Being charged with a criminal offense causes emotional strain on your well-being. However, knowing what to expect in such a case can help avoid the fear and trauma that one experiences. Hence, if you face a criminal charge, you must know what your rights are. It is in your best interest to protect yourself from people who might try to hurt you.
No matter what the criminal charges, every individual has certain rights when arrested. All individuals are equal before the law and the court. Moreover, individuals charged have the right to be free from any form of discrimination, whether based on sex, race, religion, belief, social status, disability, etc.
Apart from these basic rights, in this article, we will discuss other rights of an individual charged with a criminal offense.
According to the Canada Charter of Rights, an individual has the following rights when arrested by the police based on a criminal charge:
The right to be informed of the criminal charge
You have the right to be informed of the criminal charge by the police without any delay.
The right to remain silent
During questioning by the police, you have the right to remain silent. If you tell the police that you do not wish to talk, the police must stop questioning you. Moreover, you have the right to remain silent during the trial and even if you are to testify. Your silence cannot be used against you during the trial.
The right to legal counsel
In the case you lack the financial resources to hire a lawyer, you can ask the court to appoint a lawyer for you. The court-appointed lawyer will present your case to the court.
The right to be represented by your lawyer
You can have your lawyer represent you during interrogation by the police and during the trial. The lawyer will provide evidence supporting your case, question the witness, offer legal counsel, and so forth.
The right to innocence
Anyone arrested on a criminal charge is innocent until proven guilty in court. Until the prosecution presents evidence in court, you are innocent of the criminal charges levied against you. It is your right to prove your innocence and defend your case in court in front of a tribunal or jury.
The right to question and cross-examine a witness
You have the legal right to question a witness, including the police, victim, or other individuals. If you hire a lawyer, they must continue the proceedings in court and cross-examine the witness on the stand.
The right to appeal to a higher court
If you believe that your case was not represented according to your desire, you have the right to appeal to a higher court. The higher court can review the decision of the trial and determine if it was fair or not.
If charged with a criminal offense, one must be aware of their rights. Every person has the right to justice defense. The purpose of these rights is to protect people when they are charged and detained by the police.