one for free and provide you with a telephone to make the call. The call to the lawyer must be private, and the police may not ask you any questions until you have spoken with a lawyer. When the police are questioning you, you do not have to answer any of their questions. This is your right to silence. The only information you are required to provide them is in regard to your identity.
Andrews Benko & Associates Can Help If You Need Legal Advice Before Speaking with the Police
Being accused of or charged with a criminal offence can be stressful and confusing. But knowing your rights when you are arrested can save you a lot of trouble down the road. The most important thing to remember is that you are not required to answer any questions the police ask until they have given you a chance to speak with a lawyer. At Andrews Benko & Associates, we know how important it is to protect our clients legal rights, and we can help protect yours as well. We have been providing legal services to clients in Regina, Saskatchewan and the surrounding area for over 60 years. We are committed to providing each client with personalized legal advice and helping them get the best possible results for their case. If you have been accused of or charged with a criminal offence, contact us immediately. We will ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
*Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice concerning your particular situation can only be given by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all the necessary information to give you a formal legal opinion.*