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Criminal Defence

Criminal Law: Know Your Rights in Canada

If you were arrested on criminal charges, you are far from alone. According to data from Statistics Canada, there are more than two million arrests reported across the country each year. There are few things more stressful or intimidating than being arrested and charged with a serious criminal offence. It is crucial that you know your rights. In this article, our New Westminster criminal defence lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of the rights of the accused in Canada.

1. You Have a Right Not to Be Arbitrarily Arrested 

Law enforcement officers in Canada cannot arrest a person for a crime without good cause. If they do so, they are fundamentally violating the rights of the accused. You are protected against arbitrary arrest in Canada. 

2. You Have a Right to Not Be Unreasonably Searched

Police need good cause to conduct a search of your person or your property. They cannot conduct an unreasonable search without probable cause. If you have been subject to an illegal search, the evidence obtained through it could potentially be excluded from court. 

3. You Have a Right to Be Informed of a Charge

Were you placed under arrest? Police have a duty to inform you of the basis for the arrest within a reasonable period of time. If police wait too long to tell you what you are charged with, they are violating your rights. 

4. You Have a Right to Not Testify Against Yourself (In or Out of Court)

You have a right to remain silent in Canada. No person can be compelled to act as a witness against themself while in custody or while in court. You can and should exercise your right to remain silent if you have been accused of a crime. 

5. You Have a Right to a Trial in a Reasonable Period of Time 

You cannot be held on criminal charges indefinitely. You have a right to a fair trial. If you are facing a criminal charge that carries up to five years in prison, you have the right to a jury trial. Regardless, a fair trial should take place within a reasonable period of time after an arrest. 

6. You Have the Right to a Criminal Defence Lawyer

You do not have to go up against police or prosecutors alone. Perhaps your most important legal right in Canada is your right to a criminal defence lawyer. It is your right to consult with an experienced British Columbia criminal defence lawyer immediately after your arrest. You should always retain a lawyer for a criminal case.  

Speak to Our New Westminster Criminal Defence Lawyer Today

At N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation, our New Westminster criminal defence lawyer has the professional expertise you can trust. If you or your loved one was arrested for a crime in Canada, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free, fully confidential case review. With a law office in New Westminster, we provide criminal defence representation in Vancouver and throughout the surrounding area in British Columbia.

Have You Been Charged With a Crime?

There is a lot to cope with when you are suspected of or charged with assault. The immediate downsides of getting charged with assault include keeping track of court dates and losing some of your privileges, such as being allowed to travel to specific regions or own a handgun. There may be life-altering consequences for your claimed crime and the harm it allegedly caused, which might even affect your family. Assault lawyers can help you get back on your feet and fight for your rights, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

Fortunately, a criminal defense lawyer in Vancouver, BC, is aware of the long-term consequences of an assault conviction. They can relate to it because they try to be in your shoes and know how desperate you are to get your life back. They will fight for you and keep you updated throughout the process to ensure your charges don’t jeopardize your life and future.

What can I expect from an assault attorney?

It is possible to employ a variety of defenses in an assault case. Claiming self-defense is a frequent argument that an assault lawyer might use on your side. If it is shown that you harmed another person to defend yourself or someone else, your charges may be dismissed. Self-defense is not usually the ideal strategy for criminal defense, although it may be advantageous in some situations. The best way to find out which legal choices and justifications are suitable for your case is to speak with a Vancouver assault lawyer.

Your lawyer is there to protect your interests

Getting legal representation while facing assault accusations is essential because you have a professional by your side to protect your interests. Because the Sixth Amendment protects the right to counsel in criminal proceedings, the state must appoint one for you if you cannot afford it. You have the right to counsel in most assault situations since even a minor assault may result in prison time in most states.

A qualified criminal defense counsel may also protect your other fundamental rights. You have the right to stay quiet if you contact one as soon as possible. (Remember they want to justify the attack by explaining what led to it. The number of defendants who confess to a crime while attempting to defend themselves in court is astounding.) Officers’ improper conduct, such as searches and seizures, may be detected by a skilled attorney.

Fighting at a trial

If you have ever seen “Law & Order,” you will know that criminal cases are more sophisticated than what you see on the show. A trial might be the last opportunity to avoid going to prison, from opening and closing speeches to calling witnesses to present evidence.

You may even avoid a trial if you have a lawyer on your side. A reputable assault lawyer in Vancouver may be able to bargain with prosecutors on your behalf and get the most favorable plea agreement. They know what prosecutors often give and how your situation might benefit your case. Even if you intend to plead guilty to a charge of assault, a skilled criminal defense attorney may assist you. Contact an attorney right away if you have been accused of assault.

Is an assault attorney able to help me reduce my charges?

When it comes to an assault charge, there are a slew of variables to consider. Depending on the severity of your allegations, a Vancouver assault lawyer may be able to work out a deal with the prosecution to lessen your penalties. Even if you are found guilty on your initial charge, your sentence may be much less severe than if you were found guilty on the lesser offense.

Learn what happens when you are arrested for a crime with the help of a lawyer

Regardless of where your case is in the legal process, an attorney may be an invaluable resource. You must see an expert criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being accused of a crime. Having an assault lawyer on your side from the beginning of the legal proceedings may be a significant advantage. The last thing you need is to face trial alone. You may choose to defend yourself, but that might not end too well. With a professional in criminal law, you can rest assured that they will have your best interests at heart. Contact an assault lawyer in Vancouver today!

Best New Year’s Resolution? Erase Your Criminal Record

writing down notes

A new year is a time to look towards the future. According to data cited by the Globe and Mail, more than two-thirds of Canadians report that they make a New Year’s resolution. The central purpose of a New Year’s resolution is to take action that will help improve one’s life. If you have a criminal record, one of the single most important things you can do is to take action to expunge it to the maximum extent allowable under the law. In this article, our New Westminster criminal defence lawyer explains the most important things to know about cleaning up your criminal record in 2022. 

How a Criminal Record Can Adversely Impact Your Life:

The term ‘criminal record’ is used to describe a broad range of adverse information. As explained by the Government of British Columbia, a criminal record can include everything from outstanding charges to charges that were dropped to convictions. Unfortunately, a criminal record can impact a person in a number of different unfavorable ways, even after a case is fully resolved. A criminal record could have a negative effect on: 

  • Employment;
  • Educational opportunities;
  • Volunteering opportunities;  
  • Mortgage loans;
  • Rental housing; and
  • Foreign travel, including to the United States. 

While a criminal record can make things more challenging, there is good news: Canada has some of the strongest and most comprehensive ‘second chance’ laws in the entire world. In other words, it is easier to erase and/or conceal a criminal record in Canada than it is in most other countries. If you have a criminal record in British Columbia, you may have options available for clearing your name.

An Overview of Criminal Record Laws in British Columbia

Were you charged with or convicted of a criminal offense in British Columbia? If so, there is likely a public criminal record in your case—that is unless you have received a Canadian Pardon. Also frequently referred to as a ‘Record Suspension, a Canadian Pardon is a process through which an individual can erase their criminal records from public view. You do not need to choose specific records. If you are eligible, your entire criminal history can be made confidential. 

When granted, a Canadian Pardon application will effectively “separate” a person from their criminal record. All pre-existing records can be sealed (erased) from public view. Many people who have fully resolved their case are eligible to erase their records—so that they can get a true fresh start. To get a pardon, you must submit a comprehensive application. A criminal defence lawyer can help determine if you are eligible and assist with the application process.

Get Help From Our New Westminster, BC Criminal Defence Attorney Today

At N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation, our British Columbia criminal defence lawyer is a skilled, future-focused advocate for clients. If you have any questions about erasing a criminal record in Canada, we can help. Contact usnow for a completely confidential case review. With an office in New Westminster, our criminal defence attorney helps people with erasing records throughout British Columbia, including in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack. 

What Does a Criminal Defence Lawyer Do?

If you find yourself in a scenario where you are looking at prison time or a hefty fine, the best way forward is to look into hiring a New Westminster criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. You have the option to get representation from a private or court-appointed attorney, but only if your income qualifies for the former. How the legal system is designed is supposed to make competently representing yourself not an option. No matter how intelligent you might be, the system does not work that way and will not be in your favor. Whenever you find yourself in a criminal trial, the representation of a criminal lawyer in New Westminster, BC, is a necessity.

No criminal case is like the other. They all vary, and that is where criminal defence lawyers come in. They are trained to go through and identify parts of a specific case that make it unique. With the attorney’s knowledge, you will be in safe hands as they can find subtle evidence and reasons to help you win the case. Not sure what a criminal defence lawyer can do to help you? Check out some of the areas that might be helpful below:

Interviewing about the case

Once you have hired your attorney, the first thing they will do is interview you about the case. After meeting you in person, they will try to get as many details concerning the case as possible. They need to know as much as possible to give you the best representation. Expect your lawyer to ask you specific questions concerning the case, which helps understand your case’s possible defences. You will go through detailed questions but do not worry since this is all part of the process.

Case investigation

While your criminal defence lawyer might ask numerous questions, they still must investigate to see if there are any other avenues they can exploit to acquit you. It could include questioning the police how they approached your specific case or talking to witnesses who might have information related to the investigation. Every step taken is to try to develop the best defence possible.

Where an expert witness is used, the attorney is at liberty to interview them about the testimony they may provide and the evidence to be presented. Likewise, as part of the investigation, your criminal defence lawyer is allowed to go through the prosecution’s case before it reaches the jury. It serves as an opportunity to see any holes in the case that could refute the prosecutor’s case. Some of the things that your lawyer might be looking at include hiring an independent lab or expert to test the evidence.

Handling the witnesses

Attorneys have what it takes to comfortably gather evidence and statements from witnesses called by the prosecution. If you try to represent yourself, handling the witnesses can be a massive challenge. The reason is that many witnesses are never willing to give statements or information to people that were allegedly involved in a crime. Understandably, they fear for their safety but are always ready to talk to their attorney about what they saw or heard. Your lawyer has the proper training to help in working with the witnesses.

Plea bargaining

One of the responsibilities of a criminal defence lawyer is to work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a plea bargain. Sometimes you might be guilty, and no amount of defence will set you free. Such times your criminal defence lawyer is supposed to look at the best solution available, which often calls for a plea bargain. It involves bargaining to reduce your potential sentence or take away some of the charges pressed against you. It would help if you understood that prosecutors do not like negotiation with defendants who represent themselves.

Impacting the sentencing

Sometimes you will be found guilty of the charges brought against you, and your criminal defence attorney will try as much as possible to develop the best sentencing program for your specific situation. There is a possibility that your lawyer could change the sentence you receive. In most cases, the changes are to help prevent you from twisting the criminal justice system.

For example, suppose you are handed a ten-month sentence in prison because of drug possession. In that case, your criminal defence lawyer can step in and suggest six months in prison and four months in a drug treatment rehabilitation center. It is an approach that minimizes the time you spend in prison but also helps you with the drug problem that led to your troubles in the first place.

Helping in the jury selection

A criminal defence lawyer is actively involved in the jury selection process. You may ask how that is possible, yet they represent the defendant. Your attorney can attempt to have jurors removed from your case if there is reason to believe they may be biased against you. Sometimes even when your lawyer has a bad feeling about a potential juror, it could be valid grounds to have them removed entirely from the case.

Helping with the trial process

Ultimately, your New Westminster criminal defence lawyer is supposed to make the entire trial process as comfortable as possible. The last thing any reasonable person would want is going into trial alone. Going into it alone is a sure way to get proven guilty of a crime you may not have committed. A criminal defence attorney will analyze and examine your specific case. They will look for the strengths and weaknesses concerning your case during the process and then advise you on what you need to prepare for trial.

Working with a professional allows you to get the guidance you need to present your evidence in court in a straightforward manner. Likewise, if you have a weak case, your attorney will let you know and explain the benefits of taking a plea deal. As part of the trial process, if something does not go the way you would have wanted, your criminal defence lawyer can help prepare an appeal.

If you have been involved in a crime that requires the help of a criminal defence attorney, look for someone who will represent you in the best way possible. Contact N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation to have an experienced defence attorney help you avoid a harsh sentence.