Many of us are unaware about how the criminal court system works. That’s because most of us have never been charged with a crime – yes, everyone has forgotten about how you stole that candy bar from the local convenience store when you were a teenager. Simply put: much of what we know about criminal law stems from our binge watching of “Law & Order,” “Homicide” and “CSI.” But, of course, that deals with laws south of the border.
Unfortunately, these types of things won’t help if you ever get into trouble with law enforcement. With the criminal code expanding year by year, it is easier to get charged with a crime than it isn’t, which is why you must know how to protect yourself in advance. You may not need a criminal lawyer on retainer, but they do provide the public, and their clients, plenty of information to ensure Canadians know their rights.
Here are five tips every criminal lawyer will tell clients:
1. Only Provide Officers with the Basics
When a police officer approaches you, you do not need to speak to them. However, should you want to avoid any hassle with the cops, then it would be smart to only give the officers the basics, such as the name on your driver’s license…and that’s about it.
It is important to note that if you give a fake name and lie (see below), then you could be charged. So, just stick to the basics and that is all you need to do.
2. Arrested? Contact a Lawyer Immediately
Should you be arrested or detained, the very first thing you should do is request a lawyer. You should not speak to the police without an attorney present to avoid being incriminated.
You can either be provided with a public defender or you can contact a criminal lawyer.
3. Never Lie to Law Enforcement
The most important tip for every Canadian to remember is that they should never lie to law enforcement. Whether it is giving your name or offering a false alibi or provide dishonest testimony, you need to remain honest at all times. This will ensure you will not get into trouble.
Proffering the truth may concern you, but it is the right and smart thing to do.
4. Demand a Search Warrant for Your Property
As part of a police investigation, a cop will knock on your door and engage in a “knock and talk.” They may then attempt to enter your property and perform a search. You must not permit the officers from searching your home without a warrant.
Indeed, you may again want to avoid headaches, but it is your right to refuse entry without a warrant. They can speak with you outside of your door and that is all.
One more thing: never sign any consent forms that allows cops to search your property.
5. What Happens When You Hire a Criminal Lawyer?
Apprehensive about hiring a criminal lawyer? Don’t be!
There are three primary objectives for a criminal lawyer:
- Keep you out of prison and circumvent convictions.
- Offer consultation and guidance in the court system.
- Plead not guilty, get ready for a trial and get prosecutors to prove their case.
It is true that if you plead guilty, then you can work out a plea bargain. That is your right – it isn’t recommended by many criminal lawyers, but it is your right to do so. You should never be hesitant when tapping the services of a criminal lawyer. It is essential, and you should leave yourself in entirely in their hands.
Criminal lawyers have the expertise to help clients in any type of situation. It could be something as benign as theft or it could be something as serious as manslaughter. In any event, a criminal lawyer, either one provided by the justice system or one hired by you, will ensure that you are defended to the fullest extent of the law.
The Canadian court system can seem alien to many of us because we have never been inside of one. It can be overwhelming, but with the assistance of a criminal lawyer, you can survive.