What do you do if you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offence?
Remember it is your right to remain silent and call Carolynn at Conron Law: 519-933-2273
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, anyone has the power to arrest a person without a warrant if, among other things, they find them committing an indictable offence or if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person committed a criminal offence. A peace officer has somewhat broader powers to arrest without warrant but ultimately they must have reasonable and probable grounds.
If you are arrested or detained, you have a constitutional right under s. 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be informed promptly of the reasons, to be informed of your right to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be released if the detention is not valid or lawful.
In the majority of cases, it is important to remain silent. Your right to remain silent is founded on the principle that you have no obligation to give evidence to assist an investigation against you. The charges are allegations only. You do not have to dignify them with a response. You may not realize how your words may be used as evidence. However, even simple answers or admissions provide the police with information they may use against you. Denying the allegations is often discounted as self-serving, whereas admissions against your interest are often given more weight as evidence of a guilty mind.
You are presumed innocent unless and until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you do have a legal defence, excuse or justification you can put this forward through your legal counsel at a later stage.
You may be released from the police station on an Undertaking or Recognizance with a Summons or Appearance Notice. If you are released, pay careful attention to any dates and conditions. Breaching the conditions of an Undertaking or Recognizance is a separate criminal offence. Even if the original charges are dismissed, you may still be found guilty of a breach, contrary to s. 145 of the Criminal Code.
If you are not released, you will be brought to court where a Crown attorney has the discretion to consent to your release with or without sureties. The release is usually with conditions and without the deposit of money. If they do not consent to your release, you must have a bail hearing where a Justice of the Peace will determine whether you can be released and on what conditions.
The grounds for detaining someone are enumerated in s. 515 of the Criminal Code. The issues are whether the person would attend court, if there a substantial likelihood they will commit further offences or interfere with the administration of justice, or if the detention is necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice.