Facing criminal charges in Saskatchewan can be a challenging experience that can impact your life in many ways. From potential damage to your reputation to legal repercussions, criminal charges can have serious consequences. It is essential that you understand and know what to expect during the criminal charge process. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your legal options, which can significantly affect the outcome of your case. The criminal charge process in Canada is designed to ensure that the accused receives a fair trial and is presumed innocent until proven guilty. At Andrews Benko & Associates, we know how important it is to understand the criminal charge process to ensure your rights are protected, and you are treated fairly. In this blog, we will cover what to expect during the criminal charge process in Saskatchewan. Read on to learn more.
Arrest and Charge
The first step in the criminal charge process in Saskatchewan is an arrest. If the police have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, they have the authority to arrest them. Reasonable grounds can be based on witness statements, physical evidence, or other credible information. Upon arrest, the individual will be informed of their charges and their rights, including their right to remain silent and their right to legal counsel. After the arrest, the police will take the individual's fingerprints and photographs. This process is known as booking, and it is done to establish the individual's identity and create a record of their arrest. This information is then added to a national database, which can be accessed by law enforcement agencies across the country. It is important to understand that an arrest does not mean the individual is guilty of the crime. The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the offence. If an individual has been arrested, contacting a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible is essential. A lawyer can help the individual understand their rights and provide guidance on the next steps in the criminal charge process. They can also help protect individuals' rights and ensure a fair trial.
After an individual has been arrested and charged with a crime, they will be taken to court for a bail hearing. Not all criminal charges will require a bail hearing. Depending on the severity of the charge, a person charged with a criminal offence may or may not be held in police custody. The bail hearing aims to determine whether the accused should be released on bail or remain in custody until their trial. The bail hearing typically takes place within 24 hours of the arrest, and the accused will be present in court. The judge will consider several factors when making the decision, including the seriousness of the charges, the accused's criminal record, and whether they are a flight risk. If the judge decides to release the accused on bail, they will be required to follow certain conditions, such as reporting to the police, surrendering their passport, or avoiding contact with certain people. The accused may also be required to provide a surety, which is a person who agrees to take responsibility for ensuring that the accused attends all court dates. If the judge decides to keep the accused in custody, they will be held in a detention center until their trial. The decision to grant or deny bail is not final and can be appealed. If the accused is denied bail, their lawyer can apply to the court to have the decision reviewed.
Once an individual has been charged with a crime in Saskatchewan, the Crown Attorney's office has a legal obligation to disclose all the evidence they have against the accused. This evidence may include police reports, witness statements, forensic evidence, and any other relevant information that could be used in the case. The Crown Attorney's office must provide this evidence to the accused's lawyer in a timely manner to ensure that they have enough time to review and prepare a defence. The disclosure process can be complex, and it is vital to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer to help navigate it. Once the evidence has been disclosed, the accused's lawyer will review it in detail to identify any weaknesses in the Crown's case and to build a strong defence. This process can involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing forensic evidence, and conducting their own investigations to gather additional evidence that could help their case. The accused's lawyer will also explore various legal options, such as negotiating a plea bargain or challenging the admissibility of certain evidence in court.
Before the trial, the accused's criminal defence lawyer may file pre-trial motions with the court. Pre-trial motions are applications to the court that seek to challenge the admissibility of evidence or to dismiss the charges against you. These motions are designed to protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial. One of the most common pre-trial motions is a motion to exclude evidence. This motion challenges the admissibility of evidence that the Crown Attorney plans to use against you at trial. Your lawyer may argue that the evidence was obtained illegally, is unreliable, or violates your Charter rights. If the court agrees with your lawyer, the evidence may be excluded from the trial, significantly weakening the Crown's case. Another pre-trial motion your lawyer may file is a motion to dismiss the charges. This motion challenges the validity of the charges against you and may be based on various factors, such as lack of evidence, unreasonable delay, or abuse of process. If the court agrees with your lawyer, the charges may be dismissed, and you may be acquitted. Pre-trial motions can be complex and require a thorough understanding of criminal law and procedure. This is another reason why it is important to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can identify the strongest arguments to support your case.
If the case proceeds to trial, the Crown Attorney will present their evidence against the accused. The evidence presented may include witness testimony, physical evidence, expert opinions, and other relevant information that supports the Crown's case. The accused's criminal defence lawyer will have the opportunity to cross-examine the Crown's witnesses and challenge the evidence presented. During the trial, a lawyer will present your defence. This may include presenting evidence to counter the Crown's case, challenging the Crown's witnesses, and cross-examining any defence witnesses. Your lawyer may also argue that the Crown has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction. After all the evidence has been presented and arguments made, the judge or jury will deliberate and decide whether or not you are guilty. If you are found guilty on the charges, the court will impose a sentence, including fines, probation, imprisonment, or a combination of these. The trial process in Canada can be complex. It is crucial to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer on your side to guide you through it. Your lawyer will work diligently to ensure that your legal rights are protected and you receive a fair trial.
If you are found guilty of a criminal offence in Canada, the judge will proceed to sentence you. The sentence you receive will depend on various factors, including the nature and severity of the offence, your criminal record, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The Criminal Code of Canada outlines a range of sentencing options that a judge may consider. These include fines, probation, conditional sentences, imprisonment, and other forms of punishment. In addition to the above, the judge may also impose other forms of punishment, such as community service, restitution, or a prohibition on owning firearms. It is important to note that the sentence imposed will have long-term consequences, including potential employment and travel restrictions. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will help you understand your options and develop a strategy that minimizes the impact of a conviction.
If you are found guilty of a criminal offence in Canada, you can appeal the decision. An appeal is a legal process in which a higher court reviews the trial proceedings to determine if any errors were made that could have affected the outcome of the case. The appeal process begins with filing a notice of appeal, which must be done within a certain timeframe after the conviction. The notice of appeal sets out the grounds on which the appeal is based, such as errors made by the trial judge, errors in the admission or exclusion of evidence, or issues with the instructions given to the jury. Once the notice of appeal has been filed, the appellant (the person who is appealing the conviction) must prepare and file written submissions outlining their arguments. The Crown Attorney will then file responding submissions, and both parties can make oral arguments before the appeal court. The appeal court may decide to uphold the conviction, overturn the conviction, or order a new trial. If the appeal court upholds the conviction, the sentence may be adjusted based on the circumstances of the case. The appeals process can be time-consuming and complex. Having an experienced criminal defence lawyer who understands the appeals process is essential.
Andrews Benko & Associates Can Represent You During The Criminal Charge Process in Saskatchewan
The criminal charge process in Saskatchewan can be complex and stressful. An experienced criminal defence lawyer is essential to guide you through the process and protect your rights. If you have been charged with a crime in Saskatchewan, the criminal denfence lawyers at Andrews Benko & Associates can help. We have years of experiencing representing people facing criminal charges in Saskatchewan. We have the knowledge and expertise to protect your legal rights and get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.