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Search & Seizure


The Right Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The protection against unreasonable searches and unlawful detention is one of the most fundamental rights under Canadian law. Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevents the government and its agents from holding citizens against their will or seizing personal property without a good reason.

Unfortunately, law enforcement personnel often violate these rights to conduct illegal searches of homes, cars, clothing, and even people’s bodies in an attempt to find evidence of a crime. Being the victim of an unlawful search or seizure can leave you feeling insecure and violated. When the police officers and other federal agents you depend on to guarantee your safety wrongfully invade your privacy, you need a lawyer who can restore your dignity and self-confidence.

More importantly, however, an improper search or seizure can have a tremendous impact on the legitimacy of a criminal charge. If evidence was gathered as the result of an illegal search or seizure, it is important to speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are charged. At Hobson & Reeve, we know what your rights are and know how to protect them.


The Law Requires a Search Warrant

Although there are notable exceptions, the law requires law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant before conducting a search. In Ontario, police must supply a justice of the peace with detailed information about the location they want to search. They must provide enough information to justify the invasion of privacy that a government search entails. If the justice determines that the police have reasonable and probable grounds to conduct a search, he will issue a search warrant.

Because search warrants are issued for the express purpose of discovering crimes or evidence, they often result in criminal charges. Many criminal charges are dismissed due to improper search warrants. If a judge determines that a warrant was issued without probable cause, it can compromise the validity of a criminal charge. Hobson & Reeve’s experienced criminal defence attorneys can help you defend yourself against invalid warrants.


Exceptions to the Search Warrant Requirement

The law provides several important exceptions to the search warrant requirement. Under Canadian law, police can seize evidence and conduct searches in situations where doing so will preserve public safety. They can also engage in warrantless searches to prevent the destruction of evidence or in cases where illegal items, such as drugs or stolen property, are plainly visible. Additionally, an individual can consent to a warrantless search.


Hobson & Reeve, Barristers ̶ Experienced Ontario Criminal Defence Lawyers

The legal team of Hobson & Reeve, Barristers has over 60 years of collective criminal law experience. Our lawyers have worked hard to establish themselves as formidable litigators in court as well as efficient negotiators on matters such as plea bargains. Both David Hobson and Dennis Reeve have served as Crown Prosecutors; this experience gives them invaluable insight into each case’s unique strengths and weaknesses and helps them choose the best strategies for protecting their clients. They are dedicated to impeccable preparation, fierce yet professional advocacy, and providing the best possible defence for each client. Hobson & Reeve look forward to bringing their decades of legal experience to your case, protecting your rights, and providing the advice and representation you need. If you’ve been charged with a crime, call them at 866.619.9646 for a free initial consultation.

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