Facing a criminal accusation can be an intimidating and stressful experience. Being accused of a crime, even if you are not convicted, can have a dramatic impact on your life — on your employment and income, on your family, your reputation, and on the opportunities that will be available to you in the future.
As a former Prosecutor, Calgary Criminal Lawyer, Maureen McConaghy has worked both sides of the system. She offers this advice if you are accused of a crime in Calgary.
Be aware of the rights you have if you are accused or charged with a crime
Wherever you live in Canada Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms works to ensure that you are treated justly from the moment you are first accused of a crime to the verdict in your criminal defence trial and beyond:
Section 11. Any person charged with an offence has the right …
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.”
Don’t Argue with Calgary Police
If you are accused or charged with a crime, don’t get aggressive or argue with the police. Once you’ve been told what crime you are being accused of and/or detained for, you may ask to contact a criminal defence lawyer to help protect your rights in the face of these charges. Your lawyer will also help you through the entire process of dealing with the criminal justice system.
Also, when confronted by police, remember that you have the right under Canadian law not to incriminate yourself. You also have the right to contact a criminal defence lawyer and discuss your circumstances before you respond to any criminal accusations made by the police, other law enforcement, or Crown prosecutors. Even if you know you did nothing wrong, it’s generally a good idea not to try to argue with police because anything you say could end up hurting your case. A good criminal defence lawyer can help you deal with law enforcement’s questions.
Don’t discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer
All your discussions with your criminal defence lawyer regarding your criminal charges are confidential. It’s your defence lawyer’s job to help you with case strategies and tactics. Keeping your strategy between you and your lawyer will help keep you from compromising your case. Criminal charges and defence conversations should stay completely private.
What Not To Do if you are falsely accused of a crime
If you are falsely accused or charged with a crime, you should not:
- Try to talk to the victim about the case or have any contact with the victim or witnesses.
- Destroy evidence that you think might make you look guilty, as this may cast more suspicion on you. It can also lead to more criminal charges.
- Talk to the police or any other investigators, or
- Voluntarily submit to any testing, such as DNA tests; or give any evidence to law enforcement without consulting with your lawyer first.
Get Support from a Good Criminal Defence Lawyer
An experienced criminal defence lawyer may be able to give you the support you need to handle the stresses of the criminal justice system. Your lawyer will guide you through the process and offering advice that can help you make the good choices going forward. Speaking with a lawyer gives you the benefit of complete confidentiality and real legal knowledge that will protect your rights.
Contact Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer, Maureen McConaghy, if you have been accused of a crime and want an experienced lawyer who will vigorously defend your rights.