Suspected of a Crime? You Have Rights

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You’re between 12 and 17. The police stopped you because they think you committed a crime. This article explains your rights and how people must respect them during the steps that happen next.

Your Rights with the Police

If the police stop you, they must tell you about these rights:

  • your right to know why they stopped you  
  • your right to talk to a lawyer
  • your right to remain silent
  • your right to have a parent with you while they ask you questions

To learn more, see our article Your Rights When Arrested or Detained.


Right to Talk to a Lawyer

When you're arrested or held by the police, you have the right to speak to a lawyer by phone for free. Even if you tell the police you don’t want to speak to a lawyer, you can change your mind later.

You also have the right to talk to a lawyer when you go in front of a judge.

Most teens can get legal aid. Legal aid lets you get a lawyer at little or no cost. To find out more, contact the legal aid office in your area.


Right to Remain Silent

The police officers who stopped you must tell you about your right to remain silent. This right means you don't have to answer their questions or say anything. But you'll have to tell them your name, address and maybe your date of birth.

They must also tell you that anything you say to them could be used against you in court.

Your right to remain silent also means you don't have to speak in court. Your lawyer can tell you whether it’s better not to speak in court.


Right to Confidentiality

You’re under 18 and the police think you committed a crime.

In most cases, your name, photo or any information that tells people who you are must be kept secret. No one, including the media, can give out this information. Victims also have this right.

In most cases, you continue to have this right even after you turn 18.


Important! There are exceptions to the right to confidentiality.

The media can give out your name and other information in these cases:

  • You're going to get an adult punishment because your crime was very serious.
  • You're considered dangerous and revealing your identity might lead to your arrest.


Right to Have Your Parents With You

The police must contact your parents as soon as possible after they stop you.

You have the right to have one of your parents stay with you while the police ask you questions. But your parents can't answer the questions for you.

Your parents can also go to court with you. They'll get a notice telling them when to go to court.



Have you committed a crime? Learn what can happen.

Caught by the Police? What Happens Next?
Suspected of a Crime? You Have Rights

Alternatives to Court

Extrajudicial Measures: The Police Decide
Extrajudicial Sanctions: Instead of a Trial

Going to Court

Appearing in Youth Court
Steps in the Youth Court Process
Youth Sentences
Can Teens Be Sent to Prison?
Can Teens Get Adult Punishments?

Criminal Records

What is a Youth Record?
Impact of Having a Youth Record

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.