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Know Your Rights – How to ask for a lawyer when you’ve been arrested

Being arrested can be a daunting and stressful experience, but it’s essential to remember that in Ontario, as in the rest of Canada, you have the right to legal counsel. Knowing how to ask for a lawyer when arrested can make a difference in ensuring that you receive a fair legal process. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to ask for a lawyer when arrested in Ontario.

Know Your Rights

It’s crucial to understand your rights whenever you are interacting with law enforcement in Ontario, especially if you are arrested. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees you the right to legal counsel without delay if you are detained or arrested. This right is enshrined in Section 10(b) of the Charter, which states that “everyone has the right on arrest or detention to retain and instruct counsel without delay.” Understanding your rights is the first step in protecting them. This means that a police officer cannot refuse your request for legal representation.

Stay Calm and Respectful

Being arrested or detained is often a stressful experience, however, it is important to remain calm and be respectful to officers. While being cooperative and polite is favourable, it does not waive your right to legal counsel. It is important to remember that being cooperative does not require you to speak with the police about your case before consulting your lawyer. When you are informed of your arrest or detention, take a deep breath, and remember that you have the right to a lawyer. Stay focused on getting legal representation.
Request a Lawyer
It is important to be clear and explicit when requesting a lawyer after your arrest or detention. You should use language such as “I would like to speak to a lawyer.” You are not required to provide a reason for wanting a lawyer, and if asked, you are not required to answer. Once you have requested a lawyer it is important to wait to answer any questions from the police until you have spoken with them.

Document Your Request

In any legal matter, it is always better to document and evidence you may need in the future. If you are given the opportunity when arrested or detained, you should document the time and date when you requested your lawyer. This documentation can be valuable in case your rights are challenged later on. If there are any witnesses present, ask them to remember and document your request as well.

Contact a Lawyer

When facing a criminal charge it is important to work with an experienced lawyer that you trust will represent your best interests. If you are arrested or detained, you can request a specific lawyer to represent you. If you are not already in contact with a lawyer, the police are obligated to help you find the right lawyer for your case. During this time, you are not required to answer any questions about your case.
If you are unable to afford a lawyer you may be eligible to apply for legal aid. If you do require legal aid, the police will assist you in making this request.

Knowing how to ask for a lawyer when arrested in Ontario is a crucial step in protecting your rights and ensuring a fair legal process. Remember that the right to legal counsel is a fundamental part of the Canadian legal system, and it’s essential to assert this right if you find yourself in a legal situation. By remaining calm, respectful, and informed, you can effectively navigate the legal process and secure the legal representation you need to protect your interests and rights.

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This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.