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Residents of the province of Ontario have certain rights. Some of these rights pertain to how police officers can interact with them. For example, in Toronto, police are not supposed to be able to stop someone without having a legitimate reason. If the reason for stopping someone is not legitimate, it is possible that any charges that follow an arrest could be dismissed. This is illustrated in the recent dismissal of multiple charges brought against a man in the city.
The man was charged with assault of a peace officer, possession of marijuana and two counts of failure to comply with a recognizance, following a traffic stop. The situation escalated from a simple stop when there was a physical confrontation after the man, who was seated in the back seat of the car, attempted to get out. In the struggle, marijuana allegedly fell out of his jacket pocket.
The officer that pulled the car over said he believed the accused was not wearing his seatbelt and on more than one occasion, the driver of the vehicle failed to signal while changing lanes.
At trial, the accused claimed the traffic stop was due to racial profiling. The standard applied when a judge makes this determination is that based on the information available, he or she thought it was more probable than not “that there was no articulable cause for the stop.” Based on evidence, such as the dash cam video from the police car, the judge agreed. As a result, the charges were dropped.
This is only one of many reasons that criminal charges laid against an individual in Toronto may be dismissed. A criminal defence lawyer can help determine whether in the course of an arrest the rights of the accused were violated.