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Justice Process – Arrest

What is an arrest?

An arrest is when the police take a person into their custody to charge them with a criminal offence.

Not everyone charged with a criminal offence will be arrested.  Depending on the circumstances:

  • The police can decide to tell the person that a charge will be laid and a summons to go to court will be given to the person later
  • Or, the police can give a person an appearance notice, a written notice of the charge that says when the person has to go to court
  • Or, the police can arrest the person and take him or her to the police station.

When will criminal charges be laid?

In some provinces/territories, the police lay charges, in others, the Crown prosecutor does.  In other situations, the police will consult with the Crown prosecutor and the complainant.

Criminal charges are laid when:

  • the police have talked to the Complainant/victim
  • there is enough evidence to show that a crime was committed
  • the police are able to determine who is responsible for the crime
  • the police have spoken to the Crown prosecutor

While there are guidelines to follow when deciding to charge a person with a criminal offence, some flexibility or choice still exists.  For example, the police may decide not to lay a charge if the victim does not want to pursue the matter.

In crimes such as child abuse and domestic violence, the police have specific guidelines to lay charges.

Where there is enough evidence and a decision is made to charge the person responsible, the person is now an accused and is taken before the courts.

» 1 Police Report » 2 Investigation » 3 « Arrest » 4 Bail » 5 Guilty Plea
» 6 Not Guilty Plea » 7 Plea Bargain » 8 Preliminary Hearing » 9 Trial » 10 Judgment
» 11 Sentencing » 12 Appeal