As an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, I am often asked what someone should do if he or she is arrested by the police in connection with a crime.
If you are ever arrested by the police for a crime like fraud, tax evasion, assault, impaired driving or even homicide, the worst thing you can do is to talk to the police about “what happened”. Protesting your innocence to the police will not get you anywhere and may make things much more difficult for your criminal defence lawyer.
Instead of trying to talk your way out of the criminal charges, politely but firmly indicate that you would like to speak with a criminal defence lawyer. You really should not say more than that. Even small comments can be used by the Crown against you in a trial.
Make the most of your telephone call with a criminal defence lawyer. Keep in mind that you do not only get one call as they say on television. If you do not reach your counsel of choice, in many cases you can leave a message for a return call or select another lawyer of your choice to try to call.
During the call, the lawyer will probably not want you to talk about the nitty gritty of your case. Instead, the criminal defence lawyer will want to explain to you how to cope with the arrest process and what to expect. The strategy for defending against the charges will be developed after the arrest process is completed and you are either released on bail or moved to the detention centre.
While your arrest is processed, you may be placed in a holding cell. In Ottawa, most areas of the cell blocks are video taped. In some circumstances there may be audio as well. Your behaviour during that process will be recorded. Accordingly, you should be calm, cool and collected.
An arrest for a criminal charge is scary and undesirable. However, with thoughtful advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Richard Auger, the disruption to your life can be minimized.