There are few real-life situations that are more terrifying than being interrogated by the police. You are brought into a cold cinder block room. There is nothing but a small table and two chairs. Cameras and microphones are strategically placed to record everything that occurs in the room.
You are placed in the room by yourself and directed which chair to sit in. The police are in complete control over you and your freedom. You are told to wait and then, you are left alone. There is no clock in the room, you have no idea how long you will be there.
Suddenly after what seems like forever, a police officer enters to start questioning and accusing you of committing a crime. This officer has likely been trained in interrogation techniques. This officer has been trained to speak to you until you confess or incriminate yourself in some way.
What are your rights?
If you have been detained or arrested you have many rights. You have the right to contact a lawyer for advice prior to any police questioning. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything to the police in response to the charges.
You have the right not to be questioned in a manner that is so oppressive that your free will is overcome. Whether an interrogation crosses this line however, is not very clear. An interrogation can be very long and aggressive without being coercive.
For adults, you do not have a right to have a lawyer present during an interrogation. But you do have the right to contact a lawyer, and you should. Contacting a lawyer at the earliest opportunity is very important. An experienced lawyer will not only inform you of your rights, but give you advice on what you can do to withstand a police interrogation.
Remember, the police are not obligated to stop questioning you once you have spoken to a lawyer. They are also not obligated, in most circumstances, to put you in contact with your lawyer again if you request it during your interrogation. In some circumstances, the police can even tell you that they have certain evidence of your guilt, even when they do not. The court in many circumstances will allow this type of police trickery.
In many ways, the ‘deck’ is stacked against you in an interrogation room. The law evens the playing field by letting you speak to a lawyer for advice.
You will always have the opportunity to tell your side of the story, if you choose. That is what trials are for. Interrogations are designed to make you look guilty. The police have already made up their mind that you are guilty, so do not expect them to be impartial. Judges preside with impartiality. If you choose, wait to tell your story to them.
Make the right choice: remain silent.
If you have been arrested, exercise your right to counsel and contact Neil Singh at (905) 853-1078 or (416) 607-5414. Click here to contact us via email.
Neil Singh is an experienced criminal lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully defending people charged criminally. With offices conveniently located in Toronto and Newmarket, we are able to assist those charged throughout the GTA.
Representing individuals charged in Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Rexdale, York region, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Concord, Markham, Keswick, Georgina, King City, Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga, Malton; Orangeville, Caledon, Durham region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Halton Region, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Simcoe County, Barrie, Bradford