They are called “social media” and “public profiles” for a reason.

With the creation of Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and every other content sharing platform our lives went from private to public in nano seconds and we seem to like it.

We share everything from where we are to what were doing and even our opinions. However, social media can be your worst enemy and karma has a long swing on the Internet. Not only are regular people like you and me on social media but, police, lawyers and people in hiring positions.

This example is not from Ottawa but, it shows what you need to worry about. A girl named Emma tweeted about hitting a cyclist with her car and how they deserved it. Turns out the Internet did not agree with her and sent that tweet to the police.  The local police, being on social media, contacted her and made sure she sent a report.

This month we wrote and sent a newsletter talking about social media and how to use/not use it to our clients. If you want this information send us an email at [email protected] and we can send you a pdf or hard copy.

Posession of Unstamped Tobacco Charges Defeated: David’s Case

CHARGES:

Possession of Unstamped Tobacco contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Excise Act

BACKGROUND: the RCMP was notified by the Canadian Border Security Agency in the Cornwall area about a suspicious car. David was seated in the passenger seat of the car in a parking lot when two RCMP officers arrived and approached the car. While speaking with the man in the driver’s seat of the car, one RCMP officer noticed a blanket covering items on the floor of the backseat. The officers proceeded to search the vehicle and find 150,000 contraband cigarettes. David was arrested by the officers on site and charged with possession of unstamped tobacco.

Read the Summary of Police Allegations.

GOALS: I was hopeful that we could resolve this matter without David having a criminal record, or paying a very severe (nearly $40,000) fine.

STRATEGY: There were a lot of questions surrounding the behaviour of the officers during the search of the car and in David’s arrest. It was my opinion that David’s Charter Rights were violated.  I filed an application that sections 7, 8, 9, 10(a), 11(d) and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated. I argued that:

  • The items found in the car, all statements made by David and the other accused, and observations by the police were found without probable and reasonable grounds and should be excluded as evidence;
  • Timothy was not given his proper Rights to Counsel by the police during the time of the arrest. The officers arrested my client “from memory” and, in my view, did not properly advise David that he had the right to contact counsel of his choice by telephone;
  • The detention of my client was unlawful;
  • Officers failed to properly inform my client of the reason for his arrest;
  • My client was put in touch with duty counsel by default;
  • There was no warrant for the search of the car; and
  • The vehicle was searched unreasonably

RESULTS: All charges in David’s case were withdrawn.

 

Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties – Fleeing Police

In the Criminal Code, fleeing police is defined as operating a motor vehicle while being pursued and failing, without a reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

As the wording of the law shows, it is possible to have a reasonable excuse for fleeing from police. Helping to convince the Crown or the Court that there was a reasonable excuse is one of the things that a great criminal defence lawyer can help with in cases involving fleeing from police.

The penalties for fleeing police vary greatly. If no injury is caused by the fleeing, it is possible to be charged with a summary conviction. Punishments in this case can be six months in jail and/or a $5000 fine. For an indictable offence, maximum jail time is five years. It is easy to see how having a great criminal lawyer working to reduce your charges can make a major difference in your life.

If the fleeing from police caused injury, the maximum prison sentence is 14 years. If the fleeing caused death, you could be imprisoned for life. In these very serious instances, it is important to hire the best lawyer possible to help you manage the outcome of your case.

Are the Ottawa Police or Ontario Provincial Police Investigating You?

If you are under investigation by the police, you should seek the guidance and advice of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  Even if you have not yet been charged or arrested, a criminal defence lawyer can provide you with the help you need, even in these early stages.

There are a variety of reasons why the police investigate individuals.  Regardless of the reason why you are being investigated, it is important for you to know your rights.  A criminal defence lawyer can help you to exercise these rights during the investigation.  You should contact a criminal lawyer if any of the following has happened:

  • You have received a warrant for the police to search your home or workplace
  • The police have questioned your friends, family or coworkers about you
  • You think you may be under police surveillance.

The police use many different investigation methods, so if you think you are under investigation, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defence lawyer who can further advise you.

It is important to remember that a criminal defence lawyer is there to defend you.  This means that even if charges have not yet been laid, your lawyer may be able to help you avoid arrest and charges altogether.  If you are charged with a crime, your lawyer will have been there from the beginning and will already be abreast of the details of your case.

Hiring a criminal defence lawyer is a means of protecting yourself, and is not an admission of guilt.  Don’t wait until you are charged with a criminal offence to hire a lawyer.  Retaining the services of an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are investigated by the police will be a source of assurance and protection.

 

 

What Should I do If I am Arrested by the Police?

As an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, I am often asked what someone should do if he or she is arrested by the police in connection with a crime.

If you are ever arrested by the police for a crime like fraud, tax evasion, assault, impaired driving or even homicide, the worst thing you can do is to talk to the police about “what happened”.  Protesting your innocence to the police will not get you anywhere and may make things much more difficult for your criminal defence lawyer.

Instead of trying to talk your way out of the criminal charges, politely but firmly indicate that you would like to speak with a criminal defence lawyer.  You really should not say more than that.  Even small comments can be used by the Crown against you in a trial.

Make the most of your telephone call with a criminal defence lawyer.  Keep in mind that you do not only get one call as they say on television.  If you do not reach your counsel of choice, in many cases you can leave a message for a return call or select another lawyer of your choice to try to call.

During the call, the lawyer will probably not want you to talk about the nitty gritty of your case.  Instead, the criminal defence lawyer will want to explain to you how to cope with the arrest process and what to expect.  The strategy for defending against the charges will be developed after the arrest process is completed and you are either released on bail or moved to the detention centre.

While your arrest is processed, you may be placed in a holding cell.  In Ottawa, most areas of the cell blocks are video taped. In some circumstances there may be audio as well.  Your behaviour during that process will be recorded.  Accordingly, you should be calm, cool and collected.

An arrest for a criminal charge is scary and undesirable.  However, with thoughtful advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Richard Auger, the disruption to your life can be minimized.

Arrested for Impaired Driving in Ontario? Write Down Your Story ASAP!

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – If you are arrested for Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal in Ontario, the police will take you off the road and to a police station.

After you’re released from the police station, your first instinct might be to tell your family or close friends the “whole story” of your ordeal. As a criminal defence lawyer who has handled many driving offence cases, I can give you some important advice: keep your recollection of the events private, and discuss it only with your lawyer.

Instead of retelling the story verbally, to a friend or family member, you would be wise to write detailed notes about the incident. It’s important to include these crucial details:

  • Which foods you ate on the day of the event (and when you ate them), as well as any alcoholic beverages you consumed.
  • Where and when you were pulled over and arrested.
  • Who was with you at the time (include their names and telephone numbers).
  • What was said between yourself and the police, at the roadside and on the way to the station.
  • Whether or not you had access to a phone at the time of the arrest.
  • The type of tests that were administered, and when (e.g. was a breathalyzer used?)

These notes give you an opportunity to organize your memories of the incident, and they also provide you and your lawyer with a valuable reference for building your defence.

Have you been arrested and charged with an Ontario driving offence? Another early step you should take is contacting an experienced criminal defence lawyer, who can help you proceed with your case. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Ask an Ontario Lawyer: When Can the Police Seize My Car?

The police can seize a vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • When an arrest is made under s. 217(4) of the Highway Traffic Act;
  • When the vehicle is abandoned;
  • When the vehicle is unplated;
  • When the driver has received a license suspension;
  • Where the driver has been driving with a suspended license; or
  • Where the vehicle is blocking traffic or snow.

In some cases, if your vehicle has been seized you will need to bring an application to court to have the vehicle released.  An Ontario criminal defence lawyer can assist you with this process.

Arrested in Ontario? Will You Need a Bail Hearing?

Is there always a bail hearing when someone is arrested?

The simple answer is “no”.  In fact, often there is no bail hearing needed at all.

If you are arrested by the police, the police can release you directly from the police station without a bail hearing under three different arrangements.

First, the police can release you if you enter into a “promise to appear”.  Where that happens, you will be given a formal document with a date and time for a court appearance.  You will sign the promise to appear and agree to attend court as required.

The police can also release you directly if you enter into a “recognizance” in an amount not exceeding $500 without deposit, unless you do not ordinarily reside in the province or within 200 kilometres of the place where you are in custody.  If you do not live in the province or within 200 km, the officer in charge can require you to deposit a sum of money not exceeding $500 as part of the recognizance.

The police can also require you to enter into an “undertaking” in Form 11.1 with one or more of the following conditions:

a)    remain within a specified jurisdiction

b)    notify the police of any change in address, employment or occupation

c)    abstain from communicating with named persons and/or abstain from attending any specified address

d)    deposit passport

e)    abstain from possessing any firearms

f)      report to the police and sign in at the police station on specified dates

g)    abstain from the consumption or drugs or alcohol.

In any of these situations, your release following arrest will be reasonably prompt and no bail hearing will be required.

Police Crime Tracking System Announced

A new crime tracker is now available locate criminal activity in the Ottawa area.  The police announcement is here.

Ottawa Criminal Lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth strive to keep you up-to-date on local criminal law related issues.  Why not subscribe to our feed?