I was placed in an awkward situation recently where our neighbor called the cops on us. For reference sake, he was calling regarding a suspected domestic disturbance which occurred in the home behind ours, and he misidentified our home. However after he confronted me about it - he said he was going to call the cops (which he proceeded to do in front of me). When I began leaving he said it was a crime to leave.

I am aware that in certain situations (such as car accidents, or as the person who called 911) you may need to remain at the scene until speaking with police. However, I was unable to find information regarding situations where there is no immediate threat or crime that has been observed.

My question - What are your legal responsibilities when having the police called on you?

1 Answer 1


You do have the right to leave after the police were called on you, but leaving the scene could raise suspicion and make you seem guilty. It may be easier to wait until police arrive and explain your side of the story to clear things up. However, according to Canada’s Department of Justice, you can be placed under a Citizens Arrest. If someone sees you in the act of committing a crime, they are able to place you under citizens arrest and hold you there until police arrive. This individual is allowed to use as much amount of force that is reasonable. If this person did not place you under citizens arrest, you are not obligated to stay.

  • Could a citizens arrest be construed as kidnapping or assault and press charges when the police do show up if in fact they were wrong, as is the case for the OP? Aug 9, 2018 at 20:14
  • 1
    @JeffLambert Based on the link I provided, it says that police must be called as soon as possible, because if not it may be ruled as illegal and the accuser can face civil or criminal consequences. Also, the accuser must have reasonable belief that the individual did commit the crime in order to place citizen’s arrest. The accuser is also held responsible for any excess force used.
    – Ella
    Aug 9, 2018 at 20:23
  • 1
    Thanks for the link - in my situation a citizens arrest was never mentioned, though that may have been what they were thinking. It seems you might be right from my further reading - unless "detained" you are not required to stick around. Aug 9, 2018 at 20:44
  • Were you referring to the David Chen case? lawnow.org/whatever-happened-david-chen-citizen-arrests
    – DJohnM
    Aug 10, 2018 at 4:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .