The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Three

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This is the third installment in an ongoing series of articles describing how a criminal case might proceed through the Calgary and Canadian court system. If you haven't already, you might want to read Part One and Part Two before you continue.

After starting with complaints and investigations (as discussed in Part One of this series) and the laying of criminal charges (as addressed in Part Two), the next phase in many criminal defence cases is an arrest. Arrests are sometimes made as part of an initial investigation, as well, such as when Calgary police or other law enforcement arrive at the scene of an alleged crime.

Arrests for Criminal Offences
Though the circumstances surrounding it are often anything but simple, an arrest itself is relatively straightforward. You will be detained by the Calgary police, Calgary-area RCMP, or other law enforcement officers and taken to a district office or detachment for official processing—recording of basic information regarding your identity and the charges for which you are being arrested.

Law enforcement must treat you fairly during an arrest, which includes informing you of your right to consult with a criminal defence lawyer, refraining from unnecessary aggression, and providing you with the basic necessities considered universal human rights: adequate food, water, shelter, and clothing. Abuses that occur during an arrest are taken very seriously, and should be discussed immediately with a criminal defence lawyer.

If you are arrested, not only are you entitled to consult with a criminal defence lawyer before you answer any questions and before any further proceedings take place, you are also entitled to appear before a judge as soon as possible—within 24 hours, in most cases, though this can vary depending on circumstances—to determine eligibility for bail and a bail amount. These bail hearings are sometimes called "show cause" hearings because either prosecutors must show that there was a reasonable cause for your arrest and that proceeding with a criminal case is justified, or (in certain circumstances) the accused or their criminal defence lawyer must show why they should be released.

Bail hearings are also often the reason many accused persons contact a criminal defence lawyer for the first time, though it is important to remember that you are entitled to speak with a lawyer as soon as practically possible after you are arrested. This is true whether you are arrested at the scene of an alleged crime or if you are charged first.

Start Your Criminal Defence Case Early
Though it is entirely possible to fight any criminal charge laid against you on your own, it can be a lengthy process and getting a late start can hurt your case. Many Calgary citizens would be well-advised to contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as they are arrested, and to refrain from speaking to law enforcement officers until they have spoken to a lawyer.

If you or a family member has been arrested and would like a free initial consultation with one of Calgary's leading criminal defence lawyers, please contact Susan Karpa today.

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