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FAQs about Dealing With Police

Am I required to have my fingerprints and photographs taken?

As stated in the Identification of Criminals Act, you will be required by the police to attend a scheduled appointment wherein your fingerprints, as well as your photographs, will be taken. All this information will be added to the Canadian Police Information Center or CPIC, where they keep a database of information from individuals. Upon your acquittal or discharge, or if the charges are withdrawn, then you can easily apply to the CPIC to have these records destroyed.

What is the CPIC?

The CPIC, or the Canadian Police Information Center, is an organization that is operated by the RCMP. The CPIC houses and manages a computerized database of people with alleged offenses, the personal characteristics of these suspects, possible cautionary warnings pertaining to them (if they are violent, for example), as well as a list of prior convictions. Depending on the person, they may even have fingerprints of them on file. This database is remotely accessible to all police officers all over Canada.

What is the punishment for obstruction?

Depending on the gravity of the obstruction and how serious the information was needed for the case, a criminal offense of obstruction may result in a fine, a probationary sentence or even a criminal record, as well as a given period in jail.

Is it considered an obstruction if a person refuses to provide identification or provides false identification?

The context of the situation is important in determining if a person committed obstruction by way of not providing truthful identification. In some cases, the providing of identification may prove irrelevant to the case at which point the police officer had no right to ask for a person’s identification to begin with. Otherwise, if legal identification is necessary for the case, then the failure to present it could still be considered as obstruction.

How can obstruction be proven by the Crown Attorney?

First of all, the Crown must prove that the police officer was doing his job and acting pursuant to a lawful purpose. Once this has been proven, it must be shown that the accused person was able to successfully keep the police officer from carrying out the officer’s duty and that the officer’s work was affected by this obstruction.

If a person accidentally obstructed the police officer in any way possible, that person would not be found guilty of obstruction.

How do you define Obstruction of Police Charges?

The duty of a police officer is to investigate any complaints of criminal offenses and such. If a person in any way intentionally obstructs or makes it more difficult for the police to act upon a lawful purpose, this action can be considered a criminal offense in itself.

If a person attempted to obstruct a police officer but eventually failed to do so and the officer was able to successfully conduct his investigation, then it is not considered a criminal offense.

Can an accused person simply talk to the police to prove his innocence?

No matter how well you think you can talk, it is very risky to try to talk your way out of trouble when you are dealing with the police. When dealing with the police, it is always best to be patient and deal with them politely. However, if you feel that you are not at the best of tempers when confronted by the police, it is always best to remain quiet and refrain from sharing your side of the story. It is better to discuss things with your legal counsel than with the police.

Can I ask for help from my friend who is a police officer?

Even if he is your friend, he is also a police officer whose primary job is to look for evidence against criminal offenders. While it is true that he may know the ins and outs of the judicial system in which you may soon find yourself in, he can’t really help you. It can even hurt your case if you disclose information to your friend. It is better to talk to a criminal lawyer that can protect you by way of the solicitor-client confidentiality rule.

Is there a chance for me to talk to the police off the record?

It is better that you don’t talk to the police without legal counsel and especially to discuss matters that are off the record. The police officer may instead use what you said against you as he is not required to honor such informal agreements. Remember that the job of the police officer is to find evidence that the prosecutor can use in the case against you and it is more likely that the police will do this job than talk to you about some things off the record. However, due to the Solicitor-client Confidentiality rule, it is possible for your lawyer to talk to the police off the record.

Where do the police usually arrest people?

The police can arrest you anywhere and everywhere you may go. Sometimes they may even arrest you when you are at work or in school. This is a technique that they commonly use to obtain information that they can use against you. Before you think you are about to be arrested, you can consult with a criminal lawyer. Your criminal lawyer can talk to the police before any arrests are made so that you may be protected from the humiliation of being arrested in public.

If I get arrested, will I only be allowed to make one phone call?

This is not necessarily true, as the Charter of Rights itself defends and guarantees your right to counsel. You have the right to obtain legal advice and find a good lawyer to represent you and, as long as your attempts to contact one is genuine, you can make as many phone calls as you will need to get a lawyer that you can trust.

If you are being arrested on the road for impaired driving and you are being forced to take a breath test, you have the right to call your lawyer before taking any test and the police should be able to assist you in making your call first.

A police officer called me and left me a message asking me to call them back. Should I follow what he says?

You are not recommended to call the police back just yet. At this point, they might already be considering you a suspect of a criminal case. Before you proceed, it is better to consult with a criminal lawyer first to determine what you are supposed to say to the police. This is due to solicitor-client confidentiality, which protects your secrets from being released to the public by your lawyer.

If you return the call and talk to them at once without hearing advice from a criminal lawyer, there is a great chance that you might slip up and say the wrong words. Since they might be considering you a suspect already, your words may even be used as evidence against you. A lawyer can deal with the police for you and even protect you from the police.

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