If you have been charged with a criminal offence, you have rights.
- You are presumed to be innocent.
- The Crown has a duty to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- You have a right to be represented by a lawyer.
- You have a right not to be denied reasonable bail.
- You have a right to know all of the evidence the Crown intends to use against you.
- You have the right to a trial, and the right to a fair trial.
- If you are convicted of a crime, you have the right to a sentence that is proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
- You also have a right to have your conviction or sentence reviewed, on appeal, by a reviewing tribunal, generally an appeal court.
Most importantly, the law also requires that the police, and prosecution, adhere to fundamental standards of justice in investigating, and prosecuting you. They must respect your rights. Where they fail to do so, a Court has a duty to remedy wrongs committed against you. In serious cases, this may even result in charges against you being withdrawn, or stayed.
Why Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer?
When you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer to represent you. The manner in which you address your charges, and the decisions you make, may have a tremendous impact on your life.
A conviction will generally result in a criminal record. This may, in turn, affect your future employment, travel to other countries, and the stigma of being labelled a criminal offender.
In cases of serious criminal charges, you may face lengthy periods of incarceration and serious deprivations of liberty. In other cases, such as cases of domestic assault, strict conditions, both before and after trial, may prevent you from residing with your partner, or your children, or attending your residence. This can also put a strain on families.
In some cases, people accused of a crime think that it may be possible to represent themselves. They may not want to spend the money to hire a lawyer. A person may assume that a case will be simple and straightforward. This is rarely the case.
When you are charged with a crime, you may not always be aware of your rights. Many areas of criminal procedure are technical and complex. Decisions made at any stage of the process may have serious implications for your liberty.
When you are charged with a crime, the decision of whether to hire a lawyer and what lawyer to hire may be one of the most significant decisions you make in your life. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
An experienced defence lawyer is familiar with these procedures and processes. They are also familiar with the people involved in the criminal justice system – court clerks, prosecutors, and judges – and work with them on a daily basis.
You need a lawyer that is equipped to navigate the complexities of the legal process. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will defend you. They will advocate for you. They will ensure that you are treated fairly. To stand beside you, and fight for your rights.