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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.S. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving while prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with this charge which carries a mandatory one year driving prohibition upon conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide Crown counsel with information that concluded our client was not at all responsible for the motor vehicle accident and persuaded Crown to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without aa valid license. Our client was sentenced to a fine and a 3 month driving prohibition.

R. vs. L.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Mischief Over $5000; Assault Police Officer.
Issue: Whether the sentence ought to emphasize punishment or rehabilitation in this matter where our client was alleged to have caused over $100,000 in damage to his building.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide Crown counsel with materials confirming the rehabilitative steps our client had taken for his mental health. The cRown stayed the assault police officer charge and, after hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge and placed him on probation. No jail.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on the assault charge. Our client entered into a 12 month Peace Bond. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.Z. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to direct our client through, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with this prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide Crown counsel with information that allowed him to persuade Crown to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for Crown to proceed with the prosecution of this offence which carries a 12 month mandatory minimum driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid licence. Our client received a $500 fine and a 30 day driving prohibition.

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

Charges: Sexual Interference.
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove that our client sexually interfered with his niece.
Result: After a 6 day trial, Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the trial judge that there was reasonable doubt as to the complainant's credibility and reliability. Not guilty. No jail. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Theft Under $5000 (shoplifting).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide Crown counsel with information that led Crown to resolve this matter with a Caution Letter. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.R. - Vancouver Youth Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm; Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Whether our client was acting in self defence when he injured the complainant with a knife during an altercation.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown counsel that resulted in Crown declining to approve any charges. No criminal record.

R. v. C.C. - Surrey provincial Court

Charges: Impaired Driving, Dangerous Driving Causing Death. Issues: Whether police breached our client's Charter rights during the investigation; whether the court would accept the Crown's sentencing submission.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel that police breached our client's right against an unlawful seizure of his breath samples. This resulted in the Crown's inability to prove the Impaired Driving / Over .08 offences.  The Crown had originally been seeking up to 4.5 years jail, but sought a one year jail sentence on the Dangerous Driving Causing Death charge. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the court found that 5 months was the appropriate sentence.

R. vs. B.S. - North Vancouver RCMP Investigation

.Charge: Uttering Threats.
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the proposed charge.
Result: After Mr. Johnson made  representations to the investing officer, police advised that no charges would be forwarded to Crown counsel. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the charge, which carries a one year mandatory minimum driving prohibition upon conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser charge of driving without a valid drivers license. The court agreed with Mr. Mines' submissions and imposed a fine but did not impose any driving prohibition.

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

Charges: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the charge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to allow our client to plead to the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's license. Rather than face a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition, our client was sentenced to a fine. No driving prohibition.  

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.