Understanding Unlawful Detention: Your Rights and Recourses

Explore the intricacies of unlawful detention with Sondhi Defence. Learn about your legal rights, the implications of unlawful detention, and how our experienced team can guide you through your legal journey.

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Dealing With an Unlawful Detention

Law enforcement officials regularly detain people suspected of committing offences in Canada. Their actions must align with Canadian criminal law to help prevent unlawful criminal activities and maintain public order. Nevertheless, detention can be invalid when it is done without legal justification or fails to meet certain criteria established by law.

If you or a loved one has been unlawfully detained, it is crucial to understand your civil rights, legal protections and the next steps to take. Unlawful detention can be a terrifying experience, and enlisting the help of a qualified lawyer is essential. At Sondhi Defence, we have the knowledge and skills required to handle such cases. We can advise you on your rights and help you pursue legal action.

Understanding Unlawful Detention

Definition and Legal Context

A police officer may stop you and provide reasons why you are legally bound to comply with their request to remain with them. However, knowing what constitutes unlawful detention can help you understand when it is happening and how to handle the situation. Under Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you have a right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

The Canada Criminal Code also deals with detention in its provisions. Section 279 (2) creates the offence of forcible confinement, where the confinement occurs without lawful authority. Although the Code in Section 25 (8)(a) justifies acts or omissions committed by a police officer during investigative detention, Section 26 makes the use of excessive force an offence.

Many people mistake an arrest for detention. However, they have different meanings. You are being detained when an officer stops you and, through physical or psychological restraint, temporarily prevents you from leaving. They may only detain you if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that you committed a crime.

For instance, a group of police officers suspect that you are planning to rob a department store. They approach you and ask you questions that you refuse to answer. They may detain you by performing a stop and frisk. If they find a firearm on you, they can legally arrest you and take you into police custody. However, if the officers stop you and, without reasonable grounds, forcefully detain you, they may be guilty of arbitrary detention.

Common Scenarios of Unlawful Detention

You may find it challenging to differentiate between a lawful detention and an unlawful detention. In most cases, unlawful detentions are arbitrary and infringe on your civil rights. Some common examples of situations that may constitute unlawful detention include:

  • When an officer stops and detains you because of your nationality, race, or gender.
  • When the officer uses excessive force in the process of making an arrest.
  • Where the officer obtains an arrest or search warrant by lying to a judge.
  • When the officer prevents you from leaving without good reason or reasonable belief.
  • When an officer holds you for an extended period.

Your Rights Under Canadian Law

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

If you are being detained by the police, you have certain rights which are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Some of these rights include:

  1. Right to know why you are being detained – Section 10(a): The officer must explain the reason for detaining you. If they do not provide a reasonable ground for holding you, it may constitute unlawful detention.
  2. Right to remain silent – Section 7: You may choose to remain silent by not providing any further information about yourself or the case to the police.
  3. Right to legal counsel – Section 10(b): You have the right to speak to a lawyer when a police officer detains you. This provides you with the opportunity to discuss your case and get professional advice.
  4. Habeas corpus – Section 10 (c): This right applies when a temporary detention results in an unlawful arrest and you are placed in police custody. Through habeas corpus, the validity of your detention is reviewed. If the detention is found to be unlawful, you will be released from secondary detention, and your liberty will be restored.
  5. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure – Section 8: If the officer has reasonable suspicion that you are involved in a crime, they may do a quick pat down to search for any concealed weapons. This ensures you are not a threat to them or the public. Nevertheless, the search must be done in a reasonable manner.

Legal Protections Against Unlawful Detention

As a victim of unlawful detention in Canada, you may generally:

  • File a complaint against the police officer with the police department

  • File a motion to exclude any evidence obtained by the officer through the unlawful detention

  • Sue the officer and police department for violating your civil rights

Exploring the Consequences of Unlawful Detention

In Aurora, Ontario, the repercussions of unlawful detention can extend far beyond the immediate loss of freedom. Individuals wrongfully detained often experience significant emotional and psychological stress, which can manifest as anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. The stigma associated with detention, regardless of its legality, can also lead to societal ostracization and strained personal relationships.

Professionally, those unlawfully detained may face challenges such as job loss or damaged reputation, which can hinder future employment opportunities. Moreover, the financial burden associated with seeking legal remedy, including attorney fees and potential loss of income during the period of detention, can be substantial.

Recognizing these impacts is crucial for legal professionals and advocates working to support victims of unlawful detention. Adequate legal representation addresses the immediate need for freedom and assists in the broader recovery process, ensuring that individuals receive the necessary support to restore their lives and reputations.

Seeking Recourse and Compensation

An unlawful detention can result in very costly consequences for your life. For example, you may have had a job interview, university examination, or hospital appointment that you had to forego to remain with an officer.

You can bring claims to recover monetary damages that you may have suffered due to the unlawful detention. The type and amount of damages you can recover will depend on how long you were detained and how you were treated at the time. 

Nevertheless, some examples of what you may be entitled to include:

  • Damaged reputation
  • Lost wages
  • Medical costs
  • Pain and suffering

The Role of Criminal Defence Lawyers in Unlawful Detention Cases

Unlawful detention cases can be very complex, and you need the right lawyers to guide you at every point. Therefore, working with an experienced criminal defence lawyer is vital. At Sondhi Defence, we have extensive experience dealing with unlawful detention cases. Our criminal defence lawyers can zealously represent you and give you a better chance at getting the justice you seek – whether it is the exclusion of evidence or compensation.

If you believe you were unlawfully detained by legal authorities in Ontario, we can show that their actions were not necessary for the enforcement of their duties. We may also help with the following:

  • Assist you in filing a lawsuit and other necessary paperwork
  • Develop an effective strategy to help your case
  • Gather evidence about any improper police conduct
  • Help you determine the cost of your damages
  • Obtain all relevant witness statements or accounts
  • Take your case to trial (if necessary)

Get Professional Legal Representation in Ontario

You should not have your rights violated because you were subjected to an unlawful detention. Criminal defence lawyers at Sondhi Defence can help you hold law enforcement officers accountable and fight for fair compensation. Our law firm works with clients who have been affected by unlawful detentions.

If you feel you are the victim of unlawful detainment, then contact us today to learn what legal action you can take.

Get In Touch

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, call us right away at 1 (855) 4-SONDHI and get our team on your side. 

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