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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. B.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown counsel to proceed on this charge, which carries a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's licence. After hearing Mr. johnson's submissions, the court imposed a $500 fine. No driving prohibition.

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

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the criminal charge. Our client entered into a Peace Bond for a period of 9 months. No criminal record.

R. vs. Z.H. - Port Coquitlam Youth Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether, given the history between our client and the complainant, it was reasonable for our client apply  the level of force he used.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to not approve any criminal charge but, rather, to resolve the matter through Restorative Justice. No criminal record.

Y.Y. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles - Review of Driving Prohibition

Charge: Notice of Intent to Prohibit.
Issue: Whether RoadSafety BC had appropriate reasons to prohibit our client from driving for 4 months.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the Superintendent's adjudicator that the 4 month driving prohibition was not warranted. The driving prohibition was reduced to 2 months.

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

Charges: Assault (x2); Threatening; Breach of Undertaking (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was appropriate for the Court to convict him.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown to proceed on only a single count of assault. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.  

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

Charges: Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm; Driving Without Due Care and Attention.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown to charge our client under the Criminal Code or the Motor Vehicle Act in regard to an accident where our client's vehicle struck a cyclist from behind, causing serious injury.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown which resulted in Crown proceeding under the Motor Vehicle Act. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court sentenced our client to a $1000 fine and limited his ability to drive for 12 months. No criminal conviction. No loss of insurance coverage. No jail.

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

Charge: s. 810 Peace Bond Application.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether the complainant continued to have fear of our client.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to withdraw its Peace Bond application. No conditions. No record.

R. vs. L.B. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Fraud Over $5000 (from employer).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had completed and given the compelling explanation of why the offence occurred, whether it was in the public interest for our client to recieve a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the Crown to proceed summarily on the lesser offence of Fraud Under $5000, and after hearing Mr. Johnson's submission, the court granted our client an absolute discharge. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.G. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was substantial likelihood of a conviction in this “road rage” assault case.
Result: Mr. Johnson provided information to the Crown that suggested our client was acting in self defence. No charge approved. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Theft Over $5000.
Issue: Given the steps taken by our client to repay a substantial amount of the alleged $70,000 theft from his employer, whether it was in the public interest for the Crown to pursue a jail sentence that, given the breach of trust, would normally be called for.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel that they could only prove theft in the amount of $40,000. He was then able to persuade Crown to proceed summarily on 8 counts of Theft Under $5000 and to make a joint submission for a conditional sentence. After hearing Mr. Mines’ submissions, the court granted our client a 6 month conditional sentence and made a stand alone restitution order. No jail.

R. vs. T.G. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault with a Weapon; Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps Mr. Johnson was able to steer our client through, whether our client would be convicted of the offences.
Result: After hearing Mr. Johnson’s submissions on our client’s behalf, the Judge granted our client a conditional discharge. No conviction; no criminal record.

UBC Independent Investigations Office vs. B.F.

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: Whether the complainant could prove her allegation of being sexually assaulted.
Result: Mr. Johnson provided information to the investigator on our client’s behalf, and at the conclusion of the hearing, the allegation was dismissed.

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.