My Rights

What is an arrest? When can I be arrested?

An arrest is a more serious form of detention. An arrest usually means taking someone into custody and may include transport to another location (e.g., a police station), but a police officer can also release the person at the scene (except for the most serious offences) after making the arrest by providing the person with a document indicating a court date.

Police can arrest you if they have a legal reason:

  • If a police officer sees you committing a criminal offence
  • If there are reasonable grounds to believe you have committed, or are about to commit, a somewhat or more serious offence, such as some kinds of theft or assault
  • If you have breached the peace or are about to breach the peace
  • If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol in public and are putting the safety of yourself or others at risk
  • If the officer has a warrant for your arrest or there are reasonable grounds to believe there is a warrant for your arrest

If the police do not have legal reasons to arrest you,

they cannot detain you

while they search for evidence or reasons.