I’ve been stopped by police while walking home from my high school. They’ve always let me go in the past, but what if they won’t? Who can I call if the police arrest me or won’t let me go?
You have the “right to remain silent” and to not make a statement. A statement is anything that you tell the police or someone in authority. You can give a statement by saying it out loud or by putting it in writing. Even if you don't sign anything or the police don't write down or videotape what you said, what you say is still a statement.
You also have the right to do all of the following:
- make as many phone calls as you need to speak with a lawyer or to get a lawyer to come and meet with you
- talk to your lawyer in private before deciding to make a statement
- have your lawyer with you when the police speak to you
- call an adult you trust for support
You don’t have to choose between calling an adult you trust and calling a lawyer. You can call both.
You also have the right, if possible, to have an adult you trust with you when the police speak to you. This means that you have the right to ask them to be there. But if they can’t get there in a reasonable time, the police can question you without them.
Remember that you don’t have to say anything even if the police keep asking you questions.
If your lawyer is with you, they can make sure that the police don’t ask questions you shouldn’t be asked, and that you don’t give answers that might be used later to hurt you in court.
Does this information apply to me?
This information is taken from the CLEO’s Youth Criminal Law website, which has information about the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Act applies if you're at least 12 but younger than 18 when you're accused of committing a crime. The Act creates special rules and procedures for young people. The Act only applies if you're accused of breaking a federal law. Federal laws apply in all Canadian provinces and territories. The main federal law is the Criminal Code. Things like theft and assault are crimes under the Criminal Code.
For more information see: Street Law Smarts.