In Canada, you have rights. These rights are protected under a constitutional document referred to as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is worth taking a look; simply do a Google search of the Charter and voila, before you know it, you are viewing your protected rights. Being familiar with your rights is sure to come in handy at some point in your future or even in your immediate present, if you are facing a criminal charge.
If you are facing a criminal charge, it is important that you seek legal representation. With a criminal defence lawyer from Aitken Robertson on your side, you have a much better chance of challenging your case. This blog will focus on a defence based on a violation of your Charter rights. This is an important topic because more often than not, our lawyers will challenge the state’s handling of your case. Specifically, we search for any breaches of your Charter protected rights.
We will focus on section 10(a) of your Charter rights. So what does that section refer to? Keep reading to find out.
Section 10(a) of the Charter states that everyone has the right, on arrest or detention, to be informed promptly for the reasons for the arrest or detention. Your Charter rights are immediately triggered upon your detention or arrest.
What is the Purpose of Section 10(a) of the Charter?
Officers Duty to Inform you of Reasons for Arrest
There are two notions when it comes to section 10(a). First, Canadian law holds that a person is not obliged to submit to an arrest without knowing the reason or reasons for the arrest. It is important that the person subject to the arrest know the reasons in order to be able to decide whether or not to submit to it. Second, the right to know the reasons for your arrest is because a person subject to an arrest must fully understand the reasons, which consequently makes clear the person’s criminal jeopardy. For instance, if you are arrested and understand the reason for your arrest, you will be able to determine how serious the charge(s) you are facing are. The more serious they are, the more you will be inclined to speak to a lawyer right away to protect yourself.
If you are not adequately informed of the reasons for your arrest, a criminal defence lawyer would argue that you are unable to meaningfully make the decision to exercise your right to speak to a lawyer.
Determining if your Section 10(a) Rights were Violated
If your criminal defence lawyer can demonstrate that your section 10(s) rights were violated, you are entitled to a defence. This is good news for you. So let’s delve in to what it means to be informed of the reasons for being arrested. To make the determination of whether section 10(a) rights have been violated, the question that must be answered is:
Whether the information conveyed to the accused, viewed reasonably, considering the circumstances of the entire case, was sufficient to permit the accused to make a reasonable decision as to whether to submit to the arrest, and exercise his or her right to speak to a lawyer. What the court considers is the substance of what the accused can reasonably be supposed to have understood as opposed to the formalism of the specific words used. It is expected that officers advise reasons for arrest in clear and simple language.
The law states that the accused subject to the arrest need not be aware of the exact charge he or she is facing or even all the facts of the case. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that an officer’s duty to fulfil section 10(a) is a prerequisite to facilitate the meaningful exercise of the accused’s right to exercise the right to speak to a lawyer.
Why Hiring a Criminal Defence Lawyer is Important
The above blog is but one example of how a criminal defence lawyer at Aitken Robertson can challenge the Crown’s case against an accused. A layperson is not aware of the law nor has the necessary knowledge and practical experience to put forth strong defences.
A meaningful defence can bring positive results to the disposition of your case including but not limited to an early resolution without a criminal record or an acquittal of all of one’s criminal charges at trial. For these reasons alone, it is important that an accused invest in his case and hire the legal services of a criminal defence lawyer. If you have any questions or are facing a criminal charge, call our office for a free 30-minute consultation and learn how we can help you fight your charges.