Bike lanes could have avoided confrontation and criminal charges

Bike lanes could have avoided confrontation and criminal charges

OFFENCE: Mischief over $5000.00

RESULT: charge stayed

LAWYER: Sean Fagan

Regina v. S.L. – July 2018

Charges: Sections  430(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada

On a hot summer day, S.L. was driving home on a back highway at the foot of the rocky mountains, when he came up behind a cyclist, who was riding a $15,000.00 road bike at walking speed in the middle of the highway.  S.L. could not drive around the cyclist, because the road was at a steep incline on a blind hill; this was a highway with traffic going in both directions with no divider between the lanes and no designated bike lanes.

S.L., who did not want to drive into oncoming traffic on a blind hill, honked his horn in an effort to get the cyclist to move off to the side of the road.  The cyclist responded by immediately stopping his bicycle and laying it down in the middle of the road, on this dangerous stretch of highway. The cyclist approached S.L. who was seated in the driver’s seat of his vehicle and an argument ensued.  What followed isn’t entirely clear, but it’s possible that the cyclist, squirted a liquid from his water bottle into the face of S.L.  In response to the cyclist’s assault on S.L.,  S.L. drove away, running over the cyclists prized $15,000.00 road bike.

The cyclist obtained the license plate of the vehicle, and the RCMP were ultimately able to track down the registered owner, S.L.  S.L. who believed that he did what was necessary for the circumstances, and not believing that he would get charged, provided the RCMP with a full, detailed account of the situation.  Following his statement, the RCMP charged S.L. with the criminal offence of mischief over $5000.00.  What S.L. probably did not realize, is that he would likely have avoided getting charged altogether had he spoken to a lawyer first.

Too frequently, people who are contacted by the police and asked to explain themselves provide detailed statements because they believe they did nothing wrong.  Regardless of whether they did something wrong, or whether their actions were justified, it is important to contact a lawyer first before speaking with the Police.  This is because the police most often lay charges and leave it to the Courts to figure out.  This results in a person having to retain a lawyer and put their life on hold for a lengthy period of time (sometimes years) until the matter gets sorted out.

Bottom line: talk to a criminal lawyer before talking to the police if you have the opportunity.  Alberta criminal lawyer Sean Fagan is available 24/7 at 403-815-8099 and can provide you with free legal advice that could help you avoid between being charged altogether.

In S.L.’s case, he was charged with a criminal offence, which jeopardized his ability to travel. Fortunately, S.L. retained Sean Fagan who was ultimately successful at having the charge before the Court stayed before the trial date.