If you have been arrested or are being investigated for an offence, you are not required to give a statement to the police. You have a constitutionally protected right to silence that prevents you from being forced to make self-incriminating statements. If the police have asked you to participate in an investigation by making a statement, your first step should be to seek legal advice. You will or should be given the option to speak with a lawyer prior to making a statement to the police, and you should take this opportunity to do so if it arises. A criminal defence lawyer will be able to explain the potential risks involved in making a statement, and will be able to assist you with determining what, if anything, you should be saying to the police.
It is important note that if you decide to make a statement, anything that you say in that statement may be used to build a case against you. No matter what the police may tell you, there is no such thing as giving a police officer a statement that is “off the record”, and they will try to use those statements to convict you if you are charged with an offence.
It will not make you look guilty if you refuse to provide a statement to the police!
Many people who have been accused of committing a crime believe that if they do not provide a statement to the police they will look guilty, or as though they have something to hide. However, since you have a right to silence that is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, no adverse inference can be drawn from your decision to remain silent.
Far from making you look guilty, it is actually in the interest of preserving your innocence that you do not speak to the police or provide them with any evidence prior to exercising your right to contact a lawyer. Even when you believe that you are only providing information that will show you are innocent, you may accidentally divulge information that the police or the Crown Prosecutor could use to implicate you in a crime.
If you believe you are a suspect in a criminal investigation and the police have asked you to provide them with a statement, contact us immediately. We can help you understand your rights and obligations when speaking with the police, and help you navigate the complex process of addressing and resolving your criminal charges.