Canadian law question: police searches

In this thread and others I’ve read on the board about police asking to search one’s home, car, etc. the advice is to never allow the police to search the place without a warrant. I’m wondering if this is good advice to follow if confronted by the same situation in Canada? Not that I have anything to hide, of course :wink:
Just curious since this kind of thread comes up from time to time, but always in the context of US law.

I assume it must be similar in Canada, but I’m also curious about this, so I will bump this thread.

That is also the advice a Canadian lawyer would give you. I am not a lawyer.

I agree, always decline the police search. ALWAYS. You also havethe right to remoain silent. Always remain silent and never allow any police to search anything. Always decline the search at point blank range.

However, your right to having counsel present during interrogations isn’t quite as absolute as it is south of the border. So, you need to be even more stubborn about keeping silent up here.

While technically correct, this is too broad an answer. Your reasonable expectation of privacy right is dictated by the Charter (s. 8), but and what police can and cannot do as regards that right has been shaped by many cases–see, for example, R. v. Collins [1987] 1 S.C.R., 1987 SCC 11 and R. v. Stillman [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607, 1997 SCC 32, both of whose principles were further shaped (in some instances, through overturning) by R. v. Grant 2009 SCC 32. A full discussion of the principles and the law surrounding police searches (and attendant actions, such as investigative detention), is too big to get into here; but I will say that if police really do have a reasonable suspicion for a search, they can typically get a warrant immediately by phone: a telewarrant. At which point, you can no longer decline the search.

Your right to remain silent is always present–you don`t have to talk to a police officer any more than you have to talk to anybody in public–but your Charter s. 11© right to remain silent kicks in after arrest but before any questioning begins.

This is an important thing to remember. In Canada, you do not have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning–police can and do question suspects without their lawyers, and it’s okay. However, you do have the right to consult a lawyer before questioning begins. The police will give you a telephone; and if you want, a number to call where a lawyer is standing by 24/7/365. While the lawyer can answer the questions you will likely have about what can happen and what to expect; generally speaking, the advice they dispense will be to remain silent, as that is your right.

Yes, this thread may be a recently-resurrected zombie, but given the changes caused by, and the consequent impact of the Grant case in the time since the thread was begun, I`m kind of glad that thewhistlernews brought it back.

Need answer fast?

Of course, IIRC (IANAL) Canadian police have the right to search a vehicle for open liquor or anything else if they believe (“reasonable grounds”) to suspect it is necessary. It used to be that refusing permission to search was considered reasonable grounds - some police can be real dicks - but I believe hat has been limited to some extent. And, as always, lawyers have and will continue to make large sums of money defining “reasonable”. Similarly provincial wildlife officers have the right to search any vehicle or vessel for evidence of violation of game laws.
And like the USA, the police have the right to see your driver’s license and registration when you are pulled over for whatever pretext they want; during this time nowadays they typically run everything through the computer to see if there’s any reason to be suspicious.

I have seen a ploice officer in Toronto start asking a grubby looking street guy questions. The guy simply asked somewhat politely “are you arresting me?” When th cop said “No” he then said “then I have nothing to say to you.” and walked away. Of course, it was a pretty public setting, but like anywhere in the world, you piss off the police at your peril.

The other point, from the cases linked above (IIRC). Canada’s constitutional rules about law enforcement say that the activity cannot “bring the enforcement of justice into disrepute”. This allows a certain amount of latitude in allowing evidence, even if obtained improperly, if the courts feel it does not harm the reputation of the legal system too much.

Plus, the government of Canada is based on the establishment of peace, order and good government on behalf of the crown - unlike the USA, where the citizens thew out the old government to insist on their rights. While someone might feel justified in holding an armed standoff with law enforcement or fighting back for their rights, in Canada the police would have to act really badly to justify a citizen using force against them. Standing up for your rights is not enough. If you have a problem, go along and let the courts sort it out later. Canada also has a dim view of “right to bear arms” and the only justification for using a weapon is real fear of danger to life and limb. Police illegally kicking in your door are not likely to kill you (unless you are wielding a gun or a stapler), whatever else they may do.

Plus, of course, IIRC it was Trudeau who decided that trial by jury was an inconvenience that impeded the justice system; unless the crime is punishable by at least 7 years in prison, you do not have a right to a jury trial - a judge is likely to be less tolerant of violations of the law to defend your rights.