*2022 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

The police will often call a suspect they intend to arrest on the phone

Police may call to extract a confession or make arrangements for the accused to attend at the police station to be interviewed and/or arrested.

The police called me on the phone from an Unknown/Blocked number. What should I do?

The police don’t always make an arrest at the crime scene. Often the crime is reported, investigated, and if a suspect is identified the police may call them on the phone to extract confessions, arrange for them to surrender at the police station (turn themselves in), or for them to be served paperwork relating to criminal charges such as a Form 9 Appearance Notice or a Form 10 Undertaking.

Receiving a call from the police could be the result of them failing to locate the individual at their home or workplace. If the police are looking to make an arrest and they cannot locate the suspect they will often try calling them. The suspect may be intentionally avoiding the police or may be completely unaware they are looking for them. In cases where they fear the accused may be violent or attempt to destroy evidence, the police prefer to surprise the accused with an arrest and search but this is not always possible.

In cases where the police are satisfied of a suspect’s identity and the allegations are non violent (theft, fraud, sometimes mischief) the police may call to inform the person they are being charged and to arrange a time for them to turn themselves into the police station to hopefully be released with a court date and a fingerprint date. The police also have the option of holding the accused for a bail hearing before the courts the next day.

If the police call you and tell you that you are being arrested/charged this means the charging decision has already been made and the case will be handled in the court system.

Should I speak to the police on the phone or in person about the allegations made against me?

It is generally advisable that an accused not speak to the police and answer their questions relating to the allegation. Sometimes the police need the accused to confess or admit certain elements of the crime that they cannot otherwise prove before they proceed with charges. As such, the police will say that this is the suspect’s only chance to tell their side of the story. Of course, this could involve admitting to being at the scene of the crime or admitting to the crime.

Some people will make a confession with an excuse/explanation that they think will stop the police from charging them (ie. “yes I key’d the person’s car but only after they almost drove into my children in the parking lot”). In reality, the police will press charges and then let the court decide what happens. People are under the false impression that GTA and other Ontario police forces use a lot of discretion in pressing charges when in reality this is not true at all.

This being said, the police may not bother to try to get the accused’s side of the story at all if they have enough evidence to press charges. Evidence can be as simple as someone claiming they witnessed you do something illegal with or without video/CCTV footage.

Please note that you should be honest in identifying yourself. It is a crime to lie about your identity. Also the police will not release you until they are satisfied as to who you are. The accused should be polite, honest about their identity, and respectfully decline to answer questions or provide an explanation relating to the allegation.

Exercising your right to remain silent is extremely important

If you are being interviewed by the police as a potential suspect or as someone already placed under arrest you should exercise your right to remain silent in a respectful manner. The police know that virtually all criminal lawyers will advise their clients not to talk. This is because they may say something incriminating even if they believe it to be exculpatory.

The police will never show you all of their evidence prior to trying to get you to talk. Sometimes they pretend to have evidence they don’t have (videos, confessions, witnesses, etc.) and it is generally legal for them to do so. They can lie to try to extract the confession.

They also make it seem like there is a huge rush for you to talk immediately and that you won’t get another chance. In reality, the arrest is just the first of many steps in the process and you will have plenty of time to decide with your lawyer what you may or may not say after reviewing all of the disclosure/evidence against you.

In some cases, particularly ones where the accused “voluntarily” attends at the police station and the interview is conducted with an open door, the officer needs a confession or incriminating statement to press charges. Remaining silent could be the difference between walking free and going to jail/getting a life ruining permanent criminal record.

How will I know if the police are trying to call or otherwise contact me?

Virtually all Ontario, Canada police forces call from Unknown/Blocked/No Caller ID numbers. If you ignore Unknown calls you may be ignoring calls from the police. Toronto, Peel, York, Durham, Halton, Waterloo and OPP police forces all have their officers call from Unknown numbers. It should be noted that they will almost always leave a clear voicemail message with their contact information. If you have a working voicemail, make sure you listen to your messages particularly from Unknown numbers if you are not answering those calls.

As of 2022 sometimes the police will also send emails and text messages to suspects if they are unsuccessful in calling them. It is their preference that the accused turn themselves in amicably if possible. For non-violent crimes such as theft and fraud a phone call may be the first step in the arrest process. This is not guaranteed however as they can always just show up at the person’s house or work and arrest them.

I stole something from a store, refused to go back inside with security and they followed me to my car before I drove off. What is going to happen next?

A lot of the post crime calls from the police arise from shoplifting incidents in stores where the suspect drives off or leaves after being asked to stay by security. This is a common occurrence at larger stores like Superstore, Zehrs, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. The security will report the incident to the police including the suspect description, license plate, credit card info, etc. who will then investigate and possibly press charges. If they decide to charge, they will often first try calling the accused to make arrangements to provide them with the charging paperwork either at their home or at the station.

What happens if I just simply ignore the calls from the police?

If you ignore the calls from the police and they are intending to arrest you they will simply show up at your home, workplace, or other places known to them that you frequent and arrest you. Alternatively, they may place a warrant for your arrest so that if you are ever in contact with law enforcement in Canada or the U.S. you will be arrested and held for the charging police force.

Many people discover they have warrants at the Canadian border. They may have left the country for a while (thus not receiving calls from the police or physically present to arrest) and when returning to Canada get pulled aside by the CBSA and arrested/held or informed of the warrant and told to turn themselves in. The CBSA will normally contact the charging police force and ask them if they want the suspect held for arrest or released to turn themselves in.

Ignoring the police will increase the likelihood you will be held for bail.

It is a bad idea to avoid the police intentionally because it both increases the chances that they will hold you overnight in jail for a bail hearing and may make getting bail (Form 11 Release Order) more difficult. One of the primary considerations in granting bail is that the accused will attend court as directed or have their lawyer do so on their behalf. If a person has a history of disregarding legal responsibilities and being evasive this will not work in their favour.

If the police call, it is best to speak to a criminal lawyer immediately.

If you answer a call from the police, ask to call them back after speaking to a lawyer. If the police left you a voicemail message, speak to a lawyer before returning their call. It is always best to be as well prepared as possible prior to speaking to them. You can say “the lawyer advised me not to talk”. If you speak to a lawyer, the police already know that you received this advice.

In circumstances where the police are trying to contact a potential suspect, sometimes their lawyer can contact them to determine if they are being charged and if not communicate to the police that the accused does not wish to make a statement or answer any questions.

Will refusing to talk to the police make me appear guilty?

A common tactic police rely on when getting a suspect to talk is the concept that innocent people have nothing to hide. In reality, even an innocent person could inadvertently say something that incriminates them and leads to devastating criminal charges. They may have been just trying to “do the right thing” or “be honest” but end up making the situation worse for themselves (no good deed goes unpunished). In reality, both guilty and innocent people talk to the police and give statements. Both also get convicted often partially or completely because of something they said that hurt their case.

Remember, a statement can be anything. Something said to the police on the phone, to a 911 operator, at the doorstep, or even to a 3rd party could be used as evidence to support a conviction. The hearsay rule does not apply to confessions and statements against someone's self interest.

Many people think that a statement has to be given under the most formal of circumstances (written, recorded, etc.) to be valid. It does not. In fact many cases are based on something said in the heat of the moment that the person wishes they could take back after charges are pressed. This is particularly true in the domestic violence context in Ontario where the police are under policies to charge once any incriminating statement is made (even just to 911 or at the doorstep and written in their notepad).

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If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance about avoiding jail and/or a criminal record, employment background checks, IRCC/immigration applications and status, or travel to the U.S. in the future. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can respond to calls and emails relating to current Ontario criminal cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a criminal case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.

*2022 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2022. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


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   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel