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Can the police stop and question you?

Region: Ontario Answer Number: 743

When police can stop you

The police can stop you under three general circumstances. First, the police can stop you if they suspect that you have committed an offence. Second, the police can stop you if they actually see you committing an offence. And third, the police can stop you at any time while you are driving to determine whether you have consumed alcohol or drugs, whether you are insured, and whether the car is mechanically fit to be driven. In all cases, once the police stop you, you have the right to know why, and the right to speak to a lawyer within a reasonable period.

What you should do

Although under the law you have the right to remain silent when questioned by police, it is best to cooperate with the police, and identify yourself. In some circumstances, you could be charged with the offence of obstructing the police if you fail to tell them your name. You could also be charged with an offence if you give the police a false name.

Being detained by the police

If the police continue to ask you questions and they do not allow you to leave, then in law it means that they are detaining you. When you are detained, you have the right to know why they are detaining or arresting you, and you have the right to talk to a lawyer.

Right to remain silent

Regardless of whether you have or have not been arrested, anything you tell the police can be used as evidence against you. This also applies to any physical tests that you are asked to perform or any samples that you are asked to voluntarily provide. Even though you may think that what you are telling the police could not hurt you in court, what you say or write could later become evidence against you. To be safe, you should consider talking to a lawyer before making any statements to any police officer, or before performing any test or providing any sample.

For more information about criminal law and the justice system in Canada, visit the Government of Canada, Department of Justice, or the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-866-362-7143 or learn more at All Cleared. It’s easier than you think.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact our preferred experts, Rotenberg Shidlowski Jesin Criminal Lawyers .


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