I am an experienced Toronto Criminal Lawyer. Under Canadian law you have an absolute right to silence after your arrest. You are under no obligation to talk to the police. Talking to the police after your arrest usually helps the police to convict you later in a court of law. I cannot tell you how many times people who have been charged with a criminal offence failed to keep their mouths shut and suffered the consequences later on. I am going to expose some of the common tricks and tactics police use to get you to confess.
I usually advise my clients to never say anything to the police apart from their name and date of birth. After your arrest you should ask to speak to me immediately at 416 559 9499. Remember the following:
a) The job of the police becomes a lot easier if you confess or put yourself at the scene of the crime. It is for this reason the police do everything that they can to get you to talk. On serious cases the police may tell you that if you take a polygraph test you can clear your name if you pass. Remember that you are under no legal obligation to take the test. Remember that the results of the polygraph cannot be brought up in court. Remember that the guy giving the polygraph test works for the police. He is likely to tell you that you have ”failed” the test and then the cops come in and start the questioning by looking you in the eye and saying, “Well we know you are lying. The machine says so. Why don’t you tell us the real truth”. Most people by this time start sweating and talking. Don’t fall for this trick. There is no such thing as a truth machine.
b) Under the current law after your arrest the police are allowed to keep asking you questions even if you have already told them that you don’t want to say anything. This repeated questioning period can last for hours and hours. During this time you have to keep repeating that you have nothing to say. You have to be strong.
c) The police may try to get you to talk by bringing a form in and say something like, “All right, we understand that you don’t want to talk to us but we have to get some basic information, where do you live?”. You do not have to comply with any of their request for information. This is a trick to get you to start talking to the police. You can choose not to say anything apart from your name and date of birth. Most people who don’t know these police tricks and tactics and start talking actually help the police convict them.
d) This may surprise you but under the law the police are allowed to lie to you when they are questioning you. They may tell you things such as, we have your fingerprints and DNA all over the scene. They may tell you, we have video of you at the scene, what do you have to say about that? They may say that your buddy that you did the crime with has made a full confession and told us that you were the one who planned this crime and he just stood there, what do you have to say about that? Once again you have to be strong under these conditions to exercise your right to remain silent.
e) The police may even tell you that given the evidence that they have this is the last chance that you have to tell the judge that you are sorry for what you did and what really happened.
f) The police may even try to tell you that they totally understand why you did this crime and they would likely do the exact same thing. The police will pretend to have sympathy for you in order to try to get you to talk. Sometimes the police will play the old good cop bad cop routine. This is the classic tactic where one guy will be a total asshole and the other guy will be much nicer. When the asshole is not around the nice cop will “confess” to you that he does not approve of what the asshole guy does and how he does it. He will pretend to be your friend and try to get you to talk because now you will have a common “enemy”. You would be surprised how often this routine works and people start talking.
g) Under the current law you don’t have an absolute right to have your lawyer present when you are being questioned. The courts have said that it is all right for the police to give you one phone call to your lawyer and that’s it! After four hours of being questioned you may tell the police that you want to speak to your lawyer again and the police will likely tell you that you have already had your phone call.
h) There are times when police will send you back to the holding cells after their first attempt at getting you to talk and put an undercover officer in the cell beside you. This undercover officer will try to get you to talk by saying things like, he too is being screwed by the cops etc. Sometimes the undercover officer will pretend to be asleep and just listen carefully to everything you mutter or say aloud to yourself or to other prisoners. These undercover cops are usually excellent actors and look the part of belonging in a holding cell.
i) I have seen police officers talk about their own moms and dads and say things like, “How do you think your mother feels right now? Is this how she brought you up? You ever think about how you are hurting her?” I have seen some clients break down on video at that point and start talking.
j) The police even may tell you things like, “Yes we know you want to talk to J. S. Vijaya, but what is he going to tell you? We know he is going to tell you to say nothing. You think these lawyers care about you? This is the only chance you will get to tell your side of the story”. You have to be strong under these conditions to exercise your right to silence.
k) Remember that the police are experts at questioning. You give an inch and they will take a mile. A small detail that you got wrong will be used to make you look like a liar. In my view there is no advantage to talking to the police upon your arrest. Remember that if you talk about your innocence to the police some judge down the road at your trial may even say that the story you told at the police station was false and self serving. In my opinion, there is no upside to talking to the police once you have been arrested. It is always much better to wait until trial to tell your side of the story.
Please remember that whatever I am writing here does not constitute actual legal advice. If you have questions you should speak to a lawyer. Criminal law is serious business. Protect yourself at all times.
J. S. Vijaya, Toronto Criminal Lawyer
416 559 9499 www. jsvlawyer.com