What to do When They Come for You by Ron Penfound

This article was first printed in the OLA ENews in October 2013. We thought it was worth repeating. Many people, when confronted with an unexpected visitor at their door, whether police, a bylaw officer, or conservation officer, are at a loss as to how they should proceed. Here are some thoughts from Ron Penfound.

When the average Canadian hears a knock at his door, he/she usually answers it. If the person knocking is one of either the R.C.M.P., the dog catchers, the humane society, the City Police, M.N.R., M.O.E or the O.P.P., anybody with a vehicle provided by the tax payers, in a uniform or not, with a badge or not, the normal Canadian’s first reaction is to be helpful. Invite them in for tea and answer all of their questions in an attempt to assist.

What he doesn’t know is that the person knocking on the door may have received a complaint from Crime Stoppers, a nosey neighbor, a person driving by your property or a myriad of other complainants.

If this is the case he/she will not tell you the sources of their information. You no longer have the right to “face your accuser”. If you are unfortunate enough to have a criminal record you will know how to handle this situation. The percentage of Canadians with criminal records is very low and the law abiding citizen can be taken advantage of by the very people who are supposed to protect us. A police officer has the right to lie to you in the course of an investigation. It is a crime for you to lie to him/her. Remember, once they are on your case they are not your friend.

What to do

  1. When you answer the door, step outside and close the door behind you.
  2. Do not invite them in.
  3. Ask if you are under investigation.
  4. If they say “No”, ask them to explain why they are there.
  5. If they say “Yes”, ask if they have a warrant.
  6. If they say “No”, tell them to “Have a nice day”.

What to do if you are charged

  1. Say nothing.
  2. Give no statement. (It is your right)
  3. Demand disclosure (this is a copy of their statements against you)
  4. Ascertain the seriousness of the charge.
  5. Do you need a lawyer?
  6. If Yes, get the best you can afford.

What to watch for

  1. Is the Prosecutor a lawyer?
  2. Will you be before a Judge, or a J.P.?

In an extremely high percentage of all cases they will attempt to extort you into a settlement. “If you plead guilty, and pay a fine it will go away”. This is a win for them. In many cases you will pay a lawyer $300.00 per hour for approximately 20 hours to get to this stage. You may be able to do this on your own. Remember, always negotiate from a position of strength.

Make them believe that you want to go to Trial.