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What Are Your Rights When Interacting With The Police?

You have rights when interacting with the police.

You have rights when interacting with the police.

What Are Some of The Different Ways Toronto Police Officers May Interact With You?

  • Informal Interactions
  • Investigative Detention
  • Arrest
  • Other Situations

 What Are Informal Interactions With The Police?

  •  An officer may try to speak to you at any time.
  • Your participation is voluntary.
  • You can speak with the officer or you are free to leave at any time.

 What Are Carding Rules in 2017?

  • Carding,  also known as street checks, is a  police practice where the police randomly stop people to collect their personal information.
  • As of January 1st 2017 a new Ontario regulation will ban carding.
  • This regulation will impose strict parameters for Toronto Police to abide within when interacting with the public during informal interactions.
  • Race is prohibited from being any part of a police officer’s reason for asking for someone’s identifying information.
  • police must tell people they have a right not to talk with them, and refusing to co-operate or walking away cannot then be used as reasons to compel information.
  • The police officer must also explain the reason why you are being asked for your information
  • Police officers must offer a written record of any interactions with the public, including their name and badge number, along with information on how to contact the independent police review director.
  • All identifying information collected by officers will have to be submitted within 30 days for review by the local chief of police.

 What is an Investigative Police  Detention?

  • If an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that you are involved in specific criminal conduct, the officer is allowed to detain you.
  • You are not free to leave. The officer is required to explain the reason for the detention.
  • The officer is required to provide you with your right to counsel, including access to Legal Aid under the Charter of Rights.
  • You are not obliged to say anything, whatever you do say may be used as evidence.
  • If the officer is reasonably concerned for their safety, or the safety of others, they may conduct a limited a pat down search to check for weapons
  • After the investigation, the officer is required to either release you or place you under arrest.

 What is an Arrest?

  • The officer is required to tell you that you are under arrest and  explain why.
  • You are not free to leave.
  • The officer is required to provide you with your right to counsel, including access to Legal Aid under the Charter.
  • You are not obliged to say anything, but whatever you do say may be used as evidence.
  • The officer may conduct a search for safety purposes, to search for evidence or to prevent means of escape
  • If you are placed under arrest, the police may search you. They can also search your “immediate surroundings”
  • They can search you incident to arrest as  long as they believe that the search is necessary for the safety of the police and the public, to protect evidence from destruction, or to discover evidence that may relate to your guilt or innocence.

 Can I Call my lawyer?

  • Once you are arrested, or detained you have a right to speak to a lawyer, such as Toronto Defence Lawyers, or any lawyer of your choice.
  • The police must advise you of this right as soon as possible. The police must also tell you about Legal Aid and your right to free legal services.
  • If you wish to contact a lawyer, the police must provide you with a telephone. They must also allow you to make more than one phone call in order to reach a lawyer.
  • The police must also stop questioning you until you have been given an opportunity to contact a lawyer. You have the right to speak to a lawyer in private.
  • Once you have spoken to your lawyer, the police may continue to ask you questions. You do not have to answer these questions.

What Are Other Situations That The Police May Interact With You?

  • Under the Trespass Property Act and The Highway Traffic Act you may be required to interact with the police.
  • If you do not know if you can leave or if you have to answer the police officer’s questions, you can ask them. They are required to tell you.

What is The Trespass Property Act?

  • Under the Trespass to Property Act, property owners such as the TTC, some Toronto Community Housing complexes, some community centres, shopping malls and parks have agreements with the Toronto Police Service, appointing the Service as agents of the landlord.
  • This gives police officers the right to ask you questions on behalf of the property owner, or landlord, in order to confirm your right to be on the property.
  • If you do not answer these questions, the police officers can ask you to leave. If you refuse, the officer may physically remove you and/or arrest you.

What is The Highway Traffic Act?

  • if you are being investigated under the Highway Traffic Act, you are required to identify yourself.
  • Once you have spoken to your lawyer, the police may continue to ask you questions. You do not have to answer these questions.
  • The police can stop cars at any time to determine if a driver has consumed alcohol or drugs, to see whether a car is mechanically fit, to check whether a driver has a valid licence, or to make sure a driver has insurance.
  • The police may also stop your car if they suspect that you have committed a driving offence.
  • If the police ask to see your driver’s licence, car registration and insurance, you are required by law to produce these documents. If any of these documents are in the glove compartment, tell the officer that you are reaching for the document before doing so.
  • If the police suspect that you have been drinking alcohol, they can make you do a roadside breath test or a physical sobriety test on the side of the road.
  • You do not have a right to speak to a lawyer before taking a roadside test.
  • If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have more alcohol in your blood than the legal limit they can take you to the police station to do a breath test.
  • You do have the right to speak to a lawyer before taking a breath test at a police station.
  • If your car has been stopped by the police to check your sobriety, the mechanical condition of the car, or your licence, registration or insurance, the police cannot search your car.
  • They are allowed to look in the windows of your car.
  • The police can search your car if they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there are illegal drugs or alcohol or evidence relating to the commission of a crime in the car.
  • They must also believe that the evidence, drugs or alcohol would be removed or destroyed if they were to get a search warrant.

 

 

26 May 2016

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