Legal Resources & News
Abbott Caron Law Firm in Prince Albert wants to provide current and potential clients with resources regarding what to do if they or someone they know is facing criminal charges. We will also provide industry news about each of the topics below, so check back soon for additional information. Proper conduct is important for getting through a case successfully with the best possible outcome. Read more below about what to do when faced with several common legal proceedings.
If you are facing arrest for any reason, the first thing you should do is stay calm—keep in control of your words, body language, and emotions. Do not run or walk away, and be as polite and respectful as possible. Give out only the information you are asked to, and remember you don’t have say anything more. Know your rights—the police must have a warrant, have already arrested you, or have probable cause that you committed a crime in order to search your vehicle. Keep in mind what the officer looks like, and if you feel like your rights have been violated, file a complaint. For more tips about what to do before and during an arrest, or if your friend is arrested, click here.
Remember, just as you are to follow certain rules of conduct if you are arrested, an officer is obligated to follow rules of conduct themselves as well. An officer can only arrest someone if they personally observed a crime, they have probable cause to admit the person arrested committed a crime, or the officer has an arrest warrant. They must read the Miranda Rights to you before an interrogation. As a universal rule, police offers are not allowed to use excessive force, only the minimum amount of force necessary to protect themselves. By not resisting arrest or arguing with police, they are better equipped to do their job.
There are several things you should bring with you to your first appearance date including a checklist of important paperwork. When your name is called, go up to the front of the courtroom and stand and face the judge. If you are unsure how to proceed when you receive your disclosure package, you can ask the judge to “stand down” your case until you speak with your lawyer. If you are released by the police, you will have to go to court. It’s also possible to resolve your case in one appearance date, but you cannot argue your case on your first appearance date. Other things to remember are to dress appropriately (no t-shirts, tank tops, or shorts) and to arrange for childcare if possible.
Be prepared to spend most of your day at the courthouse as it is very busy and there are often a lot of cases going on each day. Turn off all electronic devices before entering court. Do not chew gum, eat, or drink in the courtroom. Also keep in mind that everything said in court is being recorded, so remember this when speaking to the judge at the front of the courtroom.
Bail & Bail Hearing
At a bail and bail hearing, the history and character of the individual may be examined. Court officials will look at the physical and mental condition of the defendant, financial resources, family ties, and history of drug and alcohol abuse. They will also determine if the defendant poses a threat the community, in which case he or she will be held without bail. Defendants may also be required to limit travel, seek or maintain employment, undergo drug or alcohol testing, and undergo medical treatment. They may also have to comply with a curfew, refrain from excessive use of alcohol or narcotics, and remain in the custody of a designated person. For more information about what to expect at bail or a bail hearing, visit this website.
There are three types of pleas in court: guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendere or “no contest”. By entering a guilty plea, a defendant is admitting guilt and forfeiting a right to a trial. By pleading not guilty, a person must be tried and convicted before they can be sentenced. If someone pleads no contest, the person also forfeits their right to a trial. A person may also decide to stand mute when asked how they plea, although this is not advised and usually only done by those who are civilly disobedient.
Elections & Preliminary Inquires
There are advanced proceedings when it comes to electing a judge, jury, or other legal representatives. These procedures include rules and guidelines for the Board of Trustees regarding elections required by the by-laws. There is a protocol meeting over which the president shall preside over the initial part of the meeting. Fro details on the procedure for election officers of the board, read more here. There are several steps to preparing and conducting a preliminary inquiry. First, it’s important to determine whether a preliminary inquiry is appropriate. Second, a request to proceed a preliminary inquiry is needed, and it’s important to prepare a statement of issues. Next, a pre-inquiry hearing and judicial pretrial take place, and a preliminary inquiry prepared. The crown’s case-in-chief, the defence’s decision to call a defence, and preparation for submission complete the steps involved in a conducting a preliminary inquiry.
Criminal defendants have several constitutional rights at trial, and perhaps the most essential protection is that the prosecution proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Other rights include the right to remain silent, confront witnesses, have a public, jury, or speedy trial, and be represented by an attorney. It’s also important that defendants receive adequate representation and they cannot be tried twice for the same offense (double jeopardy).
Dare to Dream
Level is a Canadian charitable organization with a national program, "Dare to Dream", which is focused on breaking down barriers, empowering Indigenous youth to reach their full potential by exposing them to the positive side the justice system through fun, interactive learning experiences and mentorship by members of the legal community. Click on the link to their website to learn more.