Criminal Defense Lawyers in Regina
The criminal law team at our Regina, SK law office specializes in criminal law. Despite being a large firm we have made it a point to make sure we have criminal defence lawyers on staff who do almost nothing else, unlike similar firms who might have a generalist handling such cases but without a proper focus on criminal defence.
By focusing and specializing, our criminal defence lawyers become more adept at handling similar cases based on their long standing experience.
This experience and focus really does matter. When you’re in trouble with the law your life could be changed for good. Your freedom is at stake. There’s no room for taking chances.
We help clients defend against both summary and indictable offence charges, included, but not limited to:
- Traffic Crimes, including DUI and .08
- Weapons Charges
- Drug Charges
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Crimes
- Murder / Manslaughter / Homicide
Our team is ready to take care of you. Whether you’re guilty or not guilty, you won’t be judged by the team at Merchant Law. You’ll just be given the vigorous defence you are well within your rights to receive.
What to Do if Police Show Up At Your Door
Keep in mind you do not have to give law enforcement officials access to your home unless they have a warrant. If they have a warrant, they must announce this fact in clear, unambiguous terms. If they have a warrant you must let them in, but you don’t have to assist them, nor do you have to answer their questions.
Without a warrant, you are never obligated to let the police into your home, nor are you obligated to speak to them. Because they often first approach potential suspects as if they are witnesses, you want to be careful. If you want to help out, make an appointment to speak to them later, hire legal counsel, and go to the meeting with your lawyer.
If the police come to your home or call you on the telephone, first and foremost make it clear that you do not agree to answer any questions. You do not agree to be detained or searched. You do not consent to anything and you are not going to answer any questions. You do not provide permission for the police to question, search, or detain you and you can just hang up the phone or close the door. Keep repeating this firmly and respectfully. Always refuse any search of you person or premises as once you consent you have lost all your constitutional rights to challenge the police on the basis of probable cause and reasonable suspicion. If they do place you under arrest you should still refuse to answer questions or consent to anything and ask to speak to a lawyer.
There are certain circumstances under which the police may enter your home without a warrant. They are:
- To stop immediate harm or death. For example, they might force entry if they suspect a domestic violence incident is immediately in-process.
- To prevent imminent loss or destruction of evidence.
- When you have fled into your home in the hopes of preventing a lawful arrest.
These are known as “exigent” circumstances. If the police find evidence against you after entering your home without a warrant let us know; we may be able to prove the circumstances were not truly exigent, which means the evidence would be inadmissable in court. This could result in the Crown’s case being too weak to proceed, which means the Crown prosecutor will have no choice but to drop the charges.
When Can Police Stop You in Regina?
The police are only permitted to stop you under three specific circumstances:
- They suspect you’ve committed a crime.
- They’ve witnessed you committing a crime.
- You are driving (police may stop you any time while you are driving).
If they are not arresting you or detaining you, it is possible to end an encounter with any police officer simply by asking, “Am I free to go,” or “Am I under arrest?”
Always be polite when dealing with police. Getting angry only tends to make your situation worse. Staying calm and exercising your rights is the best way to ensure you make it through the encounter without generating criminal charges. As set out above, the same applies if stopped in your car. You do not need to get out of your car and should refuse to get out. You should refuse to answer questions and refuse any search of your person or your car.
What to Do If You’re Arrested – Criminal Defence Law
Give your name, address, and phone number. Then politely invoke your right to silence and your right to a lawyer. You do not have to speak to police, and there is nothing to be gained from allowing yourself to be interrogated.
Your innocence will not protect you. In fact, your attempts to prove your own innocence by answering officer questions could hand them everything they need to build a case against you. It may place you in an area that makes it conceivable that you might have committed a crime, for example.
Furthermore, the Reid technique used by police officers throughout Saskatchewan is a very effective method of extracting false confessions. Hours of leading questions and intimidation eventually cause psychological effects that are very hard to resist. The only real way to defend against the Reid technique is to avoid engaging in police questioning at all, and the only way to do that is to say nothing and to have your lawyer by your side.
The time to tell your side of the story is to your lawyer in private and to the judge (if it goes that far) in court. The job of the police is to get convictions. Any thing you say will only be used against you. That is their job. Do not help the police in their task to get a conviction against you. Do not cooperate with the police even when you think you have done nothing wrong. You will get away from the police faster by saying nothing and keeping your cool. If you start to answer questions, not only is it a terrible mistake in terms of the likelihood of your being convicted of a crime, but it will also mean they will take more time with you since you are cooperating and their job is to question and collect evidence to use against you. If they hit a dead end with questioning, i.e. because you are refusing to cooperate or answer, they will be far more likely to leave you in peace a lot sooner, since they will see the futility of their efforts in questioning an uncooperative person who is not going to say anything. Be clear and firm about that from the start and things will go much better for you in every respect.
Where to Get More Help
Contact our office at (306) 359-7777 or stop by 2401 Saskatchewan Dr., Regina, SK, S4P 4H8. We’re ready to help and we offer free telephone consultations.