- Sometimes the police detain a person for a short time if they believe the person is connected to a crime that they are investigating.
- Being detained means you are not free to leave.
- You must be told why you are being detained.
You are detained if the police require you to stay. The police might, for example, tell you not to move or they may block your way. The police can detain you for a short period of time if they are investigating a recent or ongoing crime. They must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are connected to that crime.
You have a right to know why you are being detained. If the police do not tell you, ask them. You do not have to say anything unless you were stopped driving a car. In that case you must show them your licence and vehicle registration. Do not lie to the police or get into an argument. You may choose to talk to the police if you think that an explanation will clear things up. Remember, however, that anything you say can be used against you if there is a court case.
You have the right to contact a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer you can contact Legal Aid.
There are different rules for detention related to immigration matters. People who are not Canadian citizens can be detained by the police or by the Canada Border Services Agency. You may be held for questioning. Reasons for being detained include things like needing to establish your identity or having reasonable grounds to believe that you were not allowed to enter Canada. You may also be detained if you are a danger to the public and are unlikely to come to a hearing to determine if you can stay in Canada.
If you are detained you have rights, including the right to…
- a lawyer (if you cannot afford a lawyer you may qualify for Legal Aid)
- choose to have a friend or a member of an organization or association represent you
- be informed of the reason for your detention
- contact your Embassy or a representative of your country’s Consulate
- an interpreter if you do not understand or speak the language used in the proceedings