Provide Your Own Best Criminal Defence in Calgary: Stay Silent, Call a Lawyer: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article, you learned that everyone in Calgary and throughout Canada has the right to remain silent whenever they're arrested and/or accused of a crime. Even if you haven't been charged with or accused of a crime, you cannot be compelled to make a statement to Calgary Police or other law enforcement officials that could result in your being charged with a crime. This is due in large part to Section 11(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which reads:

"Any person charged with an offence has the right...not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence."

While this part of the Charter is the primary legal basis for the right to remain silent, it isn't the only provision that has been interpreted as granting this right. Section 7, which spells out the most fundamental rights Canadians have in the legal system, states:

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

Freedom from being compelled to make statements against yourself has long been recognized as a "principle of fundamental justice" in English common law, and is a feature of most criminal justice systems throughout the developed world. This section of the Charter is thus also important in affirming and reinforcing your right to remain silent if you've been arrested and/or charged with a crime in Calgary. Finally, Section 10(b) of the Charter reads:

"Everyone has the right on arrest or detention...to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right."

While this does not directly protect your right to remain silent, it does suggest that you are entitled to consult with an experienced defence lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested or detained, and this has been interpreted as meaning before you answer any questions or make any statements to the Calgary Police, other law enforcement officers, or to Crown prosecutors or any other criminal justice officials. The police and others are allowed to ask you questions, and if you choose to answer them they can be used as evidence against you, but you cannot be required to answer questions at any time before speaking to a lawyer—and your lawyer can answer questions and make statements on your behalf in consultation with you.

The reason these rights exist, and the reason it's important to exercise these rights, is that you are at a disadvantage when dealing with law enforcement and Crown prosecutors. They deal with people accused of crimes every single day, and it is all too easy for them to get you to make a statement that can harm your defence case. Remaining silent until you have a defence lawyer with equal experience on your side puts you in the best possible position to defence yourself and move on with your life quickly and completely.

Contact a Calgary Defence Lawyer to Help Your Case TODAY

If you or a family member has been arrested and/or charged with a crime, don't delay! Get the advice and counsel you deserve—contact an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer today.

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