When you are detained or arrested in Saskatchewan, it can be a scary experience. The police have the power to arrest or detain you for several reasons. It's important to know your rights when this happens to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are being treated fairly. Canadian law protects your rights and freedoms to ensure the justice system treats anyone who is arrested fairly. Many people don't know their rights when they are detained or arrested. This could be because they are simply unaware of their rights, or they don't know what to do when the police stop them. At Andrews Benko & Associates, we focus on ensuring our client's rights are protected. If you are curious as to what your rights are when you are detained or arrested in Saskatchewan, what limits the police have when arresting you or how you should respond when you are arrested or detained, read on to learn more.
What Are Your Rights According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
All interactions you have with the police that involve you being temporarily detained or arrested are covered under Sections 7-14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over the years, court precedents have defined these rights and freedoms more clearly. Section 8 of the Charter states that "everyone is entitled to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure." However, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not clearly explain what is unreasonable, leaving the answer to this question up to the interpretation of the court. Any person who is arrested or detained may argue that a search and seizure was "unreasonable," but the courts will assess "reasonableness" based on a history of previous courtroom decisions.
A similar situation exists with Section 9 of the Charter. Section 9 states, "Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned." Like Section 8, the court is responsible for determining what defines "arbitrarily." The subjective language used to describe most of the rights and freedoms that you are granted under Sections 7-14 generally will require judicial interpretation. Because of this, we recommend that anyone who feels their rights might have been violated during a temporary detainment or arrest should seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Aside from having a thorough understanding of the law, experienced criminal defence lawyers will know how courts have previously interpreted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and whether alleged rights violations may be used in a criminal defence strategy.
Under Section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a person's rights when arrested or detained are clearly defined and outlined. When you are detained or arrested in Saskatchewan, you have the right:
- To be immediately informed of the reasons for your arrest or detention.
- To be allowed to retain and consult with a lawyer without delay.
- To be immediately informed of your right to speak to a lawyer.
- To have the validity of your detention assessed by the court and to be released from custody if it is determined the detainment is unlawful.
Other rights and freedoms related to arrest or detainment under Sections 7-14 include:
- To be tried in court within a reasonable frame of time.
- To be considered innocent until proven guilty by Canadian law.
- To not be denied reasonable bail without valid grounds.
- To not be subjected to any cruel or unusual punishment or treatment.
- To be provided with an interpreter if there are language barriers (difficulties understanding or speaking the language) under which criminal proceedings are being held.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Sections 7-14 protects people who have been detained or arrested from overreaching, overbearing, invasive or abusive actions from law enforcement. If you are arrested or detained, knowing these rights is important to protect yourself and ensure you are treated fairly.
What Your Charter Rights Mean in Practice
According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and court precedents, police can only legally stop people under three specific situations:
- They have witnessed someone committing a crime.
- They suspect someone has committed a crime.
- Any person who is driving to verify their driver's license, insurance, and vehicle safety or determine if they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When you are stopped by the police, it is considered a temporary detainment unless you are placed under arrest. Whether you have been detained or arrested, the police are legally obligated to tell you why they stopped you and let you know you have the right to speak with a lawyer. They can also conduct a reasonable search based on the situation. If you are detained, the police are allowed to perform a protective pat-down search to ensure their safety and that you are not hiding any weapons. If you are placed under arrest, they can conduct a more thorough search of your person.
If you are detained or arrested, you also have the Charter Right to remain silent. This is important because anything you say to the police can, and likely will, be used as evidence against you if you are charged with a criminal offence. Because of this, it is important to invoke your right to speak with a lawyer before you say anything to the police. While it is not recommended to make any statements to the police during a temporary detainment, you are required to provide the police with basic information, like your name and address. Failing to identify yourself could lead to charges of obstructing the police.
Your right to speak with a lawyer is much more important if you are arrested. The police have a legal obligation to allow you to consult with a lawyer and provide you access to free legal advice from duty counsel if you do not have or cannot afford a lawyer. After you have spoken with a lawyer, the police can continue to question you, but you are allowed to retain your right to remain silent. In most cases, your lawyer will advise you to use this right until they have had a chance to investigate the charges more thoroughly.
Andrews Benko & Associates Can Help You Ensure Your Legal Rights Are Protected
We know how stressful being detained or arrested can be. We also know how important it is for people to know their rights regarding police interactions to ensure they are treated fairly. If you think your Charter Rights may have been violated during a detainment or arrest in Saskatchewan, the criminal defence lawyers at Andrews Benko & Associates can help you review your options. Our team has extensive experience with Charter Litigation, and we can help you ensure your rights are protected, and you are treated fairly by the courts. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your case.