Comparing Private, Public, and Self-Representation in Defence

Comparing Private, Public, and Self-Representation in Defence

If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offence, you have three choices. You can hire your own private criminal defence lawyer, you can have a lawyer assigned to you if you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, or you can represent yourself.

Private Lawyer (or Hiring Someone Yourself)

The most common way that someone obtains a criminal defence lawyer is by hiring one yourself and paying for the cost of it. You will want an experienced lawyer who specializes in criminal law and who is familiar with the law pertaining to whatever crime you are charged with.

Public (or Being Appointed a Lawyer)

Under Canadian law, if you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, one will be appointed to defend you, and the costs will be borne by the government. Everyone is entitled to a defence. Your income and assets will have to be below a certain threshold in order to have a free legal defence.

In order to have a lawyer assigned to you, you will have to tell the police and the judge that you want a lawyer and that you cannot afford one. There is a 24-hour, toll-free telephone number called the Brydges Line (866) 458-5500 where you can obtain free emergency legal advice.

Representing Yourself

We do not recommend representing yourself and there is an old adage that the person who represents him or herself has a fool for a client. Criminal law is complex, and the stakes are high. It is very unlikely that you will optimize your defence strategy by representing yourself. Legally, however, in Canada, you are allowed to represent yourself, and you will have to tell the judge that you wish to do so when you first appear in court.

In theory, a public defender should give the arrested person as good of a defence as a private lawyer that you hire yourself. And it is true that sometimes, very well-known and experienced criminal lawyers take pro bono (and often high-profile) cases defending those who would not otherwise be able to afford their fees. However, in practice, often a privately hired lawyer will give you a better defence than the other two choices listed here.

Michael Bloom is a very experienced criminal defence lawyer, who started his career as a Crown Prosecutor.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Bloom, please call his office at (604) 603-5513 or Toll-Free at (877) 603-5513.

scale of justice

* Professional Law Corporation

© Copyright 2024 - Bloom Law

Bloom Law Trademark Registered - TMA835775

Bloom Law & Design Trademark Registered - TMA835774