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Legal Information/ Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs

Until 2010, these legal briefs provide examples of judgments pertaining to everyday situations. Beginning in 2012, they deal with various topics of general interest, such as rental issues, family law, human rights, civil liability, insurance, dealings between spouses and social aid. They are intended to inform and to prevent undesirable situations.


Legal Briefs 2017

Legal brief
Shared custody, so no support to pay? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Raphaël and Maude lived together without being married and a child, Alice, was born from their relationship. When Alice was only 3 years old, her parents separated. Raphaël moved not far from the daycare and, after some discussion, the parents agreed to share custody of Alice equally. Maude agreed t more
Police Chases (What You Need to Know) This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
At the beginning of the year 2000, section 249.1 was added to the Criminal Code, creating the offence of fleeing a police chase while driving a motor vehicle. 

The following are the elements that make up this offence: 

  • The accused must be driving a motor vehicle; 
  • He must be being pursued by a peace officer who is driving a motor vehicle and asks him to stop his vehicle;
  • He must fail to stop his motor vehicle, without a reasonable excuse, as soon as it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances; and
  • The failure to stop his vehicle must be made in order to evade the police. 

The first two elements of the offence are rather simple and do not really pose a problem. 

The third element of the offence consists in stopping one’s vehicle safely, usually by the side of the road. The driver must avoid manoeuvres suggesting he is fleeing, such as accelerating. 

The last element deals with the accused’s intent. In order for an accused to be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove that the accused failed to stop his vehicle in order to evade the police. This therefore presupposes that he knew he was being followed by a police car. Thus, if the chase is initiated by a police officer in civilian clothing and in an unmarked car, the accused may not realize this is the police and may refuse to stop his vehicle without necessarily having intended to evade the police. 

When the four elements of the offence of evading a police officer while driving a motor vehicle have been proven, the accused can sometimes raise the defence of reasonable excuse. This defence may allow him to be acquitted even if his actions would otherwise constitute a crime.1

A person found guilty of this offence faces a sentence of up to five years in prison. Where an injury has been caused, the maximum penalty increases to fourteen years and, in the event a death has been caused, the penalty may be life in prison. A guilty verdict will also affect the accused’s driver’s licence, i.e. suspension or cancellation of the driver’s licence. 

The driver of the motor vehicle must stop his vehicle at the request of the police even if he thinks he has already committed an offence. The act of evading the police often has greater and more severe consequences than those of the initial offence with which the driver could have been charged. In some judgments, the courts have ruled that the sentence for evading a police officer while driving a motor vehicle should be served consecutive to the sentence imposed for the initial offence. 

The purpose of this section of the Criminal Code is to avoid police chases in order to make our public roads more secure. 

Safe driving! 

1 R. v. Armstrong, [2011] ONCA 709

Legal brief *
October  2017
Number  07
Text prepared by   Me Marie-Ève St-Cyr
* The information set out in this document is not a legal interpretation.
The masculine is used to designate persons solely in order to simplify the text.
What is a quarrelsome litigant?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Jeanne is the mother of a three-year-old girl, Amélie. She decides to consult a legal aid lawyer in order to get a judgment granting her custody of her minor child and fixing rights of access for the father, given that he exercises his rights of access very sporadically. 

George, the
Are childcare expenses taken into consideration in determining financial eligibility for legal aid? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Isabelle, a victim of abuse who has one child, is accused of murdering her former spouse. Isabelle works as a nurse’s aide in a hospital at an annual salary of $27,000. She does not own any real estate and has no savings. However, she has to pay $1,250 in annual childcare expenses for more
Youth Criminal Justice Act and Extrajudicial Sanctions This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Ethan, who is 12 years old, is visiting his cousins with his parents. While his parents are playing cards with his uncles and aunts, Ethan takes the opportunity to play various games in the basement with his two cousins, Sam and William, who are 6 and 8 years old, respectively. After more
Georges owns a house and has money in his bank account. Is he financially eligible for legal aid?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
George is married to Theresa and they have four minor children. George works as a part-time employee for a transportation company. Theresa is a teacher and also works part-time. They have a combined annual gross income of $35,000. George and Theresa own their family residence, which has a value of $ more
« You can't search me! » really ?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Contrary to what many people believe, in certain circumstances, school staff can search a student or his personal belongings (such as his knapsack or locker). There are two main reasons for this. First, a school has the obligation and responsibility to protect the students who attend the school, so more
Am I liable for my pet This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
In principle, yes. In Québec, it is the Civil Code that deals with harm caused by a pet’s actions. The article of the Civil Code is very clear to that effect and the rules for pet owners are strict.

Whether the situation involves an injury, such as a bite, or other damage ca
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017