Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer # 748
Your rights when charged or arrestedRegion: Ontario Answer # 748
Your constitutional rights upon arrest
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes a number of rights to protect individuals who are arrested or detained by police. Some of the most important rights are:
- The right to remain silent when questioned by the police.
- The right to be told why you have been arrested or detained.
- The right to be told that you can hire and instruct a lawyer.
- The right to be told about the availability of duty counsel and legal aid.
- The right to speak with a lawyer, in private, as soon as possible.
Often, if you are arrested at home, the police will allow you to make telephone calls before being taken to the police station. If you do not have a lawyer, you can ask the police for the toll-free duty counsel phone number. Duty counsel are defence lawyers who are paid by the government. However, it is a better idea to hire your own experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible because the evidence presented in a bail hearing is used by the judge to decide whether you will be jailed or not, and may also impact the final result of your case.
Your constitutional rights upon being charged
You also have rights when you have been charged with an offence, even if you were not arrested. For example, everyone who is charged with an offence is entitled to have a trial within a reasonable period, to be presumed innocent unless the prosecutor proves that they are guilty, to be released on bail unless there is a valid reason to keep them in custody, and they do not have to testify at their own trial.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact our preferred criminal defence experts, The Criminal Law Team
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