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According to the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms if you are arrested you have a number of rights.  The CCRF is in place to protect these rights.

Some of the most important rights are:

  1. The right to remain silent when questioned by the police.
  2. The right to be told why you have been arrested or detained.
  3. The right to be told that you can hire a lawyer.
  4. The right to be told about the availability of duty counsel and legal aid.
  5. The right to speak with a lawyer in private, as soon as possible.

The Right to Speak with a Lawyer

Upon arrest, you have the: “right to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right”.

Police must inform you that you can speak with a lawyer, but do they have other obligations to fulfill?  The answer is YES!

What does Police Need to Do to Help You Speak to a Lawyer?

Different police forces go about this responsibility in different ways.  Some will give you a phonebook, phone or possibly the internet to search for your lawyer.  Others may contact the lawyer themselves then give you the opportunity to speak with your chosen lawyer.

If the police take on the responsibility of finding and contacting counsel for you, they must be as diligent and persistent as you would be.  This means they use all means possible to find, contact, and connect you with your legal counsel.  It is not enough for them to simply call and leave a message.

This includes actions like:

  • Calling all possible contact numbers.
  • Expressing urgency to secretaries or legal assistants.
  • Giving you access to your cell phone if you have a contact number stored there.
  • Reaching out to the family who may have contact information for your lawyer.

How Many Phone Calls Do You Get?

You may have seen in movies and TV shows that someone who is arrested gets one single call.  If the lawyer doesn’t answer then it’s game over.

This is not the case in a real-life situation.  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the police officer must give you a “reasonable opportunity” to contact your lawyer.  If after a reasonable amount of time the lawyer has not yet answered or returned the call you should be given the opportunity to speak to another lawyer or opt for duty counsel.

If you do decide you do not want to contact another lawyer, the police must inform you that you have the right to wait for a reasonable amount of time to hear back from your lawyer and the police can not interview you during that time.

What Obligations Do You Have If You Are Arrested?

Yes, You also have obligations when you have been arrested.  You must be reasonably diligent in seeking counsel.

How Kolinsky Law can Help?

Kolinsky Law is a results-driven law firm with highly experienced Criminal Lawyers. They know that their responsibilities towards their clients begin with accessibility.  After contacting them, your lawyer will help guide you through the process.  They will work to get details about your arrest, brief you prior to questioning and take steps to get you the best possible results.  If you are arrested, it can be overwhelming and scary but you can depend on the Criminal Lawyers at Kolinsky Law to be there every step of the way.