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Police Investigations

Upon witnessing an event or receiving information regarding a potential criminal act, police will embark upon an investigation. Essentially, police investigations are where police gather evidence to determine if their suspect is chargeable with a criminal offence.

What happens when you become the subject of a police investigation?

We are criminal defence lawyers with over 30 years of experience, skilled in steering our clients through police investigations from beginning to end. Our goal is clear and simple: to preserve your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent;
  • The right to obtain legal advice upon detention or arrest;
  • The right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure;
  • The right not to be detained or arrested arbitrarily;
  • The right to be treated by police in a fair and non-oppressive manner, including, in appropriate situations, the right to a translator or medical assistance before speaking to police.

Your Right to Remain Silent

The right to remain silent is fundamental to Canadian law. Our law dictates that is it up to the state (the police and Crown counsel) to prove crimes against an accused person. The accused has no obligation, except in very limited circumstances, to cooperate with the police whatsoever. We certainly understand that when people are confronted by police as a suspect in a criminal investigation that the vast majority of people feel intimidated and powerless. If you are under police investigation for any offence, contact us. We can act as a “buffer” between you and the police. We can communicate to the investigators on your behalf without putting you at risk of incriminating yourself. We will help you enforce your right to remain silent and your rights against self-incrimination that are guaranteed by the Charter.

Recent Successes

R. vs. A.N. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we guided our client through, whether it was in the public interest for Crown to seek a conviction on this charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to permit our client to plead to the lesser offence of common assault. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions, the court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. J.J. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of  the Crown being able to prove that bodily harm occurred.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to permit our client to plead to the lesser offence of common assault. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions, the court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. S.W. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given that the complainant had instigated the altercation, whether it was in the public interest for our client to be convicted of the offence.
Result: We were able to guide our client through a course of rehabilitation and, after hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge and placed him on a non-reporting probation order for six months. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. S.W. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Refusing to comply with a testing demand.
Issue: Given the circumstances of the offence and our client, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser Motor Vehicle Act offence of driving without due care. Rather than a criminal conviction and a minimum 12 month driving prohibition, our client was liable to pay a $350 fine and a 2 month driving prohibition. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.S. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Given the circumstances of the offence and our client, whether it was necessary for Crown to proceed with the driving while prohibited charge, which carries a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to proceed on the lesser Motor Vehicle Act charge of driving without a driver's licence. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions our client was sentenced to a fine and a 4 month driving prohibition.

R. vs. J.S. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm (domestic).
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove that bodily harm resulted and, whether the rehabilitative steps our client had taken justified the Court granting a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the charge of common assault. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. C.M. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault; Threatening.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of conviction in this alleged "road rage" case.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide information to Crown counsel on our client's behalf that led Crown to conclude there was no substantial likelihood of conviction. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. M.D. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Theft Under $5000; Uttering Threats.
Issue: Whether, given our client's circumstances and remorse, whether it was in the public interest for criminal charges to proceed.
Result: We were able to provide information to police investigators which resulted in police deciding to not forward any charges to Crown. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.L. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide information to the Crown on our client's behalf that persuaded Crown that the case did not meet the charge approval standard. No charge was approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.F. - Provincial Court of Newfoundland

Charge: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Marijuana).
Issue: Whether it there was a substantial likelihood of obtaining a conviction.
Result: Upon considering Mr. Johnson's representations, Crown counsel concluded that there was no longer a likelihood of conviction. Crown withdrew the charge, bringing the matter to an end. No criminal record.

R. vs. M.B. - Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Application for firearms prohibition and forfeiture.
Issue: Whether Crown could establish that our client posed a risk to himself or others.
Result: Mid trial, Mr. Mines was able to obtain a successful resolution in which our client consented to an 18 month prohibition rather than the 5 years Crown had been seeking.  Further, rather than having to forfeit the  $15,000 worth of weapons that police seized,  Crown agreed to allow our client to sell them to a suitable buyer.

R. vs. C.B. - Vancouver Police Investigation

Charge: Possession of proceeds of crime.
Issue: Whether there was any lawful authority to arrest our client and seize funds from him.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the investigating officer that there was no basis to search our client and to return the $2400 cash that he had seized. No charges approved. Not criminal record.

Can you avoid being arrested or held in police custody?

The Criminal Code provides police and Crown a wide measure of discretion in deciding whether to arrest or whether to seek an accused’s detention prior to trial. For example, s. 496 allows an officer to, rather than arrest a suspect, issue an appearance notice, directing the suspect to attend court on a future date. Similarly, s. 497 and s. 498 allow a police officer to release an arrested person by issuing an appearance notice or summons to court. Even where the suspect is arrested on a warrant, s. 499 allows police to release a suspect on a promise to appear or on an undertaking with protective conditions such as orders of “no contact,” “non-attendance,” or various types of prohibitions for items such as weapons, communication devices or other items.

When clients under investigation contact us early enough, we will endeavor to persuade police to not arrest our client at all, or to promptly release them on the least restrictive conditions possible. To succeed in these representations, we must establish that, in the circumstances, it is not necessary to hold our client in custody, including the need to:

  • Establish our client’s identity;
  • Secure or preserve evidence relating to the alleged offence;
  • Prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence or another offence; or
  • To ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence.

Representing Clients under Investigation

Whether you are suspected of theft, assault, a driving offence, a drug offence or a serious crime, the police will undoubtedly want to speak with you, to “hear your side of the story.” Before speaking to police, you should understand that, under the Charter, you are not obliged to do so. Under Canadian law, your silence cannot be used later in court to infer that you must have something to hide. Over the years we’ve had many successful cases because our client was able to properly exercise their right to remain silent. Before speaking to the police, call us.

Start with a free consultation.

If you are being investigated by police or if you’ve been charged with a criminal or driving offence, don’t face the problem alone. Being accused of an offence is stressful. The prospects of a criminal record or jail sentence can be daunting. Even if you think there is no defence, we may be able to help. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Vancouver lawyers, contact us now.