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Arrest

The police can arrest someone if they have reason to believe they have or will commit a crime or there is a warrant for the person’s arrest.

Without a Warrant

The police can arrest someone without a warrant if the person is...

  • committing a serious offence
  • causing or is about to cause a disturbance in a public place or has broken a liquor law, for example by being drunk in public

The police can also arrest someone without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe...

  • the person is about to or has committed a serious offence
  • that they need to arrest the person to prevent them from engaging in terrorist activity
  • that the person has a mental disorder and is danger to themselves or others

Reasonable grounds means there is a good reason for believing something. The belief must be more than just a guess or a hunch. It must be based on something that would cause a fair-minded person in the same situation to come to the same conclusion.

If the police see someone committing a less serious crime they can only arrest the person without a warrant if they need to...

  • identify the person
  • stop them from carrying on with the crime
  • stop them from destroying evidence
  • make sure the person will appear in court

Warrants

The police can also arrest someone if they have a warrant for that person’s arrest or they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a warrant for the person’s arrest.

Arrest warrants must be signed by a judge. The police need to provide the judge with evidence that shows the person has committed a crime. The warrant must include the person’s name or a description of the person and the reason for the arrest.

Police do not usually have the warrant with them, but if you are arrested you have a right to see it as soon as possible.

Arrest Procedure

If you are arrested you are not free to leave. Leaving or attempting to leave is a criminal offence. If you are arrested you must tell the police your name and address, if they ask. If you are not sure if you have been arrested ask the police. Do not lie to the police, get into an argument with them or fight them. If you think that you have been treated improperly you can make a complaint later.

If you are arrested the police must follow certain procedures to collect evidence of the crime. They must ensure their safety, your safety, and the safety of the public.

  • The officers will identify themselves as police officers.
  • You will be told that you are under arrest.
  • You will be told the reason for your arrest.
  • The officer will take physical control of you. This may be as simple as placing a hand on your shoulder.
  • The officer will inform you of your rights and you will be asked if you understand your rights.
  • You will be asked if you want to call a lawyer and be given a chance to do this.
  • You will be searched and should expect to be handcuffed before being placed in a police vehicle.
  • You may be subject to a further search.
  • You may be released or taken to a police station, depending on the circumstances.
  • You will be asked questions by the police. Remember you do not have to say anything except to give them your correct name.

Rights on Arrest

Right to a Lawyer

Anyone who is detained or arrested by the police, has the right to a lawyer. This means they must be…

  • told promptly that they have a right to a lawyer
  • told that they have the right to call duty counsel to get free initial legal advice over the telephone
  • told about Legal Aid for people who cannot afford a lawyer
  • given a reasonable chance to get a lawyer (the police cannot limit people to one phone call if they are trying to call a lawyer)
  • allowed to speak to a lawyer, in private, as soon as possible if the person asks to do so

For some serious offences, the police can photograph and fingerprint someone they have arrested before their lawyer gets to the police station.

Right to Remain Silent

Anyone who has been detained, arrested or charged with a crime has the right to remain silent and must be told that they have the right to remain silent. People must give the police their correct name but other than that...

  • they do not have to answer any more questions
  • they do not have to give the police any kind of a statement, in writing or otherwise

The police can and will ask you questions but you do not need to answer. If you do say anything at any time it can be used against you in court.

It is very important to talk to a lawyer before saying anything to the police. Make sure to tell the police you want to talk to a lawyer. Then wait to speak with a lawyer before deciding to say anything else. It is your right.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.