Appearing Before Court as an Accused: Know Your Rights and Obligations
Any involvement with the justice system can be nerve-wracking, especially if you are accused of a crime. If you are accused of any criminal offence, you'll have to appear in court.
Before you go to court, you'll want to ensure that you understand your rights and obligations. The Canadian Constitution includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which contains your legal rights. You'll want to make sure that all of these rights are afforded to you.
To learn more about your rights, read on.
Rights at Time of Arrest
When you are arrested, you have the right to be informed of the reasons for arrest and be informed of your right to obtain counsel without any delay. If you request a criminal defence lawyer, you must be allowed to retain one.
Rights Of the Accused
Once you are accused of an offence, you have the right to the following:
· Notification of the charges
· Trial within a reasonable time
· Presumption of innocence
· To remain silent
· To be free from being tried and punished for an offence again after you've been acquitted or convicted
Knowing these rights when you go to your first court hearing will help you navigate the system and make sure that your rights are not violated.
Appearing in Court
Before you appear in court, it is wise to consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. They can advise you of your rights as well as make sure you are being treated fairly and represent you at your court hearings.
Once you are charged, you will receive a date to appear in court. In most situations, you'll have to go to the court where the offence occurred, even if you don't live in that area. If you are detained in jail prior to your court date, jail staff will transport you there.
At your court appearance, you can choose whether to plead guilty or not guilty. Talk to your criminal lawyer to determine what the best course of action is. If you choose to plead guilty, the court will set another date, called a sentencing appearance, where a judge will determine your punishment.
If you plead not guilty, your case will go to trial, where a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the potential punishment for your offence is five years in prison or more, you have the right to a jury trial.
Juries make decisions on questions of fact while judges are there to make decisions on questions of law. The jury ultimately will decide the verdict as well.
Your Rights and Obligations When You Are Charged With a Crime
Now that you understand the basic rights and obligations you have when being accused of a crime, the process may not seem so overwhelming. While it is still nerve-wracking, especially if you are accused of a serious offence, you can make sure that your rights are not violated during the court process.
If you are in need of a defence lawyer, contact us today. We will provide a free case consultation and discuss how our firm can help you. We handle different types of crimes, including driving, drug, and violent offences, as well as bail hearings and federal crimes.