General Criminal Law FAQ

Is it legal for a police officer to question me but not read me my rights?

Any law enforcement officer can ask you questions without reading you your rights if they are simply gathering information. By law, you have the legal right to decline to answer their questions.

When is it legally required to read me my rights?

Law enforcement officers must read you your rights upon arrest if you are suspected of having committed a criminal offence.

Do I have to go if the police called and requested I come in for questioning or to give a statement?

You can refuse to go, but if the police have probable cause, they could obtain an arrest warrant in Ontario. Before going, it is a good idea to consult with a criminal defence lawyer and have one present during questioning.

Is it better to just take a plea deal or plead guilty to an impaired driving offence?

No it is not better to do either of these. It is understandable you want the matter over as quickly as possible, but there are long-term consequences, even for impaired driving, which could drastically affect your quality of life.

Is it mandatory that I be given a bail hearing after being arrested?

Yes you are entitled to a bail hearing after your arrest. However, there are a few exceptions where the Crown will request bail not be granted, like if you pose a serious risk to the general public.

Do I need to have a criminal defence lawyer present at my bail hearing?

It is always a good idea to have a criminal defence lawyer present at your bail hearing to ensure you are granted bail. Without one, you will not know how to defend against the Crown and could end up having bail denied, even for less serious criminal offences.

I have been contacted by police or the crown, to have a meeting or make a deal, what should I do?

If you have been charged with a crime, police or prosecutors may attempt to discuss your case with you or propose a deal. You may even be asked to provide evidence against other people. Consult your lawyer prior to discussing anything with the police or crown or agreeing to sign any deals. There may be things about your case you are unaware of that could allow you to contest charges or negotiate a better deal.

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