When can the police search me?

>>>When can the police search me?

law enforcement searching house

Because you have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures, there are limited circumstances where the police can lawfully search you. That is, the police can search you when you consent to a search, when they believe that you have illegal substances or weapons on your person, and when you have been lawfully arrested or detained.

Firstly, police can search you if you give them “informed consent” to search you. This means that you understand the possible consequences of the search and you voluntarily allow the police to search you. They can also search you if they have grounds to believe that you have illegal substances on your person. For safety reasons, they can also search you upon lawfully arresting you or detaining you. However, if they are searching you for safety reasons they can only “pat you down” and search you to the extent necessary to determine whether you have any weapons on your person.

If the police are arresting you, they can also lawfully search you for more than safety reasons. In such a circumstance, there must be a reasonable possibility that they will find evidence that is relevant to your arrest. For example, if you are being arrested for impaired driving or a traffic infraction, the police would not be justified in searching the trunk of your car because doing so would not afford them evidence of your impairment.

The law significantly limits situations where the police are actually allowed to perform more invasive searches of your person, like strip searches. Strip searches are extremely intrusive, and can be embarrassing, humiliating, and degrading for the accused, so they are not to be done routinely or as a matter of policy. The police are not permitted to do a strip search unless they have already done a “pat down” search and have reasonable grounds to believe that doing a strip search is necessary to find weapons or evidence directly related to the reason for your arrest. They are also prohibited from doing strip searches away from the police station unless there are “exigent circumstances” in which it is necessary to do one before you are brought to the station. Finally, the police are prohibited from making you strip in front of someone of the opposite sex. When the police are searching you or trying to search you, it is risky to resist. If you resist, you could potentially be charged with obstruction of a peace officer, another criminal offence.

As such, while you do not need to divulge any more information to the police than your basic identification, you should be as compliant as possible. If they are directing you to take actions or if they are doing things that are not legal, one of our criminal defence lawyers will be able to use their errors to build your defence, and to argue that the evidence they illegally collected should be thrown out.

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Disclaimer: All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided. The results provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.