Understanding Your Rights: Canadian Criminal Law

Understanding Your Rights: Canadian Criminal Law

The foundation of the Canadian Criminal Justice System is set on many important principles. These include the presumption of innocence, equality before the law, the independence of a judiciary, and more. A system that is designed to keep our society structured and safe, it upholds the rights of every individual.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our Edmonton criminal lawyers may be able to help you or your loved one if you are in need of legal assistance from a criminal lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

An Overview of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlines your rights as well as the limitations of police powers. Some major rights include:

  • The right to remain silent and not give evidence against yourself;
  • The right to not be unreasonably searched or have your property seized;
  • The right not to testify at your own trial;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;
  • The right to be protected against cruel and unusual punishment;
  • And more.

The Charter outlines the rights and interactions between the justice system and individuals. This includes protection against unreasonable laws, arrest rights, and your rights in court.

If You Are Arrested

You have the right to be told that you are being arrested and why. An officer may also read other rights to you, such as the right to speak to a lawyer. In addition, the police may tell you that anything you say may be used as evidence, and you have nothing to gain or lose by remaining silent. You also have the right to not be arbitrarily arrested.

If a police officer is speaking to you and you wish to terminate the conversation, you may simply ask if you are free to go. If you have been arrested, we recommend legal assistance immediately from a criminal lawyer.

Being Detained or Interrogated

If you are being detained by a police officer, you have a right to know why. In order to detain you, an officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect you are somehow connected to a crime.

Moreover, if you are being interrogated, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and do not have to give police any statements (subject to certain exceptions). You must exercise your right to speak to a lawyer and ask to call a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

Your rights differ when driving a vehicle. An officer may stop you on a road without an initial specific reason, so as to check for sobriety, fitness of the vehicle, proper licensing, or registration. When stopped, you must provide your name and address. That being said, police cannot search your vehicle at random. You can deny their request to search your car.

It may be useful to review all your legal rights under the charter so you are prepared to interact with any level of law enforcement or the justice system.

Reach out to Our Criminal Lawyers Today

The Canadian Criminal Justice System works to maintain peace and structure within our society. Should you ever interact with it in any capacity, it may prove useful to know your legal rights.

If you or a loved one has found themselves involved in a criminal charge in Alberta, contact our Edmonton criminal lawyers at Verhaeghe Law Office to schedule a consultation and go over your next steps.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of criminal law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta criminal lawyer.

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