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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.