Drugs & Law

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2. Arrest

  • Any person may be arrested. A person might be arrested but not charged with an offence. A person does not have to be 12 years old to be arrested; however, a person must be 12 years old to be charged.

  • Unconditional Release-pending further investigation and specific circumstances (previous criminal record, seriousness of offence) a police officer may use his/her discretion and release a young person without laying any charges. A Record of Arrest is still filled out and kept on file, but not charges are laid.


Being Charged

  • In Canada, under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 12 is the age that a person may be charged with a Criminal offence. Twelve is the age where a person is responsible for the things they do under the law.

  • When you have been charged with a criminal offence you must attend court as directed and follow any conditions given to you.


Arrest Procedures

In this section we will look at the consequences and procedures of being arrested and charged with a criminal offence. For our purposes we will look at the offence Possession of Ecstasy (“E”, “X”, “E-Z”). We will follow this scenario from the moment you are investigated by a police officer to being released at the scene or transported to the police station, charged and sent to court.


Police Arrival

  • Upon the arrival of the police, they will speak with you. At this time, if the police determine that you will be charged, one of the following would happen.

    You would be placed under arrest and advised of your rights to counsel.

  • You may be given an Appearance Notice also known as a Form 9. An Appearance Notice looks very much like a traffic ticket. It is an order to go to court. By signing the appearance notice you agree to attend court as directed on the ticket and to attend a police station for photographs and fingerprints as directed.

  • Failure to attend either court or the police station will lead to a warrant for your arrest being issued.

  • If you are currently on other criminal charges or if the officer requires further information pertinent to the investigation and you refuse or are unable to provide it, (identification, parent or guardian information etc) you would be transported to a police station. You may also be transported to a police station if you have committed an offence that requires you to be placed under certain conditions (curfew, boundaries etc,) before you are released to the custody of your parents.

  • In extreme cases you may be held pending a hearing before a judge to determine if you will be released pending your trial. This hearing must take place within 24 hours of being arrested. Generally speaking it usually occurs before then. For the purposes of this example, if you are observed giving ecstasy to anyone (even one tablet or pill) for a fee or not you run the serious risk of being charged with trafficking in ecstasy. You will be held for a Show Cause hearing overnight at a youth detention centre.

  • Like the Appearance Notice (Form 9), if you fail to meet any conditions of a release such as fingerprints, court dates or abiding by conditions given, you are subject to arrest and new charges relating to those offences. 


Notification of Parents

  • In either case, by law your parents must be notified if you are issued an Appearance notice or are transported to a police station. In the case of an appearance notice, a formal letter is sent to your parents stating the day you were charged, the alleged offence and the date of your first court appearance. In a case where you are brought into a police station your parents would be contacted by telephone and would be given the letter upon arrival at the police station or via mail service.


Transportation to the Police Station

  • In the event that you are transported to a police station, you would be handcuffed and transported in a police vehicle.


At the Police Station

  • While at the police station you will remain in an interview room while you are processed. Your parents would be contacted to attend the station. In the mean time the investigating officers would complete the paperwork to charge you and prepare for your release.

  • To be released from a police station you would be requested to sign a “Promise to Appear or Form 10." This is a form that states that you have been charged and orders you to attend court and to re attend at a police station for fingerprints and photographs. As with the appearance notice, a failure to attend court or to attend a police station for fingerprints would lead to a warrant for your arrest being issued.

  • Generally speaking you are released back into the community pending your court appearances. In certain situations you may be released back into the community but have to agree to certain conditions. These conditions can include things like not having communication with a certain person or persons or not going to a certain place.


Fingerprints and Photographs

  • If you are charged with a criminal offence, you are required to be fingerprinted and photographed under the Identification of Criminals Act.


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