Your Right To Counsel

If you are arrested, you have a right to obtain counsel. Every police station or detachment has an obligation to provide you with access to free legal advice. If you do not have a lawyer, the police must provide you with a phone number (often a 1-800 number) for a free lawyer. The lawyers at this number are independent lawyers provided and paid for by the state to assist and provide legal advice for individuals in custody.

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Offence Types and Sentences

Sentences are tied to the offence types, with each type having a range of penalties. Summary conviction offences are dealt with in Provincial Court and carry a maximum $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. The Courts may consider a conditional sentence in some cases where you may be placed on house arrest in the community as opposed to serving your sentence in jail.

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Dealing With The Police

You may be concerned if the police are asking to speak with you. They may seem friendly and say they simply want to meet with you. What you might not know is that they may have already determined that they have reasonable and probable grounds to arrest you or are hoping you make an admissible statement that gives the police grounds to arrest you or provides additional evidence for their case, even if you are innocent.

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The Prosecution

The prosecutor is counsel assigned to the case by the government. Most prosecutors are employed under the Attorney General of the province. For example, if you’ve been charged with assault activity in Edmonton, you will be prosecuted under the Province of Alberta. The prosecutor reviews the information received from the police and decide whether to prosecute based on that information.

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Criminal Proceeding

If you have been arrested with a criminal offence, the police have the option to release you without having a bail hearing. They can release you on a promise to appear which would have a court date and possibly a date to appear for fingerprinting. They can also release you on an undertaking. An undertaking is a document that you would sign that would contain conditions of your release...

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