Understand Your Rights from Your Appeal Lawyer in Edmonton

  Rights on Arrest or Detention

If you are in police custody, you should ask to speak to a lawyer and then make a telephone call to a lawyer as soon as the police give you that opportunity. Mr. Prithipaul, Edmonton criminal defence lawyer, would be pleased to offer advice that is specific to your situation, and will counsel you on how you will be processed and hopefully released.

One of the most important rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is in section 10:

  • Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
  • (a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore
  • (b)to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right…

Whether a person is arrested or detained, that person has the right to know the reasons for his or her detention and the right to retain and instruct a lawyer without delay. Detention refers to situations where the police do not arrest an individual but gain control over that person, for example, by stopping and questioning them.

In general, the police are not obliged to believe your version of events and they often charge people who claim to be innocent. After the police investigation is complete, you will have the opportunity to give your side of the story in private to your lawyer and your lawyer will help you decide whether you should testify in court.

The police are allowed to search people as incidental to, that is, as part of, an arrest. If the police find items of interest (drugs, weapons, stolen property, or other forms contraband), the person arrested still has a right to remain silent and should say nothing except that he or she wishes to talk to a lawyer.

  Release From Custody ("Bail")

First and foremost in the mind of a person who is arrested is the question of release. In general terms, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to reasonable bail and the Criminal Code of Canada creates a presumption in favour of release. Release from custody is the norm. Mr. Prithipaul, Edmonton criminal defence lawyer, is prepared to answer questions from persons under arrest about how to secure their release from custody.

The majority of persons charged with criminal offences are released by the police themselves within a short time, with documents such as:

  • Appearance Notice
  • Promise to Appear
  • Undertaking
  • Recognizance to police officer

These documents specify when the person charged must attend for identification and appear in court. In many of these cases, there is no need for cash bail. In more serious cases, release may be dealt with by a justice of the peace, a judge of the Provincial Court, or a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Numerous factors are considered in deciding whether to grant a person release, including:

  • Whether the person is likely to attend in court
  • The risk of re-offence
  • The person’s criminal record (if any)
  • The individual’s place of residence, ties to the community, background, employment record, etc.
  • The nature of the charge(s)

Conditions may be attached to an order for release, such as:

  • No-contact, direct or indirect, with the person(s) who made the original complaint
  • Not to consume alcohol or drugs
  • Refrain from going to certain locations
  • Remain within the province
  • Surrender travel documents or other items (eg. cellular telephones)
  • Deposit a certain amount of cash (also referred to as cash bail)
  • Requests to change conditions or vary the amount of cash bail can be made in court as the case progresses.

These are all important issues on which you should speak to a defence lawyer before you proceed. You have the right to have defence counsel represent you at court appearances where release is going to be decided. Mr. Prithipaul is able to assist you with questions concerning release and in-court representation.

  Criminal Appeals

The law provides for several different avenues for appeals. In basic terms, both the defendant and the prosecution in criminal cases have the right to appeal to at least one higher level of court. Further appeals to higher levels of court can in some circumstances be as of right, and in other situations require the appeal court’s permission to hear the case. Mr. Prithipaul is an Edmonton criminal defence lawyer with extensive experience in appeals.

Appeals may be in relation to conviction or acquittal (the decision of a trial court to find a person guilty or not guilty), and/or sentence (the penalty imposed after a person entered a guilty plea or was found guilty).

Appeals are time consuming and complicated. They involve:

  • Obtaining of transcripts of court proceedings
  • Reviewing the evidence and arguments that were presented in the lower court
  • Studying the rulings that were made
  • Legal research and preparation of written argument
  • Presentation of oral argument in the appeal court

Mr. Prithipaul has appealed many cases involving charges such as DUI (impaired driving), dangerous driving causing death, assault, and narcotics. Mr. Prithipaul has also argued appeals in French.

In addition to regular appearances in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal, Mr. Prithipaul has argued appeals in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Manitoba. Mr. Prithipaul has also appeared as a criminal defence appeal lawyer in the Supreme Court of Canada.

If you were found guilty at trial and are interested in an appeal of your conviction or sentence, or if the Crown is appealing your case, please contact Mr. Prithipaul for advice.

  Police Inquiries and Questions

A normal part of any police investigation involves questioning people. A police officer may say he or she just wants to get your side of the story. Should you answer the officer’s questions? What you may not realize is that the information you provide may be used to incriminate you. Contact Mr. Prithipaul, Edmonton criminal defence lawyer, for advice on your rights and obligations.

In Canada, everyone has the right to remain silent. We cannot lie to or mislead the police and doing so would be a criminal offence. However, all persons can exercise their right to silence and choose not to answer police questioning.

Certain exceptions exist. Once under arrest, an individual must identify him/herself. Another exception arises in the context of motor vehicle stops. Generally, the police have the right to conduct roadside stops to check on licensing, driver sobriety and mechanical fitness. We must furnish our driving and licensing documents to the police on request. The law also allows the police to conduct roadside sobriety testing and motorists do not have the right to contact a lawyer at this stage. However, individuals are not obliged to answer questions about alcohol or drug consumption.

Drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents must, under certain provisions of the Traffic Safety Act, complete accident reports. Seek legal advice before responding to the police.

If you are detained or arrested by the police, you have the right to retain and instruct a lawyer without delay. Do not provide any statements or information to the police without speaking to a lawyer first.

  Searches by The Police

Searches and seizures occur in a wide variety of contexts. Mr. Prithipaul, Edmonton criminal defence lawyer, is available to answer your questions concerning the police ability to conduct searches.

The taking of breath, blood, or other bodily samples from a person charged with impaired driving is a search and seizure. Other types of searches involve:

  • homes, buildings, or businesses
  • vehicles
  • computers or filing systems
  • hospitals and other institutions, etc.

If the police come to your home, workplace, or business premises, you should respond politely, as you would to a stranger. However, if the officer wants to come inside to talk to you, you have the right to respond in appropriate language that you are not prepared to allow the police to enter. You may also ask for an opportunity to obtain legal advice.

The police could ask if you will consent to a search. You have the right not to consent and to insist that the police first obtain a search warrant. If the police say they have a warrant, request a telephone call to a lawyer and do not respond to police questioning until you have obtained legal advice.

The police are allowed to enter a residence or other premise without a warrant in urgent circumstances, such as in response to a 911 call or some other form of emergency.

Vehicles can be searched by the police in various circumstances. If you are arrested or detained in a car or other vehicle, maintain your right to silence and ask to call a lawyer. If the police do not have a warrant and they ask you to agree or consent to a search, you are entitled not to agree and not to give your consent.

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