Detention & Arrest Lawyer Edmonton

"At the heart of a free and democratic society is the liberty of its subjects. Liberty lost is never regained and can never be fully compensated for; therefore, where the potential exists for the loss of freedom for even a day, we, as a free and democratic society, must place the highest emphasis on ensuring that our system of justice minimizes the chances of an unwarranted denial of liberty."

- R v Hall, 2002 SCC 64

Do You Need a Detention & Arrest Lawyer?

If you have been detained or arrested, it is important to demand your right for counsel and seek advice from an experienced detention & arrest lawyer. Our team at Murphy Dolan Criminal Defence are here to forcefully protect your rights and help you navigate the court system. Contact our office today for a free 30 min consultation.

What is a Detention?

Detention and arrest are related but distinct concepts. A detention occurs whenever state actors physically or psychologically restrain a person. The classic example of a detention is a police officer yelling “Stop, police!” – no reasonable person believes they are free to continue when presented with such a demand.


Police have many different powers of detention, some of them general in nature and others that apply only to specific situations. For example, police have a general power of “investigative detention”, which allows them to approach and question persons suspected of criminal offences. In order to rely on that power, police must have reasonable grounds to suspect a clear nexus between the detained person and a recent or ongoing crime. An example of a very specific detention power is the power to create a detention perimeter around a suspected safety issue. In addition to these common law (judge-made) powers, police have statutory powers, like their power under the Traffic Safety Act to stop motor vehicles to check for vehicle fitness, documents, and sobriety. These are only a few of the powers of detention that police are able to wield.

What is an Arrest?

An arrest is a specific type of detention in which a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a specific person has committed a criminal offence. Detentions are usually brief encounters with police, while arrests involve prolonged detention that may include being held for a variety of reasons, including questioning, fingerprinting, and a bail hearing.

​ Arrests can be made whenever a police officer finds a person committing a criminal offence or believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person has committed or will commit a criminal offence. An arrest requires a higher evidential standard than a simple detention because of the greater intrusion on a person’s liberty interests. 

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What Rights Do You Have Upon Detention or Arrest?

Once a person is detained or arrested, the rights to silence, to be informed of the reasons for the detention, and to counsel are immediately engaged. In other words, the police must tell a detained person why they have been detained and must give them an opportunity to contact defence counsel to seek advice. And prior to the detained person is trying to contact counsel, the police must hold off on questioning.

Get Advice

Persons who have been detained or arrested are often at a critical juncture in the criminal process. For those who are detained or arrested, it is critically important that you assert your right to counsel and contact defence counsel for advice. For those who have already been detained, arrested, and released with charges, you must now navigate the complicated criminal court process, including getting and reviewing Crown disclosure, negotiating with the Crown, making court appearances, setting and preparing for trial, etc. Whichever position you find yourself in, you need advice. Get the help of experienced defence counsel. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions, contact our offices now so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are forceful advocates and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defence possible.