Criminal Law Makes YOU Your First Line of Defence: Part 2

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This is Part Two of a three-part article on your criminal defence rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If you've read Part One of this article, you already know that your criminal defence case begins at the moment of your arrest or detention: Canadian criminal defence law gives you the right to know why you're being arrested or detained, to speak to a criminal defence lawyer about the charges or accusations, and to have that criminal defence lawyer put an immediate end to any unlawful detention.

Canadian law takes your protection in a criminal defence case even further, though. Here's how.

Protections for the Criminally Accused in Calgary and Beyond

Whether you live in Calgary's inner city, an acreage outside town, or the far reaches of the Yukon, Section 11 of the [Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms] works to ensure that you are treated justly from the moment you are first accused of a crime to the verdict in your criminal defence trial and beyond:

"11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

  • (a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
  • (b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
  • (c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
  • (d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
  • (e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause."

You are Part of Your Calgary Criminal Defence Team

This is just the first half of the legal protections Section 11 of the Charter grants to Canadians accused of crimes—see Part Three of this article for a discussion of the rest—but it lays out in black and white both your rights and your responsibilities when it comes to a successful criminal defence case. Your criminal defence lawyer will work hard to protect you, and you can help them by knowing and exercising your rights.

Not only do you have the right to know the specific criminal acts your are being charged with, but you have the right to a trial without unreasonable delays, the right to be presumed innocent, and the right to a reasonable bail—something a criminal defence lawyer will argue for on your behalf.

Most important is your freedom from being a witness against yourself. Canadian law tells you this is your right, and your Calgary criminal defence lawyer will tell you it's your responsibility.  Before you speak to anyone about your case, contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer for information as to what your rights are.

Criminal Defence Lawyers Depend on Their Clients

There isn't a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary, in Canada, or in the world who can defend a client who doesn't want to be defended. The right criminal defence lawyer will work tirelessly to make sure you receive the defence you deserve, and that includes giving you guidance on what you say (which shouldn't be much), who you say it to (usually just your criminal defence lawyer), and even how you say it (quietly, calmly, and confidentially is preferred).

Following your lawyer's guidance is up to you.

For Part Three of this three-part article, please click here.

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