Common Misconceptions Of The Criminal Justice System In Canada

These days, it’s tough to sort fact from fiction; misinformation makes it all too easy for myths to become popular beliefs. 

If you’ve never been involved with the court system, you might unknowingly be misinformed about how it works. The criminal justice system is often dramatized in popular movies or TV shows, which leads to false ideas about what occurs during a real trial. 

Staying informed about the law will ensure that your rights are protected. We’re going to dispel a few misconceptions about how Canada’s criminal justice system works.

Common Myths:

Youths cannot be convicted of a crime

In Canada, the Youth Criminal Justice Act offers special protection for those ages 10-17. However, a minor can be convicted of a crime, which can have lifelong consequences.

A minor can still face sentences for criminal actions, including 2-10 years in a youth custody facility. A highly-trained youth offences lawyer can defend minors who are accused of crimes. 

You can’t dispute an eyewitness testimony

At one point, witness statements were taken as irrefutable evidence. But as time goes on, we’ve learned more about how unreliable our memories can be. 

Our perceptions—the things we see, hear, and feel—are more fallible than we may assume. Your perceptions could be distorted beyond your awareness. 

Information we learn after an event occurs may alter our memory of it. Due to memory distortions, confirmation bias, and ambiguity, eyewitness testimonies are seldom enough to convict an accused person. 

Police cannot enter my home without a warrant

In most cases, police need a warrant (signed by a judge) to search or seize your property. But there are exceptions. If a law enforcer has reason to believe a crime is currently occurring, that there is evidence inside the premises, or if they were tipped off by an authorized source, they can search a property without a warrant. 

You must answer any questions asked by the police

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects an individual’s right to remain silent. Section 7 of the Charter states that you are not mandated to speak to police officers. However, if you choose to answer their questions, you must provide truthful answers. We recommend calling a criminal lawyer if you are being interrogated by police. 

Only those who are guilty hire criminal lawyers

If you’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime, you may wish to believe that your innocence will free you of all charges. But the unfortunate truth is that a wrongful conviction is a possibility—especially if you don’t have a criminal lawyer in your corner. 

Individuals may be pressured into pleading guilty, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. Or, new evidence could come out that sheds light on what really happened. 

Those who hire a criminal lawyer do so to protect themselves. In the eyes of the court, hiring a lawyer does not make you appear guilty. 

If you’re looking for Winnipeg law firms, our experienced lawyers at Brodsky Amy & Gould can help. Our practice areas include fraud, assaults, domestic violence, and more. Call today to schedule your consultation.