A Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer's Job Defined

Persons in Canada charged with or merely accused of a criminal offence, even people who have simply been detained by law enforcement, have the right to consult with a criminal defence lawyer before answering any questions, making any statements, or otherwise responding to law enforcement. This right is so essential to the concept of justice and fair treatment that it is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as discussed in [this three part article].

Canadian and laws don't stop at establishing the right of criminal defendants to consult with criminal defence lawyers. They also define the role that criminal defence lawyers are supposed to play and their relationship with criminal defendants, with the Crown and its prosecutors, and with the criminal justice system at large. Understanding what a criminal defence lawyer's job is and how they fit into the criminal justice system in Calgary and the surrounding area can help put your mind at ease if you are facing a criminal charge.

What a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Do for You

The [Alberta Justice and Solicitor General's websiteclearly and succinctly spells out the precise roles and responsibilities of a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary and anywhere in the province. Though many of Calgary's accused don't contact a criminal defence lawyer until formal charges have been brought, a criminal defence lawyer can play a part in a defendant or accused person's case from the time of an initial detention or accusation right through a criminal trial and during the sentencing and appeals phases, when necessary.

Criminal defence lawyers will make sure the Calgary Crown prosecutor's office is fully disclosing all evidence and other information pertinent to a criminal defence case, that all legal considerations with a bearing on a criminal defence case are explored, and that all evidence supporting their criminal defence client's case is presented at trial. Defence lawyers ensure that all evidence used by the Crown was collected in accordance with the law, and cross-examine witness and expose weaknesses in the Crown's evidence and the Crown's overall case against the accused.

As the Alberta government's website puts it, "Defence counsel is professionally bound to advance all arguments ethically permitted on behalf of the accused, to ensure that the accused is convicted only if the government can properly establish guilt." If guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt, a criminal defence lawyer still has the responsibility to ensure sentencing is conducted fairly, and most especially to advocate for rehabilitation and reintegration. Committing a crime shouldn't come with a sentence that will tarnish the rest of your life, and a criminal defence lawyer will work to see that it doesn't.

You are Your Criminal Defence Lawyer's Best Ally

Canadian and Albertan criminal justice clearly defines the job of a criminal defence lawyer. While it defines the rights of the criminally accused, though, it does not tell criminal defendants or accused persons how to protect those rights or use them to ensure fair treatment in a criminal proceeding. That's something every criminal defendant needs to take responsibility for, and partnering with a criminal defence lawyer you trust is a great way to start.

A criminal defence lawyer can only help you insofar as you are willing to help yourself. Be honest, forthright, and communicative with your Calgary criminal defence lawyer, and you'll have a staunch ally who is well-equipped to fight on your behalf.