Under most circumstances, police or other authorities searching for contraband and/or criminal evidence cannot intrude upon the privacy of a person or their property without a properly issued search warrant. Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides Canadian citizens with protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and whether or not a search was reasonable or a search warrant properly issued and followed can have a significant impact on the viability of any criminal charges that are based on evidence seized as a result of such a search.
A search warrant can be issued by a judge if the police present reasonable and probable grounds that an offence has been committed or that evidence of an offence will be found at the location of the requested search. That location can be a home, office, car, or any other specified location and a valid search warrant gives police the right to search that given area, at a given time, for items that have been approved by a judge. However, there are also situations where, assuming reasonable and probable grounds exist, a search may legally be undertaken by the police without the necessity of a search warrant; to ensure safety for law enforcement and civilians, to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, or in a case where evidence or contraband is in plain view. In addition, warrants are not always required to search a person during a lawful arrest, to search a car that has been legally stopped, or if consent is given by the subject of the search.
As noted, whether a search and seizure followed the requirements of the law can play a large role in whether or not certain evidence can be used against a defendant at trial and thus can play a large role in determining whether the prosecution will be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The law of search and seizure in Canada is as complex and confusing as it is important, and it is crucial to retain an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can evaluate whether a search warrant was properly obtained, whether your rights have been violated, and whether evidence, and the charges themselves, may be thrown out. A skilled defence lawyer knowledgeable about this nuanced area of the law can protect your rights, formulate and execute the most effective defence strategy, and seek the best possible resolution to your unique case.
Since 1996, the law firm of Mitch Engel, Barrister & Solicitor has been providing clients throughout the Oshawa, Brampton, and Mississauga areas with top-level criminal defence representation, including protecting the rights of clients from unreasonable search and seizure. Mitch focuses exclusively on criminal law and his extensive experience has given him excellent insight and strategic instincts about how to prepare and present the best possible defence in each unique case. His commitment to integrity, his passion and professionalism, and his excellent track record have earned him the respect of clients, colleagues, and courts throughout the Toronto area. A strong and zealous advocate, Mitch Engel stays available to his clients 24/7 and works on a block fee basis, meaning that his clients pay an initial retainer, which is then applied toward a fee for his services. He understands that his clients are making an investment in him, and works tirelessly to earn their trust and provide the advice and guidance they need. Call Mitch at (866) 761-7077 to get the legal advice you need to reclaim your life.