In Canada, you have the right to remain silent. This right is constitutionally protected and enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Generally speaking, you do not have to assist in a criminal investigation, provide information, or cooperate with police in any way…but…there are a few exceptions, including:
If you are arrested, you have to tell the police your name, address, and date of birth.
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires that you provide information to the police in certain circumstances. For example; if you are the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, you are required by law to complete a collision report.
If you are participating in a regulated activity, like a commercial truck driver, the laws and regulations that govern the activity may require you to provide certain information to the investigators.
The Police Want To Meet
If the police want to meet with you, it’s possible that they are investigating you for having committed an offence. If that’s the case, they probably plan to arrest you and get a statement.
The police may say they want to set up a meeting to:
“Discuss an incident that we need your help with.”
“Give you a chance to tell us your side of the story.”
“Tell us what happened, or the worst version will be believed.”
If you are confused or unsure about how much information you are legally required to give the police, or whether you should cooperate with them, it is in your best interests to consult with a lawyer.
When you go to the police station voluntarily, you are not under arrest, but you should consider calling a lawyer for advice before meeting with police. The police may have already begun using techniques to gather information or evidence from you, and with an attorney present, it is doubtful you will be permitted to say anything that hurts you, and thus, helps their case against you.
Can The Police Lie To You?
Yes, and they do it all the time. They are legally allowed to lie when they’re investigating, and they are trained to be manipulative. One of the jobs of police is to get information out of people, and they are very good at it.
Here are some lies the police may tell you:
- “If you don’t answer my questions, I’ll have no choice but to arrest you.”
- “This is your only opportunity to tell your side of the story.”
- “Everyone else cooperated and we let them go home. You’re the only one left.”
There is no such thing as “off the record” with police. Anything you admit to an officer, over the phone or in person, can be instantly recorded by the officer in his or her notebook, on audio or video capture, and used against you at a trial.
What The Police Don’t Want You To Know
You can refuse to talk to the police at any time, but that doesn’t mean they will stop asking you questions. They can, and will, continue to speak to you, even if you’ve asked for a lawyer.
You don’t need to worry about being treated harshly. The police will probably be nice and friendly with you, and make sure you’re comfortable. They might even fetch you some food if you’re hungry. They’ll chat with you, and laugh with you, and when it’s time, the police will ask you to “help them out” by answering a few questions.
It’s important to remember that police are trained in powerful interrogation techniques ranging from pre-interrogation strategies, like; building rapport, observing body language and speech patterns, to more coercive techniques, such as; victim-blaming and stifling denials.
3 Methods The Police May Use During Your Interview
The Reid method is a system of interviewing and interrogation used by police departments across the globe. According to the company’s website, over 500,000 law enforcement and security professionals have attended the company’s interview and interrogation training programs since 1974.
PEACE or, Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure and Evaluate is a less confrontational method used in the U.K.
The Kinesic Interview method involves analyzing a person’s behavior to assess deception. This method has some similarities to the Reid Technique.
The likelihood that you say something that hurts your ability to defend yourself is very high. Even if you are innocent, there are still risks to speaking with the police.
Will You Look Guilty For Speaking To A Lawyer?
Many people subscribe to the misaligned belief that innocent people should not require legal representation, and they will wear the “perception of guilt” if they dare ask to speak to a lawyer. The truth is, innocent or not, everyone has the right to speak with an attorney before police questioning. Besides, the prosecutor can’t argue that you are “probably guilty because you spoke with a lawyer.”
If the police are investigating whether you broke the law, a lawyer can explain the risks and benefits of speaking with them, and give you advice about how you should proceed. Remember, anything you say to the authorities can and will be used against you in court, and there’s no way to predict what information the police might try to use, or how they’ll use it.