Legal Line® provides Free legal information to through its website, telephone and fax-on-demand systems.
1,000 topics are covered within 35 areas of law...
770 Police powers to stop vehicles and question drivers
- When can the police stop your vehicle?The police have the legal right to stop a car at any time for the purpose of checking certain things such as whether the driver has consumed alcohol or drugs, whether the driver has valid car insurance, and whether the car is mechanically fit to be driven. The police do not have to suspect that a driver is drunk before they stop a vehicle. In fact, the police have the legal right to conduct random spot checks for impaired drivers, and they have the right to pull any car over at a RIDE program check point.
- Responding to police questionsOnce the police have stopped you, they have the right to ask you a number of questions, including whether you have consumed any alcohol or drugs. Although you do not have to answer these questions, it is advisable to cooperate with the police. Refusing to respond may lead the police to suspect that you have consumed alcohol and further investigation may result in the police demanding a roadside breath screening test. If you refuse to provide a roadside breath screening sample, you can be charged with a serious offence under the Canadian Criminal Code.
- Performing physical testsThe police may also ask you to get out of your car to perform several physical tests, such as walking in a straight line, picking up a coin, and counting backwards from ten. Again, although you do not have to perform these tasks, the police may demand a breath sample if you refuse.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence you should contact a lawyer for assistance.