Tips For When You’re In Police Custody—Arrested & Charged

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Tips For When You’re In Police Custody….Arrested & Charged

  • Exercise your right to remain silent
    • All individuals have the right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves, so be sure to exercise this right by doing just that. Provide no more than your basic biographical information, such as name, date of birth & address. Beyond this basic information, DO NOT engage in any further communication with the police—not even small casual conversations or chit-chat that may appear harmless. The police are trained and extremely skillful at extracting crucial information with inconspicuous techniques.
  • Don’t worry about looking guilty
    • Your number one priority should be not being guilty—don’t worry about not looking guilty. Only guilty people retain lawyers. Only guilty people remain silent. These are misconceptions. In fact, the police may further exploit such myths to make you believe so as well—don’t listen to them–they are allowed to trick you and lie to you to get information. The most important concern at this stage is to ensure that you do not provide any more information that could be used to incriminate yourself. Always contact and retain a lawyer immediately and keep quiet.
    • Instead, your first concern should be about not being guilty, instead of not looking guilty. Only guilty people retain lawyers. Only guilty people remain silent. These are misconceptions, and the police may further exploit such myths to their advantage—don’t listen to them as they are even allowed to trick and lie to you. The most important concern at this stage is to ensure that you do not provide any more information that could be used to incriminate yourself later. Always contact and retain a lawyer immediately and keep quiet.
  • Ask to speak to a lawyer immediately
    • Upon being detained or arrested, always exercise your right to retain and instruct counsel by specifically telling the police that you want to speak to a lawyer, whether or not you actually have a lawyer. The police are obligated to a) inform you of your right to counsel and b) provide you with a reasonable opportunity to exercise this right and get in contact with private counsel or duty counsel.If you have a lawyer, they must take reasonable steps to locate your lawyer’s contact and get you in touch with your choice of counsel. If you get your lawyer’s voicemail, leave a message and tell the police you want to do so as well.  If you don’t have a lawyer, then they must provide you with the Legal Aid Ontario number to put you in contact with a duty counsel lawyer. Be sure that you are not in the presence of any police officers when speaking to your lawyer/duty counsel and be careful as to what details you are discuss during this phone call—keep sensitive information to a minimum and wait until you are in person with your lawyer to have this conversation.
  • Be polite & cooperative with police
    • Once you are in police custody, it is crucial that you behave appropriately. Be respectful and polite when interacting with the police. Considering the fact that the police now have control of your every movement and liberty, you don’t want to give them a reason to make things more difficult for you.
    • Treat them like you would treat your grandparents. That being said, being polite, respectful and cooperative does not by any means mean answering any questions or providing a statement. Be wary of the fact that the police are allowed a certain degree of trickery and have very clever investigative techniques—do not fall victim to any of them
  • Leave all your property at home
    • You will be searched upon arrest. If you have the benefit of surrendering yourself, be sure to leave all your personal property at home. The only item that may be kept on your person is a piece of ID for the purposes of identifying yourself to the police. The police can lawfully search through your personal belongings, including your cellphone, under the search incidental to arrest and officer safety powers, so be sure that you are not providing them with any more evidence
  • Be aware of CCTV cameras
    • If you are transported in a police cruiser, be aware of the fact that there are In Car Camera Systems (ICCS) that will record all audio and video of the interior/exterior of the vehicle. Furthermore, various areas inside the police division will also have CCTV recordings, including breath tech rooms, holding cells, sally port, booking before the staff sergeant, etc. Police should be warning accused persons when they are being recorded, but always err of the side of caution and presume you are under complete audio and video surveillance at all times. Remain silent and on your best behaviour because such audio/video may be used as evidence against you in court proceedings.
  • Pay attention to details during the entire process
    • Pay attention to details of your entire time while in police custody. Carefully listen to who is speaking with you and what is being said to you. If you don’t understand your rights when they are being read to you, then clearly indicate this to the police, and ask them to read it again. While it is a traumatic experience, you may be required to testify at your trial or pre-trial motion with respect to some issue that occurred while you were in police custody and by paying attention to detail, you will be able to better assist your lawyer and potentially the courts as a crucial witness.


Note to readers: This article is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. In order to ensure the protection of your rights and interests, please consult a criminal defence lawyer prior to acting or relying upon any information.



If you or someone you care about has been arrested and charged by the police in relation to a criminal investigation or charge, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a Toronto criminal lawyer. Call Farjoud Law at (647) 606-6776 to speak directly with a criminal lawyer in Toronto to discuss your matter. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Farjoud Law is located at 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2200 in the neighbourhood of North York in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for directions to the office
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