In order to convict you of failing to stop for police, the Crown must prove the following elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were operating a motor vehicle, seagoing vessel, aircraft or railway equipment;
- You were pursued by law enforcement;
- You knew you were being pursued; and
- You did not stop your vehicle as soon as reasonably possible.
In Saskatchewan, this offence usually arises from failing to stop for an RCMP or municipal police officer. However, peace officers are widely defined in the Code. You can be charged with failing to stop for the RCMP, Saskatchewan Highway Patrol, Conservation Officers, the Canadian Armed Forces, customs officers, and more.
Investigation of Failing to Stop for Police Charges in Saskatchewan
A failing to stop for police investigation is usually initiated by the peace officer involved. The police will pursue you until they can safely stop you, or they will arrest you at the scene of an accident should one occur. This charge often arises following high-speed chases.
Because many peace officers have the power to arrest people, a charge can flow directly from the alleged failure to stop and may rely solely on the statement of the officer. In their investigation, however, the police will likely also consult surveillance footage as well as written statements from any witnesses. This evidence will be used in the Crown’s case against you.
The Saskatoon and Regina Police Service take failing to stop for police offences seriously. In particular, the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) unit is funded by the Government of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (“SGI”). It is made up of 9 constables, 1 corporal, and 1 sergeant from the RCMP and various municipal police agencies, including Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, and Estevan. They patrol roads across the province to ensure roadways are safe.
If you are arrested, police will take you to an RCMP detachment or municipal police cells for processing. If you are not present at the scene, police will track you down or issue a warrant for your arrest.
After you have been charged, police will provide a package with all of the evidence they collected, known as the “disclosure package,” to the Crown Prosecutor. You will have the right to access this disclosure package to see the evidence against you. Once you retain one of our lawyers, we will assist you in obtaining the disclosure package, and we will review it with you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown’s case, as well as any legal defences that may be available to you.
Bail Process and Conditions for Failing to Stop for Police Charges in Saskatchewan
How do I get myself or a loved one out on bail for failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
For most failing to stop for police charges it is not unusual for police to release you at the scene. Police will provide you with an Appearance Notice document outlining your charges, and any appearances you must make.
If the police feel that your circumstances require more onerous conditions they may require you to sign an Undertaking.
This document will outline your charges and include any specific conditions you must follow, including being prohibited from:
- Leaving the province; and/or
- Alcohol consumption.
Though it is unlikely, in some cases, a formal bail hearing is necessary to secure your release. Typically, this occurs when the circumstances surrounding the failure to stop are more serious, such as where a serious accident was caused.
In the event that a bail hearing is necessary, you will likely be transferred to a provincial correctional facility to wait for your bail hearing. If you are a male, you will be transferred to the nearest of the following: the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, the Prince Albert Provincial Correctional Centre, or the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre. If you are a female, you will be transferred to the Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert. In some cases, you may be held at the local RCMP detachment or municipal police cells.
The bail hearing can be held within as little as 24 hours, a period of time that starts from the moment of arrest or detention. However, the Crown can request up to three days to prepare for your bail hearing and may ask the court for longer. An effective defence lawyer will ensure that your bail hearing occurs as soon as possible so that you are not in custody for any longer than necessary.
The Regina Provincial Correctional Centre address is:
Regina Provincial Correctional Centre
4040E 9th Avenue North
Regina, SK S4P 3A6
Tel: (306) 924-9000
The Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre address is:
Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre
910 60 Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 2H6
Tel: (306) 956-8800
The Prince Albert Correctional Centre address is:
Prince Albert Correctional Centre
3021 1 Avenue West
Prince Albert, SK S6V 6G1
Tel: (306) 953-3000
In Prince Albert, the Pine Grove Correctional Centre address is:
Pine Grove Correctional Centre
1700 7 Avenue North-East
Spruce Home, SK S0J 2N0
Tel: (306) 953-3100
Loved ones are not able to contact you while you are detained. Unless the detained person is a minor, the police will not release any information to friends or family due to privacy laws. Your lawyer is the only person allowed to contact you. Once the police have verified your lawyer’s details, they will pass on information about your whereabouts, if requested.
Given these difficulties, while you are held in custody, it is best to appoint a competent defence lawyer as soon as possible to manage the legal process and communicate with loved ones. After an arrest, the police must provide you with the opportunity to call a lawyer in private. If you choose to exercise this right, the police must stop questioning you until you have had the opportunity to do so.
Once you retain one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers, we will begin working to secure your release on bail.
We will immediately do the following:
- Call into the correctional centre where you are being held and speak to you.
- Contact the prosecutor assigned to the bail hearing to start negotiating your release.
- Order and secure a copy of the police information package that details the allegations against you in advance of the bail hearing. This allows the lawyer to make meaningful representations to the court about why you should be released on bail.
- Conduct either an in-person or teleconference bail hearing to secure your release.
When you attend your bail hearing, the judge will consider the following factors:
- Is detention necessary to secure your attendance in court?
- Is detention necessary to protect the public from a substantial risk of re-offending?
- Is detention necessary in all the circumstances to maintain confidence in the administration of justice?
Although it is unlikely that you will be denied bail for a failure to stop for a police charge, tight restrictions may nevertheless be applied to your release. Rest assured, we will work to not only secure your release but also ensure the least restrictive set of bail conditions (including the minimum cash deposit) possible.
In order for our lawyers to secure less stringent conditions, the judge will need to be satisfied that you will attend court as required and that you pose no significant risk of harm to the public. This may sometimes be difficult in a failing to stop for police case, but not impossible.
Our lawyers are often successful at persuading the Crown Prosecutor in charge of bail to let our clients out. If we can’t convince the prosecutor, we can conduct a formal bail hearing and work to convince the court. Even if you are ultimately detained, we can appeal that decision on very short notice through a bail review. Such reviews are conducted at the Court of King’s Bench of Saskatchewan.
Where can I pay for bail for failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
If you or a loved one are charged with failing to stop for police in Saskatchewan and granted bail, you may be required to provide a cash deposit to secure release. The mode by which you pay the cash deposit will depend on the courthouse at which your bail hearing is held. Your defence lawyer will advise you on the procedures specific to your location and will be able to explain the options for payment to you, or to a loved one who is making the payment on your behalf.
How do I change my release conditions for failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
Release on bail with failing to stop for police charges may require either a surety, cash or no-cash deposit.
Beyond that, you may face tight restrictions, including conditions to refrain from:
- Being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle;
- Using drugs or alcohol;
- Staying out beyond a certain time (i.e. curfew);
- Breaking any laws;
- Possessing weapons;
- Visiting certain places; and/or
The judge may also impose additional conditions such as:
- Residing where approved;
- Reporting to probation;
- Attending counselling; and/or
- Maintaining or seeking employment.
A variety of factors will be considered when determining your precise restrictions, including:
- Your criminal history;
- Your history of drug/alcohol usage;
- Your physical and mental condition;
- The nature of the alleged offence; and
- The likelihood that you will flee.
If you have already been released, at least for the short term, it is critical that you follow your conditions until they can be changed. Breaching the terms of your release can result in further charges or revocation of your bail, as well as a forfeiture of any cash paid to secure your release. It is important to take these conditions seriously.
Once the matter is in court, we can work with the prosecutor to alter your conditions. This includes either adding exceptions to some of the conditions or eliminating them altogether.
If your court date is far away and you cannot wait until then, we can arrange to have the matter dealt with sooner. Our first priority is always to stabilize your release conditions. That way, you will not feel pressured to plead guilty because of the restrictive terms of your release. Once the conditions are manageable and minimally intrusive to your daily routine, we can focus 100% of our attention on defending the case.
Penalties for Failing to Stop for Police Charges in Saskatchewan
Punishments for a conviction for failing to stop for police depend on a range of factors and can include both criminal penalties and a driving suspension or fines imposed under the provincial TSA. It is important to note that this page addresses criminal penalties imposed by the Code and does not include additional penalties you may face provincially under the TSA.
Failing to stop by police is treated as a hybrid offence in Canada. This means that the Crown can choose to prosecute you summarily or by way of indictment. This decision will depend on the facts of your case, and your punishment will vary based on how the Crown chooses to proceed. Indictment is the more serious of the two.
For a failure to stop for police conviction, you can expect:
- Summary: Maximum of two years’ less a day imprisonment;
- Indictment: Maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Some aggravating factors that will increase the likelihood of a harsher punishment are:
- Where you caused bodily harm or death;
- Where you were racing;
- Where there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle;
- Where you were being paid for operating the vehicle;
- Where you were impaired while operating the vehicle;
- Where you were operating a large motor vehicle; and
- Where you were not permitted to be operating the vehicle.
Under section 275 of the TSA, you may also expect a punishment that includes:
- A fine not exceeding $1,000.
The penalties resulting from a conviction for a failing to stop for police charge can have wide-ranging negative consequences on your future. You may have difficulties securing employment in the area of your choice, especially in roles that require driving. Furthermore, your insurance rates will almost certainly increase (contact your insurance agency for specifics). One of the more serious long-term consequences is a lifelong criminal record, which can hinder immigration and travel.
For these reasons, even if you intend on accepting responsibility for this offence, it is worthwhile to explore your options and consider all of the potential penalties. Often, good representation can result in no criminal record. Furthermore, a community-based sentence may be obtained even where the Crown is seeking jail time.
Rest assured, our lawyers will work hard to defend you so that you are not saddled with the consequences that stem from a failure to stop for police conviction. In fact, we can canvass a range of sentencing options with the prosecutors that will either leave you with no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing. To learn more about potential non-criminal resolutions, please visit our resolutions page, or read our FAQ on resolutions and other sentencing options.
Defending Failing to Stop for Police Charges in Saskatchewan
What are the best defences to failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
The defence that is best for you will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offence.
Generally, some of the best defences to failing to stop for police are:
- Violation of Constitutional Rights: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) sets out your rights before and after your arrest. If the police fail to abide by these rights, it can aid your defence.
- Reasonable Excuse: If you had a good reason for evading police, such as a medical emergency, this can help combat a failing to stop for police charge.
- No Knowledge: For the Crown to succeed in charging you with failure to stop for police, they must prove that you knew that you were being pursued by law enforcement. If there were circumstances that impeded you from noticing that the police were trying to stop you, such as poor weather conditions, this can help challenge the requisite mental element of the offence.
As experienced criminal driving lawyers, we will carefully review the entire police file, which may include expert reports from a traffic reconstructionist, witness statements, collision reports, photographs, and other documents pertaining to your case.
We will listen to your version of events, paying special attention to any evidence that bears on the following key issues:
- Did the police deploy all possible methods of getting your attention?
- Did the officers who claim you fled from them make detailed and accurate notes of your driving?
- Did the police video record your driving pattern? Is it consistent with their reports?
- Did you have a reasonable excuse for not stopping the vehicle (e.g. medical emergency)?
- Were there circumstances that prevented you from noticing the police were trying to get you to stop (e.g. hearing problems)?
There are other successful defence strategies that our experienced defence lawyers can take against failing to stop for police charges. Our team of lawyers will conduct a thorough review of the circumstances of your case, in order to decide what defences are available to you.
How can I help defend failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
If you have been charged with failing to stop for police, the following actions can help your lawyer build a strong defence:
- Take detailed notes about your version of events to provide to your lawyer;
- Have passengers write down their observations of what happened;
- Collect and maintain all documents and records about the event;
- Gather any photographic evidence that you may have; and
- Log any relevant texts, emails or phone calls.
As soon as you are released on bail, you should start to gather the information that may be of use to your lawyer. If you are uncertain what information may be relevant, contact one of our lawyers immediately to create a plan of action.
To be truly proactive about the matter, consider doing the following:
- Secure proof of employment;
- Secure reference letters;
- Enroll in counselling (e.g. alcohol or drug rehabilitation);
- Secure a record of prescriptions; and
- Secure a record of any mental health conditions you suffer from.
These steps can be very helpful in building an effective defence (or convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges altogether).
What can a lawyer do to help me defend against failing to stop for police charges in Saskatchewan?
As we start preparing your defence by examining police actions and the evidence against you, there are certain defence strategies that can be used to aid your cause.
Some of these include:
- Assembling documents, photos, texts, etc. that contradict the allegation and support your version of events;
- Identifying mistakes in the actions of the police, such as Charter breaches; and
- Uncovering administrative/systemic errors, such as “Jordan delay,” non-disclosure, lost or destroyed evidence, etc.
Our experienced defence lawyers will use the most effective defence against the charges according to the precise circumstances of your case. Even if the charges proceed and you are found guilty, a dedicated lawyer can significantly reduce the severity of the consequences for you.
Below are a few notable cases dealing with various aspects of failing to stop for police charges:
In R v Isaac, 2015 SKQB 46, the accused was charged with several offences, including failing to stop for police while driving an allegedly stolen vehicle. Police initially located the vehicle approximately 10 minutes after it was stolen. After following the vehicle, they attempted to stop it by activating their sirens and lights. The vehicle did not stop and instead sped up and drove away. Soon after, the police located the parked car. They noticed the accused walking approximately two houses down from where they found the car parked and subsequently apprehended him. The court determined that it was clear the officers were attempting to signal the vehicle to stop by using their sirens and lights. Furthermore, the court found no alternative explanation for the accused’s actions other than failing to stop to evade police. He was found guilty.
In R v Mann, 2006 SKQB 377, the accused appealed his conviction for dangerous driving. In the same judgment he was acquitted for failing to stop for police. On the night of the offence the accused was leaving a bar around 2:00 a.m. When the accused got to his vehicle, a group of individuals approached, looking to engage in a fight. The accused ignored this and left. While this was occurring, the accused was being watched by police from a vantage point nearby. When the accused drove out of the parking lot, the police began following him with the intent to stop him, but they did not engage their sirens or lights. The accused believed the headlights were those of the individuals who tried to fight him earlier, thus he drove in an evasive manner to escape the vehicle. Engaging the defence of “no knowledge” the trial judge agreed there was reasonable doubt that the accused knew he was being pursued by police, therefore he was acquitted of failing to stop for police.
Most of the information above relates to simply failing to stop for police charges, which can become increasingly complex and fact-specific depending on the circumstances of your case.
We have tried our best to provide a general outline of what you can expect if you find yourself in this situation, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To learn more about how we can help, please contact our team of criminal driving lawyers. We will conduct a thorough review of your situation and tailor a precise strategy that targets your successful defence.
Failing to Stop for Police FAQs
- How do I find the best lawyer for my DUI charge?
- How will my DUI charge affect my license in Alberta?
- How can I avoid a criminal record if I am guilty of a DUI?
- Can I go to the US if I am found guilty of a DUI?
- Can I get charged with a DUI if I am driving while I am high on drugs?