This page has been written for the purposes of legal education. Its purpose is to present in a general and simplified manner the law in force in Quebec concerning police powers and duties, your obligations as citizens and advice when you consider that a police officer enters a home when he is not entitled to do so. Its content should therefore not be construed as legal advice or advice. To find out the specific rules or advice appropriate to your situation, consult a lawyer.
Yes, in principle, warrantless arrests in a dwelling house are prohibited. Therefore, police officers who want to arrest a person in a dwelling house must have a warrant for entry or an arrest warrant that includes an authorization to enter. Generally, a police officer has the authority to enter your home to make an arrest when he or she has a judicial authorization to do so.
The three prerequisites for an emergency entry into a dwelling house to arrest a person are :
On the other hand, if the police have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence, and the person flees to his or her home and the police are forced to chase the person, they will be justified in entering the home without a warrant to arrest the person.
A police officer could also seek the consent of the suspect or the lawful owner of the premises to enter. If the officer seeks the consent of the lawful owner of the premises in the home who is not the suspect, the officer must notify that person that he or she wants to arrest the suspect. The officer must then state the reason for the arrest and that if he or she fails to do so, he or she will obtain a warrant to enter the house, keep a lookout while waiting for the warrant to be issued and use force if necessary. If the police officer asks for the suspect's consent, he or she must also advise the suspect that he or she is not obliged to follow them and that he or she may consult a lawyer before following them.
Yes, a police officer must first obtain the necessary judicial authorization to enter if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence is in progress in a home, but there is no emergency to act upon.
However, there are times when the police have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence is in progress and that there is an urgent need to stop it. Considering that the police do not have time to apply for a warrant of entry and that one would have been issued, the police could legitimately enter the home to stop an offence, in certain situations including the following :
Yes, the police can enter a home if they have a search warrant for that home as part of an investigation. Police would only be able to enter a home without a warrant to conduct an investigation if there is an emergency to do so, which is when the police have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence is being committed and there is an urgent need to stop the offence for safety reasons.
Whether or not the police have a warrant, they must also announce themselves before entering the home, unless they have reasonable grounds :
That said, except in an emergency, a police officer should always give notice of his or her presence by knocking or ringing the doorbell, identify himself or herself as a police officer and inform the occupant of the legitimate and genuine purpose of the visit.
The police must ensure that they respect your rights and only enter your home if they have the authority to do so in the specific circumstances in which they find themselves. Article 7 of the Code of Ethics of Quebec Police Officers states that "the police officer must respect the authority of the law and the courts and cooperate in the administration of justice. Thus, a police officer has the duty not to abuse this power and must therefore ensure that his or her entry into a home is legal.
Furthermore, any action taken by the police while they are illegally in your home can be challenged in court at a later date.
A warrant is a document signed by a judge that gives the police permission to make an arrest or enter a home or other building to conduct a search.
A search warrant allows police officers to enter the location described in the warrant to search for and take the items identified in the warrant.
An arrest warrant allows law enforcement officers to place you under arrest.
An arrest warrant alone does not give law enforcement officers the right to search your home (but they can look in places where the person to be arrested might be hiding and they can take evidence that is in plain view), and a search warrant alone does not give them the right to arrest a person (but they can arrest a person if they find enough evidence to justify an arrest).
A warrant must contain the name of the judge, the name and address of the person being searched, the date, the place to be searched, a description of the items being searched and the name of the police organization conducting the search or arrest. An arrest warrant that does not have a name can still be validly used for the arrest if it describes the person to be arrested in sufficient detail to identify him or her, and a search warrant that does not have the name of the person to be arrested can be valid if it gives the correct address and description of the place to be searched by officers.
If you want more information or if you need help drafting your complaint, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org