Criminal Defence Proceedings: What to Expect

February 7, 2022 Published by
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Have you been arrested and charged with a crime in Manitoba? You may be wondering how the legal process will unfold for you. At Pollock & Company, our experienced criminal defence lawyers will advocate for your rights, determine your legal options, and help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your chances of a favourable outcome.

Call a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

The first thing to do when being charged with a crime is to call a criminal defence lawyer. When you are arrested for a crime in Manitoba, you will be given your Charter rights, which include the right to contact a lawyer. Even if you are innocent of a crime, our professional recommendation is to contact a criminal defence lawyer at the first opportunity before saying anything to the police. What you tell police in an interview can be used as evidence against you and will often make the case harder to defend. Similarly, we advise never going through bail hearings without a lawyer present.

If you do not have a criminal defence lawyer or are concerned about your ability to pay legal fees, you can contact Legal Aid Manitoba. Legal Aid can connect you to legal representation and determine if you qualify for financial assistance. Whether you’ve been charged with assault, theft, mischief, a drug offence, DUI, breach of a court order, or some other crime, it is never a good idea to try and represent yourself against the Crown. A good defence attorney understands how to navigate the legal process and will advocate for your rights, determine your options, and try to achieve the best possible outcome based on the unique facts of your case.

Initial Meeting

During the initial meeting with a lawyer, you should expect the lawyer to ask you a variety of questions to help assess your case. It is important, to be honest and upfront. Manitoba lawyers are bound by an ethical code of conduct and must act in good faith in the legal process. Nevertheless, a good criminal lawyer will always work toward your interests and help you find the best possible options as they relate to your situation.

Request for Disclosure

When charged with a crime in Manitoba, the defence lawyer will coordinate with the Crown to receive and review the disclosure package. Simply put, the disclosure includes any information compiled in the case, such as the arrest report, handwritten police notes, witness testimony, video or other evidence. This information will be carefully analysed by the lawyer to help determine the strength of the case and identify all of your options.

Manitoba Provincial Court Proceedings

In Manitoba, most types of criminal cases will be tried in the Provincial Court of Manitoba. If a not-guilty plea has been entered, the Crown will call witnesses to testify. Following this testimony, the defence lawyer will cross-examine witnesses to try and find weaknesses or inconsistencies in the case against you.

Following cross-examination of witnesses, you will have the option to testify if it is likely to help your case. In some instances, the lawyer will recommend that you do not testify if there is reasonable confidence that the cross-examination created enough doubt to potentially acquit you of your charges. Ultimately, the final decision on whether to testify in defence of charges always remains with the accused.

Charged With a Crime?

If you are in Winnipeg or rural Manitoba and need help with your criminal case, get in touch with the team of lawyers at Pollock & Company at 204.956.0450 or call 204.997.3967 for 24/7 support. Contact us today to receive a free phone consultation and tell us more about your case. We have the experience and skills to guide you through a difficult situation and help to work toward a positive resolution.

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