Charter Of Rights
Each Canadian is given a set of Legal Rights, on which criminal law is based.
Most people have a faint idea about having some type of legal rights because of our Constitution but they don’t really understand what they are. Essentially, contained within our Constitution is your Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This plays a major role in most criminal proceedings because it protects your rights vis-a-vis the State. Listed below you will find some of your fundamental rights as they may relate to a criminal case; however only a skilled and properly trained lawyer can identify how they may apply to your particular case, as these rights are some of the most complex and litigated areas of the law.
Life, liberty and security of person
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.
Search or seizure
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Detention or imprisonment
Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention
Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
- To be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
- To retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
- To have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Proceedings in criminal and penal matters
Any person charged with an offence has the right
- To be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
- To be tried within a reasonable time;
- Not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
- To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
- Not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
- Except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
- Not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
- If finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
- If found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
Treatment or punishment
Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.
A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter