CAN OPP PULL YOU OVER IN THE CITY?
A question that comes up from time to time in my area of practice is an interesting one. That question is, can OPP pull you over in the city? The answer is yes. So really, this question is asking, can an Ontario Provincial Police officer be within city limits, pulling over a vehicle for some violation?
And ultimately, the question boils down to, do they have the standing to do so? Is there a defense if such an event occurs? Well, A, there’s no defense, and the answer is ultimately yes. This is a significant question because the OPP are allowed to be anywhere in Ontario, pulling anyone over whenever they believe an offence has been committed.
But at the same time, we have city police services and regional police services. Everyone in these capacities is sworn in under the Canadian Criminal Code. What that means is that both OPP and city police officers can operate both inside and outside the city, and they do not lose jurisdiction.
Either one has jurisdiction throughout Ontario. Now, logistically speaking, would an OPP officer be involved in an inner-city highway traffic ticket? That’s relatively rare. Both city police and OPP are already very busy and don’t need to find extra work. So it’s unlikely, but they absolutely have jurisdiction, and you can’t beat a ticket by claiming otherwise.
Just a quick aside, I heard about a client who was chased into the city, into the suburbs where he lived. He got to his driveway, got out of his car, and met this particular OPP cruiser. He exclaimed, “You can’t bother me now, I’m in the city, I’m in my driveway, and it’s all over.” Well, it didn’t go the way he expected. He was charged.
So in summary, any police officer sworn under the Criminal Code has jurisdiction on any road in Ontario—back roads, side roads, expressways, 400 series highways. It’s a myth that you can find some sort of immunity by driving to a location where you assume they have no jurisdiction.