Your Rights if Arrested or Detained by Police

Last updated on June 8, 2021

When police arrest you, they must identify themselves and tell you the reason for the arrest. If you are not sure, ask the police if you are under arrest and why.

Once you are under arrest, you must tell the police your name and address if the police ask. And, you must go with them. If you are arrested, co-operate with the police. The police are only allowed to use as much force as is necessary to arrest you.

If you are arrested or detained by police, you have the right to talk to a lawyer. The police must allow you to use the phone in privacy to contact a lawyer. They should also let you use a phone book if you need to. Many police stations will have helpful phone numbers posted near the phone, including for legal aid and lawyer referral services.

To find out how to get a lawyer and learn more about legal services and resources available to you, please visit Legal Assistance.

Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. The police will ask questions as part of their investigation. While you have the right to remain silent, a lawyer can tell you if that is the right choice in your situation. They can also give you advice about whether you should provide evidence to the police, like breath and blood samples. Anything you do say to the police or put into writing at this time or later can be used against you in court.

You have the right to be free from unreasonable searches. But once you are arrested, police can search you for weapons and any evidence relating to the offence. Police can, and usually will, fingerprint and photograph you if you are charged with a serious (indictable or hybrid) offence.

More Information

For more information regarding your rights if arrested, please visit: ClickLaw – Arrested.

Criminal Justice Glossary

Check our alphabetical list of criminal justice terms along with their definitions.