When Is a Search Illegal in Calgary?
For a Calgary police officer or investigator to legally search your person, home, or motor vehicle, he or she must first meet certain requirements. In order to undertake the search, the officer must ordinarily have probable cause along with a warrant or a warrant exception.
If any of these is lacking, the search may be deemed unlawful. If the search is unlawful, then any evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed and may not be introduced against you at your criminal trial. The skilled criminal defence legal team at Bourdon Defence can determine, based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest, whether the police likely had the authority to undertake a search. If they did not, your lawyer can work to have any subsequent evidence excluded and argue for a dismissal of your criminal charge.
In order for a Calgary police officer to search your person, your car, or your home, he or she must have probable cause for that search. Probable cause means that the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that criminal activity is afoot and that you committed the crime.
Permission or Consent
If you consent to a police officer searching your person, your automobile, or your home, the officer then has the legal authority to do so. Under ordinary circumstances, only an adult (as opposed to a minor) can grant authority for a search.
Search and Arrest Warrants
A Calgary police officer can undertake a search of your home or car if he or she is in possession of a validly issued search warrant or arrest warrant. These warrants are issued based upon probable cause, and a judge signs off on them. In order to be valid, the warrant must particularly state the place to be search or the individual to be arrested. A validly issued search warrant grants the police the authority they need to enter and search your home or vehicle—even if you do not want them to do so. Also, pursuant to the terms of a search warrant, officers can confiscate items that they find during their search. The search, however, must not exceed the scope of the warrant. In the home context, police officers can only search in areas where the items listed in the search warrant could reasonably be located.
The police may be able to lawfully enter and search your home or vehicle in the event of an emergency. Not all circumstances, though, constitute an emergency. An emergency likely exists if a crime was just committed in the home—or if the police reasonably believed that someone in the home is likely to be imminently harmed.
Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Calgary to Represent You Today
If you believe that you were the target of an unlawful search and seizure, the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence can assist. To schedule a consultation and evaluation with a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary, you should call at (403) 474-4143, or find us online today.