What to do/what not during a police vehicle stop.
- police vehicle stop occur thousands of times daily.
- first things first, the law in Ontario sees driving as a privilege, not a right. So while you are protected by the charter, there are certain obligations that you have during a police vehicle stop.
- if a police officer has signalled for you to stop, you must immediately come to a safe stop
- you could face fines or jail time for failing to stop when requested
- The Highway Traffic Act requires you to provide the officer with three items during a police vehicle stop:
- your driver’s license
- proof of insurance
- vehicle registration
- Failure to provide these items can result in a fine
- when you are pulled over, you should stay in the car, turn on the interior lights, roll down the window and place your hands on the steering wheel
- when the officer comes to the window, provide them with your documents when they request them
- In Ontario, your passengers are under no obligation to provide identification or to answer questions during a police vehicle stop.
- The police can order to step out of your car if:
- they suspect you are impaired and they are administering a roadside breath or sobriety test
- they’re concerned for their safety (must be reasonable belief)
- The police may ask to search your car
- You do not have to give them consent – even if it sounds like an order
- If you have been pulled over and they want to search your car, you have the right to call a lawyer
- note that section 8 of the charter applies to the search of the vehicle so the police must have reasonable grounds for the search
- act respectfully and provide the necessary documentation
- sometimes, given the context, it’s better to comply with the officer’s requests than to argue with them
– it’s always your right to ask why you have been stopped and to contact a lawyer before answering any questions or consenting to a search