It is a big deal if you get arrested! You need to know that you have rights and responsibilities. Being arrested may lead to being charged with a crime, and this may affect your immigration status. There are also places you can go for help.
When can I be arrested?
- If the police have a warrant for your arrest; and
- If the police think you:
- (a) have broken the law (committed an offense)
- (b) are breaking the law
- (c) are about to break the law
Not sure if you are under arrest?
If police stop you, always ask if you are under arrest, and for what crime.
What happens when I'm arrested?
If are are arrested, you may be taken to a police station and charged, given a warning, or released, within 24 hours of your arrest. You might also be given a notice to appear in court.
You do not have to go to a police station if you are not under arrest.
Know Your Rights (and Responsibilities)!
If you are arrested, you must give your real name, age, and address, and you have a right to get a lawyer (AND parent if you are under 18-years old). Remember that if you don't identify yourself, the police can hold you until they find out who you are.
If you are arrested, the police must:
- Tell you who they are (and show ID)
- Not harm you, but can touch you
- Tell you that you are under arrest, and explain why
- Tell you your rights
- Notify your parents (if you are under 18-years old)
You have the right to...
- Know why you are being arrested
- Have a lawyer (if you make a statement, and if you are questioned)
- Have an interpreter
- Remain silent after letting them know your age, name, and address, until your lawyer and/or your guardians get there.
What happens to my Immigration Status?
Your immigration status can be badly affected if you are charged with a crime! You may lose your immigration/refugee status, be forced to leave Canada, and your family members who are not citizens may be forced to leave Canada.
What kind of crimes can affect my status? A few examples:
- Driving drunk
- Stealing (including small shoplifting)
- Drug-related crimes
- All other major crimes such as murder, breaking and entering...etc
What should I do?
Contact a lawyer immediately, get help appealing any decision about your charge, or try to get a Pardon from the government. For more info on what happens to your immigration status if you get arrested or charged with a crime, check out these resources:
Also available in English and 6 other languages.
Not youth-friendly language, but has lots of useful factsheets like "What can happen if a permanent resident is convicted of a crime".
This is not legal advice. If you need formal advice on the law, or feel you have been treated unfairly or illegally, find a lawyer or get help from Legal Aid Ontario.