Drug Charges and Your Rights Under Calgary Law: A Defence Lawyer's Reminder: Part 2
Part 2 of a Calgary defence lawyer's advice concerning your rights and how to protect them when you've been charged with a drug-related crime.
In Part 1 of this article, we covered the first and one of the most essential rights you have when you've been charged with a drug-related crime in Calgary: the right to refrain from answering questions posed by law enforcement officers until you've had a chance to consult with an experienced defence lawyer. Exercising this right can prevent you from doing any damage to your defence while also getting your defence lawyer in the picture as soon as possible, which is always advisable.
However, this is just the beginning of your rights. Being charged with a drug-related crime doesn't change the legal protections you have under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or other laws that apply here in Calgary. In this post, we'll look at two other important rights you have whenever you've been charged with any crime.
You Have the Right to Be Presumed Innocent When Charged with a Drug Crime in Calgary
Let's face it: the Calgary Police don't tend to arrest or lay charges against people they think are innocent. They're likely to treat you as though you're guilty from the very start. And they do have the right to hold you for a certain period of time, and a judge may order you to pay bail before you are released. But none of this means you are guilty of a crime, and the Calgary courts cannot hand down a punishment or conviction unless you are found guilty at trial or agree to plead guilty.
No matter what the police or anyone else says, you are innocent in the eyes of the law until you've had your day in court. This is why it is so important to say as little as possible after being arrested and/or charged until you've spoken with your Calgary defence lawyer. If you are intimidated into a guilty plea, you may be signing away your rights unnecessarily.
You ALWAYS Have the Right to Consult with Your Calgary Defence Lawyer
Not only should you ask to speak with your defence lawyer before you answer any questions from the Calgary Police, but you have the right to have your defence lawyer by your side every time you appear before a Calgary judge, any time you meet with a law enforcement officer or Crown prosecutor, and you are even entitled to meet with your lawyer if you are imprisoned pending your trial.
Any time you are expected to answer questions, make a statement or make a decision regarding your case, whether it's for a drug-related offence or any other crime, you are entitled to speak to the Calgary defence lawyer of your choice. If you're not able to afford a defence lawyer on your own, there are options that may provide assistance so you can secure your right to a lawyer. For a free initial consultation regarding your drug-related charge, please contact my office today.