Know Your Rights – Canadian Policing System | CCLA – Police Searches

Know Your Rights

A Citizen’s Guide to Rights When Dealing With Police

Know Your Rights

When dealing with the police, it is important to know what your rights are. This pamphlet is designed to provide you with information about what you must do, what you do not have to do, and what you may wish to do in situations involving the police.

Main Topics

This pamphlet addresses these questions, and explains rights rights in various situations:

  • What if I am stopped by the police?
  • What if I am stopped by the police while driving?
  • When can police search me or my car?
  • What are my rights if I am arrested?
  • What if the police come to my home?

When Can the Police Stop Me? What Are My Rights?

Police officers can stop you under three general circumstances: 1. If they suspect that you have committed a crime 2. If they see you committing a crime 3. If you are driving. If the police do not arrest you or if they do not have grounds to detain you, they must let you be on your way. To find out if you are under arrest or detention, politely ask the officers, “Am I under arrest?” If they say yes, you can ask why. Alternatively, you may ask the officer “Am I free to go?”, and if the answer is no, ask “why not?” It is always best to be polite when answering an officer’s questions, but in most cases, you don’t have to answer all their questions. Read the pamphlet to learn more about your rights when dealing with police.