Calgary Law Enforcement Searches and Your Criminal Defence Case
All residents of Calgary and of Canada as a whole are afforded a certain right to privacy that prevents law enforcement agents and other government officials from performing "unreasonable" searches of your personal property. In some cases, these rights are very black-and-white; in order to search through your private residence for evidence of a crime, for instance, Calgary police or other law enforcement agents would need to present evidence that they have a valid grounds to believe that they will find evidence there, and they need to get a judge to agree and issue a search warrant.
In other cases, however, determining what constitutes a reasonable search is far more nebulous. The Supreme Court of Canada has handed down several decisions in the past few decades that have had an impact on the rules law enforcement agents must follow before and during searches, in some cases limiting the situations when Canadians have a right to the privacy of their property. Every citizen of Calgary ought to know the current standing of the law, when it is within their right to refuse searches, and when a criminal defence lawyer might be able to help have evidence obtained during a search deemed inadmissible in court.
Calgary Residents: Defend Yourself By Knowing the Law
You are always your first line of defence when it comes to potential criminal prosecution, and knowing when your property can be searched is an important part of protecting yourself. Generally speaking, your home and a car that you own and control are considered private and cannot be searched unless a warrant is obtained. There are circumstances where this is not the case, however, including if a law enforcement officer perceives an immediate threat to someone's safety including your own, in some cases that makes obtaining a warrant impracticable.
In addition, it's important to note that a warrant might be obtained before or after your arrest, meaning the police might already have you in custody when they conduct a search of your residence, or they might show up unannounced and exercise a warrant to search for evidence. Either way, once a warrant is obtained any evidence they find related to a specific criminal charge can typically be presented in court.
There are also many circumstances where a search can be conducted without a warrant. If you are arrested, your pockets and other personal belongings may be searched for weapons or anything that might present a danger to you or others during your detention. In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that passengers in cars do not have the same expectation of privacy drivers or those who own/control the vehicle, meaning your belongings in that car can be subject to a search without a warrant in some cases.
Find a Trusted Criminal Defence Lawyer if You Have Questions
No simple online article will be able to tell you all of the ins and outs of legal searches and when warrants are required. If you are concerned about a search police conducted that led or contributed to criminal charges against you or a family member, contact an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer today for a free consultation.