You may have heard the phrase “you have the right to remain silent” on television. This statement is part of what is commonly known as Miranda rights, or your legal rights once you have been arrested or detained by police. Miranda rights only apply in the United States.
In Canada, there is no such thing as “Miranda rights”. Instead, the rights of all individuals in Canada are outlined in the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.
Your Legal Rights, According To The Charter
If an individual is arrested – whether a Canadian citizen or not – he or she are entitled to certain rights, such as the right to know why he or she has been arrested, and the right to a lawyer. The most relevant sections of the Charter have been collected by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta’s online booklet on criminal law.
There isn’t a specific line regarding “the right to remain silent”. However, it is generally accepted that people may remain silent if they choose to do so after being charged with a crime.
Section 7 Of The Charter
The reason for this is outlined in section 7 of the Charter. This sections states “…right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”
Generally speaking, the right to remain silent is covered by this provision. However, for a proper interpretation of how the Charter rights apply to a criminal arrest or detainment situation, it’s important to contact a criminal defence lawyer. He or she will be able to advise you on whether your rights have been infringed upon, and what legal action you can pursue.