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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

What Are My Rights And Obligations After A Criminal Arrest?

Video Transcript

I’m here to talk to you today about what your rights and obligations are at the point you’ve been under arrest. So the police place you under arrest for typical criminal charge say it’s assault, say it’s murder, sexual assault, theft, any type of criminal charge. In the separate video, I go through similar rights with respect to DUI charges but we’re focusing on other criminal charges right now. So let’s just say you got into a bar fight, the police show up and they arrest you. What are they gonna do? They’re going to arrest you, first of all, they’re going to put your hands on you and tell you you’re under arrest. They’re gonna handcuff you, they’re gonna read you a right to retain and instruct counsel without delay. Take advantage of that right because the police are obligated to now provide you with access to lawyer on the telephone, either duty council or private practice lawyer. The police are, and you’re gonna say by the way, “yes, I want to speak to a lawyer” do that right away, right after they read that right. They’re also gonna read to you, what’s called a caution that anything you say to the police can and will be used against you in court and believe me, it will. Shut up and say nothing. You have the right to remain silent under our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. That’s a common law – a British Right, and Canadian Right, and American Right which existed for several hundred years at least and you say nothing, I mean not a word at this point. The only person you’re gonna speak to is the lawyer at the police station. The lawyer’s gonna say the same thing to you. Now, let’s say you have a serious charge, sexual assault, murder? What’s gonna happen, after you get off the phone with your lawyer, they’re gonna bring you in a room. They might keep you there for hours. They’re gonna try and do their best to get a statement from you. You do not want to answer any questions. You are to say, this is the advice I would give you, every couple of minutes I would say, “I’m exercising my right to remain silent and I want to speak to a lawyer again”, every couple of minutes. They’re not gonna give it to you, you don’t have the right to a second lawyer but it still professing your right to remain silent. Eventually, they’re gonna give up. If you consistently do that, you’ll do a great job and not say anything. The problem is, the police have techniques to break you down. I covered that in other videos. They’re gonna keep going at it. They’re gonna say, “Well, lawyers say that, it’s your opportunity to provide your version of events”. It’s not. It’s a trap. You’re gonna potentially lose your case because it’s impossible to keep your stories straight. Even if you’re telling the truth, you don’t even know the evidence they have. One or two years later you’re gonna be in court testifying and go “Why did I say that? I forgot this. I forgot that. I forgot this.” and that’s a truthful witness. Imagine a witness who’s not telling the truth, that story’s gonna be all over the map. Whether you’re innocent, guilty, factually guilty or innocent, say nothing and you’ll have you’ll prove your chances of winning your case at trial. Those are the rights and obligations that you have from the point of arrest to the point the police will hopefully release you to attend your court appearance.

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