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The Real Challenges of Criminal Defence Lawyers in Toronto

Criminal Defence Lawyers face some challenging obstacles. The population that seeks their services for criminal defence ranges from simple DUI, to more major infractions such as burglary and even homicide related crimes.

Hundreds of criminal defence lawyers and law firms exist, but all face basically the same obstacles when dealing with clients. The first obstacle is getting a client to maintain their rights under law by being silent upon first arrest by the police. The police do try to interrogate a client as thoroughly and quickly as possible and most clients, especially those that are arrested for the first time, try to “explain” their actions and provide their own defence during this initial interrogation. This is the time when they should invoke their right to an attorney, yet many fail to do this, instead cooperating completely with the police. Defending someone who has admitted to a crime during an interrogation becomes very difficult at this point for an attorney.

The laws in Canada are very specific about the right to remain silent; however, very few first-time offenders know this. Section Ten of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms spells out all the intricacies of the right to remain silent and the right to immediately contact an attorney. These rights become valid immediately at the time of first arrest and before any interrogation by police is attempted. Individuals panic and try to cooperate simply because they are upset. The police do capitalize on this emotional state, and many arrestees just cause a major problem for themselves initially, even when the infraction they have committed is minor.

Most criminal defence attorneys in Canada will recommend calling any attorney initially, even a family attorney or one that is picked out of a directory list and having them refer a good criminal defence attorney. Police can even provide names of attorneys if they choose to do so. The first few hours after arrest then are crucial and no defendant should speak without an attorney present. There are also several other rights that an arrestee maintains immediately upon restraint or detention and these rights are also included in Section Ten of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Litigation has occurred many times over the past few decades concerning the violation of the rights spelled out in Section Ten of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially regarding the issue of lawful detention, or what is called Habeus Corpus. Habeus Corpus is a Latin term which simply means rightful detention. One’s freedom cannot be legally restricted or taken away without proving just cause, and Habeus Corpus ensures that this cause be present in its entirety before any arrest or imprisonment occurs. This legal writ dates back to 1679 when Parliamentary courts declared that common law and common sense would dictate that no detention occur without due cause and complete explanation by authorities to a person so detained. Litigation concerning the violation of the right of Habeus Corpus dates back to the 1980s, with many Canadian Criminal Defence Lawyers having to file writs of Habeus Corpus on the behalf of their newly detained clients.

Another problem that arises for Criminal Defence Attorneys in Canada, is the fact that many individuals will hesitate in contacting an attorney and waive their rights to an attorney simply because they feel that they can’t afford an attorney. There are many ways to overcome this obstacle within the legal system in Canada, and a good criminal defence attorney will advise and work with a client towards payments. Payment can be established after taking on a case and is generally not an attorney’s first priority when dealing with a criminal defence. A client’s inability to pay is generally not the criminal defence attorney’s major concern, and many cases are taken on initially “pro bono” with payment issues addressed at a later time.

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Pro Bono simply means free, and everything can exist from free telephone consultations to free in face visits and representation by a criminal defence attorney in Canada. The Canadian government encourages the use of a good criminal defence attorney and for simple cases, someone in law school or that is just starting out in the criminal defence field, may very well take the case at no cost to the client.

Overall, a defendant’s right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to Habeus Corpus, are the criminal defence attorneys’ first priorities in Toronto, Canada and most other parts of Canada. Canadian law seeks to be fair and put the burden of proof on the authorities, however, many if not all newly arrested individuals fail to understand this, and blunder into the Canadian justice system by themselves, causing a loss of freedom, financial hardship, and a loss of reputation, without knowingly doing so. The first and foremost priority when arrested in Toronto or other parts of Canada should be the preservation of a client’s rights. This is only done by contacting a good criminal defence attorney.

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