Home//Blog//Facing Criminal Charges: Here’s What to Do Next

Many people arrested or charged with a crime in Calgary or elsewhere in Alberta worry that their fate is sealed. While criminal charges can certainly be serious, it is important to remember that you have the right to mount a defence and to retain legal representation throughout the process. Most crucial is a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system so that you are prepared for the steps ahead and ready to respond to any surprises.

When dealing with criminal charges, having an experienced lawyer in your corner can make all the difference between a guilty verdict with serious penalties and a much more favourable outcome. Using extensive professional knowledge and legal acumen, Yoav Niv, Barrister and Solicitor, takes immediate action to protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial and advocates on your behalf as you navigate the Calgary legal system. Read on to learn more about what steps to take after being charged with a crime.

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You’ve been charged; now what?

Typically, criminal charges follow or occur in conjunction with an arrest. The police will make an arrest if they have reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a crime, at which point you will be taken into custody, read your rights and subsequently charged. In other instances, you may be notified of charges against you without being formally arrested.

Assuming you are arrested, you will either be released immediately or have the chance to appear before an officer of the Court for a bail hearing to negotiate your potential interim release.

Do you get to go home, or are you stuck in jail?

Alberta Courts allow most people arrested and charged with crimes to be released immediately or on bail until their trial. Your bail hearing occurs before a Justice of the Peace or a Judge and may be held in person or virtually (over video or teleconference). Depending on the nature of the crime with which you are charged and other details of your case, you may be questioned during your hearing, or conditions may be set for your release, but most often—and especially with your lawyer’s help—it is possible to receive a bail release.

In general, only when the Court has good reason to believe that you will flee/not show up for future court dates or that you pose a threat to public safety will you remain in custody. And even if your bail is initially denied, your lawyer can help you explore options for seeking a review or appeal of the decision.

Before, during, and after the trial.

The way you conduct yourself when dealing with criminal charges can affect the outcome of your case greatly. Here are some things to consider at each stage of the process:

Before the trial

  • Do your research – You need a defence lawyer with the skills and experience to support you in your unique case. Look for a lawyer who has experience in the type of case you are facing and who is familiar with the local court system in Calgary.
  • Be honest – Provide your lawyer with an honest and full account of your side of the case. Trust them with the truth, so they have the tools they need to mount the best defence possible.
  • Consider a plea bargain – Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer may recommend negotiating a plea bargain with the Crown prosecutor. This can help you avoid a trial and potentially reduce the charges or penalties you face.

During the trial

  • Dress appropriately and behave professionally – Dressing in appropriate attire and behaving respectfully in court can help demonstrate that you take the process seriously and are willing to cooperate.
  • Listen attentively and respond thoughtfully – Listen carefully to the questions being asked of you and respond truthfully. It is important to remain calm and composed, even if you find questioning difficult or uncomfortable.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice – Your lawyer’s guidance is invaluable throughout the trial process. Trust their advice on how to respond to questions, whether to testify and what evidence to present.

After the trial

  • Review the verdict – If you are found guilty, review the verdict with your lawyer to understand the charges and penalties you face. If you are found not guilty, review the verdict to understand why the decision was made.
  • Consider an appeal – If you are unhappy with the verdict, you may be able to appeal the decision to a higher court. Your lawyer can review your options and advise you on whether an appeal is appropriate for your case.
  • Follow any sentencing requirements – If you are sentenced, be sure to follow any requirements, such as attending counseling or completing community service. Failing to comply with sentencing requirements can result in further legal consequences.

Mistakes to avoid

As you proceed through the criminal justice system, it is important to avoid certain mistakes that could potentially hurt your case:

  • Speaking to the police without first consulting with a lawyer – If you are approached by law enforcement or arrested, make sure to exercise your right to remain silent and request to speak to your lawyer immediately. There is no such thing as harmless friendly “small talk” and “shooting the breeze” when speaking to the police. They are trained to interrogate you. Unfortunately, there have been a significant number of cases in Canada where police have obtained confessions by denying accused persons their right to speak with a lawyer, or used improper threats, promises or trickery. With a legal representative by your side, you can feel secure knowing that your rights are being protected and that you respond properly to questioning.
  • Failing to comply with court orders – Follow all court orders, such as attending court dates, and refraining from certain activities, especially while out on bail. Failure to comply with certain bail requirements can result in additional charges or penalties.
  • Posting about your case on social media – It is best to avoid talking about your case on social media, as anything you post could potentially be used against you in court or harm your defence.
  • Lying to or withholding from your lawyer – Be completely honest with your lawyer and disclose any relevant information or evidence related to your case. Any dishonesty or missing information will only prevent them from constructing a successful and sound defence.
  • Failing to prepare for court – Work closely with your lawyer to prepare for court appearances. Review all evidence, prepare your testimony and understand the charges against you. Ill-preparedness could harm your defence and catch you by surprise, leaving you vulnerable to the prosecutor’s strategies.

Rely on support from a skilled Calgary defence lawyer when you’re charged with a crime

Following an arrest, it’s only natural to have questions about what to do next and feel concerned about the prospect of a criminal conviction. With your freedom potentially on the line, you need a lawyer you can trust to guide you to the best possible outcome. Call Yoav Niv, Barrister and Solicitor, today at +1 (587) 968-6721 to learn more, or book a free consultation online.

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I went to Yoav last year after a difficult situation presented itself to me. He was extremely understanding and over the months that followed his experience, skill and diligence proved instrumental in ensuring that the truth in my case was shown and justice was served. I cannot possibly recommend him more highly.

— J. D.

Yoav is genuine and it’s apparent how much he cares about his clients wellbeing. If anyone needs exceptional representation, Yoav is by far your best bet to get the results you need.

— G. H.

Excellent, criminal defence lawyer. Mr. Niv went above and beyond expectations. Very easy to communicate with and responds promptly to phone and email. I would highly recommend his services!

— B. L.


My criminal defence practice operates under the philosophy that all individuals are presumed innocent and have the right to a dedicated defence and a fair trial.

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