The police have slapped those shiny silver cuffs on your wrist, and you’re being driven away in the back of a car with flashing lights. A number of emotions might be rushing through you: shame, embarrassment, fear and anger. While it’s understandable for you to be upset, those emotions will not help you emerge from this ordeal. The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath, calm down, and think clearly. Even though you’re under arrest, you still have rights, and you need to be aware and make use of them to protect yourself.

Legal Counsel

After you have calmed yourself, you need to find a lawyer. It is your legal right to find and instruct counsel, meaning that you can talk to a lawyer without delay. The police must provide you with privacy, a phone, and phone books to help you find legal counsel. There are many lawyers who perform emergency telephone consultations for free, or for a small fee. If you can’t afford counsel, call Legal Aid. Legal Aid offers assistance to those who cannot afford a lawyer. If Legal Aid cannot help you, the office will refer you to someone who can.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

You might be asking why you need legal counsel. A lawyer has the education and training to help you through this challenge. He or she can tell you how to respond to police requests and advise you on whether or not it’s best to remain silent. And if you need to appear in court, a lawyer will know how to navigate the complicated proceedings.

Learn Your Charge

The police have a legal obligation to tell you what charge has been laid against you. Knowing your charge means you can tell your lawyer, and he or she can begin preparing the appropriate defence. Know your rights.

Seek Advice From Your Lawyer

When you’re arrested, the police have the right to ask you questions. However, you do not need to answer. The only information you must provide is your real name, your age and your address. If you don’t tell the police these details, you will be held until officers find the answers to these questions. Wait until your legal counsel arrives.

Going to Court

Canadian law guarantees the right of the accused to stand before a judge. Your lawyer will appear with you in court to help you answer to the charges laid against you.

The judge might decide that you need to stay in jail. Should that be the decision, your lawyer can appeal that ruling. He or she could also rule that you have to appear in court at a later date. If that’s the case, you will need to deposit money or property with the court. That property or money is called “recognizance” or “undertaking” in Canadian legal parlance. If you don’t appear at your next court date, you lose your property or money. And if someone else gives you the property or money as recognizance, that person will lose it if you don’t come to court.

If you have have a criminal record, contact AllCleared today for a FREE consultation and we can help you get back on track.