WHAT IF I AM ARRESTED BY THE POLICE?
You have a legal right to remain silent. Exercise that right. There will be plenty of time for your lawyer to tell your story in court. Once you have been arrested and charged, it is very unlikely that any statement you give will result in a withdrawal of the charges, and it may be used against you as evidence. Even if what you wish to say does not seem incriminating to you, there is no benefit to be gained from taking the risk. Nothing prohibits you from giving a statement to the police later on, after you have talked to a lawyer, if you still wish to do so.
The police will take you to the station to lay the charge and to take routine information, during which time you will be lodged in a cell. Telephone a lawyer at the earliest opportunity. When they are finished the police have several options:
- They may release you on a Promise To Appear. The notice will show the date, time and place you are required to appear before the court.
- They may release you on a Recognizance. The notice will state the you owe an amount of money that will become collectable if you fail to appear for court. If you are not ordinarily resident in the province or within 200 km of the place where you are in custody, you may be required to deposit the amount specified before they release you.
- You may further be required to sign an Undertaking, wherein you agree to abide by certain specified conditions until your charges are dealt with before the courts.
- Instead of releasing you, the police may hold you in order to bring you before a Justice of the Peace for a bail hearing. The Crown may attempt to show cause why you should be kept in custody until your charges are dealt with before the courts.
In this case, you must telephone a lawyer. Simply because the police do not release you from the station does not mean you will be held in custody. Your lawyer, in speaking to the Crown on your behalf, may be able to negotiate terms whereby the Crown will consent to your release. In the alternative, your lawyer will represent you at the show cause hearing.
Once the issue of bail has been dealt with, you should discuss the terms of your release with your lawyer, who will advise you of your responsibilities and any criminal consequences that may arise if you fail to comply with your release conditions. You should also discuss your case in more detail. Aside from a trial or a plea of guilt, your lawyer will be aware of any other options available to you that may assist in resolving the charges. These options include: diversion, restitution, mediation, peace bond proceedings, or, in the case of Young Offenders, the Alternate Measures Program.
The procedure of arrest and show cause hearings will work much the same way as it applies to adults. However, persons under the age of 18 charged with an offence are dealt with pursuant to different rules, and will be tried before a Youth Court judge. Parents or guardians will be notified of the charges. Young people charged with an offence should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the procedure and consequences of the law as it applies to them.