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When in need of legal representation, you’ll want to deal with the best, that’s for sure! Lawyers are highly qualified professionals with whom you will be able to work to the fullest extent of your will and abilities. However, it is not so easy to find the perfect expert who will understand your situation, your needs and ultimately lead you to a favorable outcome.
Therefore, you need to know the basics of the legal world and your personal rights. This is how you will be able to communicate your situation clearly and have a successful partnership with your lawyer. To help you in this process, we want to inform you of your basic rights protected that a lawyer will protect at all cost.
Just because you’ve been handcuffed doesn’t mean you no longer have rights. On the contrary, the law expressly provides for the rights of persons placed under arrest. This is meant to protect the innocent, those in the wrong place at the wrong time, but more importantly to ensure procedural fairness for anyone involved in a criminal prosecution. If this applies to you, it will be of great benefit for you to know your basic rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms!
The reasons for the arrest. The police have a duty to inform you of the reasons for which you are placed under arrest as well as to inform you of your right to remain silent or to have a lawyer. This information must at all times be given at the time of the arrest. Failure to follow such a procedure could result in the charges being dropped by the crown prosecutor due to the violation of a person’s basic rights.
The right to a lawyer. You have certainly seen films in which the police interrogate a newly-arrested individual in a dark room. You may have thought to yourself that you didn’t wish to be the target of such a fierce interrogation! Know that you have the right to be represented by a lawyer from the moment you are arrested. Wait until you receive his advice before you start talking as it could save you from a lot of trouble.
The right to remain silent. A valuable advice; do not talk to the police until you have consulted a lawyer if you get arrested. The police station is not the place to tell your side of the story, especially without legal assistance! Stay quiet and just contact a lawyer ASAP!
The right to parental assistance. Adolescents and minors placed under arrest have the right to be assisted by their parents or guardian. The police are also required to inform the teenager of this right. This helps prevent abuse of minors when facing intimidating police questioning.
Detention vs. arrest: know the difference! Most people see detention and arrest as having no real difference. Although often seen as interchangeable terms, the rights of those placed in either of these situations vary significantly.
In detention, it includes a physical and psychological element of restraint. The person who is detained by the police does not believe he has the possibility of leaving. However, it is possible to be detained without being placed under arrest. This is particularly the case when a police officer intercepts you for speeding; you are not under arrest, but you are not able to leave until the statement of offense has been given to you.
However, the police will have to make it clear to you when you are under arrest, at least in theory. The reality is that some police officers play on gray areas of law and ethics and abuse the ignorance of the general population to elicit confessions or answers. Indeed, some people let the police take them to the station and question them without a lawyer when they are not doing any of these things.
If in doubt, ask the police if you are under arrest and if so, get a lawyer right away! You could avoid a lot of problems with the right legal representation!
If the advice in the previous section did not help you to avoid getting arrested for a criminal charge, you need to be familiar with the main steps of the process. It would also be very useful to know some ways to get out of the difficult situation! So here is the route that you will probably be forced to take with a criminal lawyer!
Arrest: It all starts with the arrest. A policeman takes care of this step and takes the individual to the police station. Two outcomes are likely to occur after this step. Either the person will be given a subpoena and will be able to return home, or they will be found to be dangerous and detained until the day of their court appearance.
Appearance: A person accused of a felony must appear before a judge or be escorted to a judge while under detention in order to hear the charges against him and to enter a plea. A guilty plea will obviously avoid a trial and it will be necessary to proceed directly to sentencing by a judge. In contrast, a not-guilty plea will lead to the next step in the process and, obviously, to a trial.
Provisional release hearing: For such a hearing to take place, the individual must first have been detained by the police at the time of his arrest and the Crown prosecutor must be against the idea of releasing the person. The judge will decide based on the safety of the victim, of society in general, and of the risks the person poses if they are released into society. It is not all black and white, however. It is possible for a judge to attach conditions to the release, such as a curfew, prohibited places, etc.
Preliminary Inquiry: The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is to determine whether the evidence accumulated by the Crown is sufficient to warrant a trial. This is when the Crown is required to disclose all of its evidence (it also does so at the appearance), so that the judge can assess its quality. When the judge examines the evidence and finds them sufficiently convincing, he orders the holding of a trial. Otherwise, the accused person will be discharged and released, if held in detention.
Trial and Judgment: The most serious crimes such as murder will automatically be sent to Superior Court to be tried by a jury. It is, moreover, the only forum before which jury trials can be held. For other serious crimes, the accused will have the option of being tried by a judge alone or accompanied by a jury.
In the latter case, the judge acts as an arbiter of the law while the jury assesses the facts and renders a verdict by analyzing the evidence presented. When the trial is before a judge only, it is the judge who will have the entire burden of rendering a decision. Obviously, in both cases, it is a verdict of guilty or not guilty that emerges from a trial.
Sentencing Representation: When a guilty verdict has been concluded, defense and crown attorneys will return to the judge to discuss the sentence that should be applied. When both parties agree, they can submit a joint proposal to the judge which the judge has no obligation to respect. Each of the parties can make their own proposal to try to convince the judge. This is where hiring a litigator can make a big difference to the time you serve.
Appeal (if possible or allowed): When a convicted person believes that the judge made a mistake in applying the law or admitted evidence that should not have been admitted, he may turn to the Court of Appeals for the decision of his case to be reviewed.
What is the difference between a summary offense and an indictable offense? A summary offense is a crime that the law considers to be less serious (example: theft, fraud of a small amount of money, public indecency, etc.). Such offenses are resolved with less formalities than the previous process; there is no preliminary investigation into a summary offense. In contrast, criminal acts are more severe within the meaning of the law.
In civil law, the parties can always decide, by mutual agreement, to end their dispute out of court, even if the proceedings have already started. The same cannot be said in criminal law but there is always the possibility of coming to an agreement with the crown attorney to avoid a trial by entering a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Pre-trial conference: a good place for discussion! The pre-trial conference is one of the steps before a trial before a jury. It is held between the lawyers of each of the parties and in the presence of the judge, as well. Its objective is to settle the important points on the conduct of the trial and also aims to assess the possibility of admitting certain alleged facts to reduce the burden. This is also a good time to discuss an agreement to avoid a trial in exchange for a reduced sentence!
The agreement can be made at any time, even during the trial. The start of the trial does not negate the possibility of making the same type of agreement as mentioned above. At any time, and until the verdict, it remains possible to reach an agreement with the crown prosecutor.
This is very likely, because after the first few days of pleading, one of the parties generally finds itself at a disadvantage compared to the other. It is obvious that the Crown has the “big end of the stick” in most cases, but a negotiation can still save years of imprisonment!
To minimize the consequences on you of a criminal charge, and most especially on your family, hire a criminal and penal lawyer right away. Your future is at stake!
A protection order is designed to keep you safe from another person, even if that person has not been charged with a crime. You will need to go to the Superior Court with the assistance of a lawyer to obtain such an order. However, you will need to show that you have real reasons to fear for your health or safety and that a specific person is responsible for this fear. Providing documents as evidence will help you to obtain this order. But what can such an order do in terms of protection?
Prevents Injury By Another Person: By limiting another person’s reach towards you, you greatly limit the chances of being physically injured by that person. It is also your possessions and your property that you are safeguarding from this individual with such an order!
Force an individual to stop a behavior: A judge can demand that an individual stop contacting you, harassing you, or being accompanied by another person when they must come into contact with you.
What are the consequences of a protection order? Criminal penalties apply to anyone who violates the terms of such an order. Punishment can take the form of a fine, imprisonment for less than a year, or community service.
If you believe that your safety is in danger by the actions of someone you know, do not delay in contacting a lawyer to put such a protection order in place as soon as possible!
Criminal law is not the only branch of law that is important as labor law is, too! Indeed, if there is one thing that almost all of the population has in common, it is the practice of a trade or profession in a workplace. Everyone should know their basic rights and what services a lawyer can offer to help!
Collective Bargaining: Do you want to set up a union in your workplace? Have you tried to present the project to the other employees but a member of the management is giving you trouble? This is a formally prohibited practice which is even protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the right of association. A lawyer can take action to stop such an intrusion and even negotiate the terms of the collective agreement once in place.
Grievances: Once the collective agreement is in place, disputes and disagreements between management and employees will have to go through the union representatives responsible for handling grievances. These remedies are exercised by the union on behalf of the employee who files a complaint against one of his superiors. The union must have a good reason for refusing to initiate a grievance. When the refusal is justified, you can still turn to a lawyer for help in winning your case!
Psychological harassment: For several years now, employers have had an obligation to create a work environment free from toxicity and psychological harassment. Such behavior can manifest itself in a single gesture of gravity or in several aggravating gestures that cause psychological distress in one or more employees.
Psychological harassment does not have to come from the employer for it to be prosecuted; the workplace is their responsibility, and by law, an employer cannot use the defense of ignorance to justify a case of harassment that has occurred under their purview. It is the employer’s duty to be aware!
Discrimination before / during employment: Refusing to hire someone because of a lack of qualifications is very justified. Refusing to hire on a discriminatory basis is another story! Lawyers handling cases of discrimination are able to prove that discriminatory practices have taken place in the workplace. Hire them if you believe you have been the target of such abuse!
Non-competition clauses: Employers, sometimes, try to protect their interests by restricting the movement of their employees from one company to another. This is mainly done through a non-competition clause. This limits the type of work that can be done, as well as where and for how long the same work cannot be done. However, these clauses cannot be abusive! If you are bound by a multiple-year competition clause, you could potentially get rid of it with the help of a lawyer!
Whatever your workplace or the type of profession you practice, you are not immune to a work injury or occupational disease. When such an incident occurs, it is crucial to act quickly so that you get the compensation you are entitled to without experiencing any pitfalls.
Did you know that in Quebec, it is not your employer who compensates you, but rather the CNESST? Indeed, the workers’ compensation plan is similar to the SAAQ’s auto accident compensation plan in that it is a no-fault plan. Your employer pays premiums to the CNESST and it is the CNESST that pays you compensation in the event of an accident.
However, employers sometimes dispute the accidents claimed by their employees! Whatever the reason behind their dispute, your employer may oppose your complaint to the CNESST. This is where the services of a qualified lawyer will be necessary!
Chances are, your employer will try to prove that the accident did not actually happen in the workplace or that it resulted from a cause external to your position in his company. It will be the role of your lawyer to represent you, but know that in such a case, it is your employer who has the burden of proving that you were not the victim of a work accident!
Legally, how do you define a work accident? Such an accident actually falls into the broader category of what is termed an “occupational injury”, that is, an injury or illness occurring in the course of the performance of your work. More precisely, we will define a work accident as the sudden and unforeseen event leading to an occupational injury.
The main advantage of the law regarding industrial accidents and occupational diseases is that it creates a host of presumptions in favor of the employee and it is up to the employer to disprove them. For example, an accident that occurs in the workplace is presumed to be an employment injury and the employer who claims otherwise will have the burden of reversing it.
Are there any work accidents that are not subject to compensation? One of the only restrictions on the right to compensation under the law is that of gross and willful negligence. Indeed, when it is proven that the employee claiming compensation suffered the injury in question not as a result of a sudden and unforeseen incident but rather as a result of his own gross negligence, his right to compensation will cease. The only right that will be preserved in such a situation of negligence is the right to compensation in the event of the worker’s death.
How will the recourse take place in the event of a work accident? When a CNESST decision does not satisfy the worker or when the employer opposes the requested complaint, the case will be brought before the Administrative Labor Tribunal. The judge will have the role of deciding between the rights of the parties.
Can your employer sanction you when you suffer an accident at work? Absolutely not! Whether before or after you get the compensation you want, your employer cannot retaliate against you just for exercising your right to claim compensation.
Getting fired is a shocking experience, regardless of the reasons for being laid off. However, it is even more frustrating to be shown the door when you know you have done nothing wrong. This is why the law provides for penalties against employers who engage in illegal dismissal practices. However, we must be careful when characterizing a dismissal as being without good and sufficient cause.
What is the difference between being “fired” and “dismissed”?” First, employers have the right to terminate their employees’ contracts for economic reasons, such as declining turnover, corporate restructuring, or the like. This is what is called a dismissal within the meaning of the Act respecting labor standards.
On the other hand, getting fired is directly linked to the employee’s performance or poor performance. This is not, however, a one-size-fits-all provision allowing the employer to show the door to any employee they deem ineffective. The law explicitly provides that the reason must always be serious and justified when dismissing an employee, but a distinction must be made with one who has more than two years of service.
Two years or more of service: Additional protection! Indeed, the fact of having worked for two years or more for the same employer confers on the employee an additional protection which is that of not being able to be dismissed, unless the employer justifies a serious reason as well as ‘a just and sufficient cause. Such an additional protection does not exist for employees with less than two years of service and certain remedies provided for in the Act respecting labor standards are not available to them.
The recourse for dismissal without just and sufficient cause is usually brought before the Administrative Labor Tribunal and it is the CNESST which initiates the recourse on behalf of the employee. For workers who cannot avail themselves of this option, the ordinary courts remain open to hear their case.
In addition to the prohibition against dismissing an employee without sufficient cause, employers also have an obligation to adhere to a certain course of action in their management practices. But what kind of practices are prohibited and protected by law? Here are some examples!
Pregnant women rightly enjoy legal protection that prevents employers from firing them for the simple reason of pregnancy. This protection extends to any demotion or change of position motivated by this pregnancy.
Then, it is also forbidden for an employer to punish in any way an employee who claims legal compensation which is due to him. The same can be said regarding the refusal to work additional hours if the employee’s parental obligations prevent him from doing so.
What is the deadline for filing a complaint? When an employee is the victim of an illegal practice, he has 45 days to file a complaint with the CNESST which will analyze the admissibility of the complaint before acting on it. If the latter judges the complaint admissible, it will be up to your employer to justify the legality of the sanction applied.
Quickly linking your case to one of the main areas of Quebec and Canadian law will facilitate your research while allowing you to benefit from the services of experts. By sticking to the broad areas of law, you run the risk of not finding the right lawyer for you!
Family law: Applications for divorce, child custody, division of the family patrimony and establishment of alimony. These are all remedies that can be handled family law lawyer.
Rental Law: Caught in a Residential Lease Dispute? Your landlord neglects the premises and does not provide you with adequate living space? Do not allow your rights to be violated which are as basic as those guaranteeing adequate housing.
Intellectual Property: You invented something from scratch and someone copied it or used it? Believe it or not, the law provides remedies specifically for intellectual property cases. The lawyers working in this field have very sharp skills allowing to prove an infringement which is after all difficult to establish with your rights.
Contract Law: Whatever form of agreement you enter into, as long as it includes all the elements of a valid contract under the law, you should consult a lawyer to enforce the agreement.
Youth law: sometimes considered as a branch of family law, youth law targets remedies especially affecting young children such as cases of deprivation of parental authority, adoption, but above all remedies involving the intervention of the Director of Youth Protection (DPJ).
Whatever your problem, there is always a lawyer available to help you in the Saint-Jérôme area! You just need to contact them before the situation escalates any further!
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