There are strict rules regarding search warrants. If the police fail to comply with these, any evidence that has been gathered during an illegal search cannot be used to prosecute you.
We can help you understand whether a search of your property, digital media or other premises was lawful. If not, we can make an application to have the evidence excluded from your trial.
To find out more about how our criminal defence lawyers can help you, please contact us today at Mickelson & Whysall.
Search warrants and the law
There may be times during a criminal investigation when the police wish to search your property, be it your home, your computer or another premises, such as a storage locker. If you do not grant them permission, they must obtain a search warrant.
To get a search warrant, the police must submit an Information to Obtain a Search Warrant form. In this form, those conducting the investigation must explain why they feel a search is necessary, what evidence they are looking for, and why they believe this evidence will be found in the specified location.
If a judge or justice of the peace authorizes the request, the police will be allowed to carry out a search and you cannot cause an obstruction. However, the terms of the search warrant will be very exact. For example, it will set the time and date the search can take place, and will limit the search to the location and items detailed in the warrant.
If evidence is found and seized during a search, it can then be used during the course of your prosecution.
Was a search lawful?
Yet there are times when a search is not actually lawful. Typically this happens for one of two reasons –
1. The search warrant is invalid
There are various reasons why a search warrant may retrospectively be deemed invalid. This might happen if the application is found to contain defects, incorrect information or a lack of evidentiary support. It might also apply if the police excluded certain information, meaning the judge or justice of the peace was misled when making their decision.
2. The search was not reasonable
Even if the police are granted a search warrant, the search must be carried out in a ‘reasonable’ manner. Amongst other things, this means the police officers must stick to the terms of the search warrant, must not use unnecessary force, and must produce the search warrant if requested.
If a search warrant is found to be invalid, or the search is considered unreasonable, then any evidence seized during the course of the search cannot be used.
Vancouver criminal lawyer
If you are being investigated for a criminal offence, or you have been formally charged, Mickelson & Whysall can act on your behalf. As criminal defence lawyers, we can explore the various lines of defence that are open to you. If the police have carried out a search, we will examine whether or not this search was in fact lawful.
If we find any issues regarding the search warrant, or the search itself, we will apply to have the evidence excluded. If successful, this particular piece of evidence cannot be used at any point in your prosecution – including at your trial.
For further information on how we can help you defend a criminal charge, please contact our Vancouver law office.