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Being Arrested

In certain situations, police have the right to arrest an individual and hold them in custody. The rights of detained or arrested individuals are protected by the Charter.

When a youth is arrested, the police must inform the youth:

  • The reason for the arrest
  • You do not have to say anything
  • Anything you say may be used as evidence against you
  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer and get a free lawyer
  • You have the right to have your parents or guardian and a lawyer with you, if you want them there, when the police question you

The police must give this information in a language the youth understands. Police must check that the youth has understood. The youth must be dealt with in a timely manner. Usually this means they will be charged with a crime or released within 24 hours. For less serious crimes, a youth may be released without being taken into jail. The youth has the right to a trial to determine guilt before any sentence is considered. 


Violation of Rights

If police violate the rights of a youth and/or do not tell the youth about his or her rights, then any evidence obtained or anything that the youth says to the police may not be accepted as evidence in court.


Waiving Your Rights to Counsel

To waive your rights means to cancel or give up your rights. A youth can waive their rights to a lawyer under the YCJA. 

waiver of rights = to give up rights; only valid if the waiver is clear, informed (knows what they are giving up) and unequivocal

For youth, the waiver must be in writing, and audio or video recorded. The waiver must include a written statement explaining that the youth was informed about the right being waived. 


Fingerprinting and Photographs

If a youth has been charged with a serious crime (an indictable offence), the youth can be photographed and fingerprinted.


Last Reviewed:
Dec, 2022
Reviewed by: