In Canada, if you get arrested and are under detention, you have the right to counsel without delay as per Section 10(b) of the Candian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The primary purpose of this provision is to provide you with an opportunity to get legal advice about your criminal charge defence.
In Canada, law enforcement agencies can arrest you with a warrant and without a warrant.
Being Arrested With A Warrant
When the police arrest you with a warrant in Canada, it means that they already have fulfilled the preliminary process to charge you with a felony before a judge formally. They can also apply for a warrant for your immediate arrest and get authorised by the justice of the peace to search for your whereabouts, find you, and bring you into custody.
In short, as long as the police have an arrest warrant and have a probable reason to believe you’re the one named in it, they can arrest you anytime anywhere in their jurisdiction.
Being Arrested Without A Warrant
The law enforcement officers can also arrest you without a warrant if they fulfill some particular legal circumstances. This means that the police may not require a warrant for your arrest; nonetheless, the standard conditions under which they can arrest you without a warrant must meet the legal requirements defined in the Canadian Law.
Conditions For An Arrest Without A Warrant
To be specific, there are four main circumstances under which the police is justified to arrest you without a warrant:
- They have a probable reason to believe that you have committed a felony
- They have a possible reason to believe that you’re about to commit a felony
- They have a likely reason to believe that you’re in the process of committing a felony; and,
- They haven’t been personally authorised by the judge to arrest you via warrant, but they do have reasonable grounds to believe that there exists a warrant for your immediate arrest
The authorities can indeed arrest you without a warrant in light of the justified conditions mentioned above. However, it’s an extraordinary power granted to law enforcement agencies if they fulfill four additional criteria for making a lawful arrest. Apart from having a probable reason to believe that you’re involved in a crime, they must also have a possible reason to believe that arresting you is crucial for one of the following reasons:
- To identify the person being arrested
- To preserve or secure evidence related to the crime under consideration
- To avoid repeat or continuation of the crime, or to prevent another offence; or
- Because they have a reasonable basis to believe that you’ll not comply with an appearance notice or undertaking compelling you to attend court
If you get arrested in Canada for a situation that doesn’t meet the conditions mentioned above, there may be a violation of your Charter Rights that can be used for building your legal defence. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will review your arrest conditions, identify possible errors made by the police, and use them to prepare an adequate defence for your criminal case.