Section 11 of the Charter guarantees every individual certain rights when they are charged with a criminal offence. Section 11 applies to all types of offences (criminal, quasi-criminal, and regulatory offences). Section 11 protects individuals who find themselves involved in the criminal justice system, from the moment they are charged until their matter is resolved. Different rights attach to the individual at different stages of the proceedings. There are  a total of nine unique rights specified in s. 11:

  • The right to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence you are being charged with. (if you are being arrested, they must inform you of what you were charged with if you ask them, or when you are safely detained)
  • The right to be tried within a reasonable time. ( if you were charged and arrested today, they could not delay your trial for an unnecessary period of time, usually 11 or 12 months
  • The right not to be compelled to be a witness in the proceedings against you. (You cannot be forced to incriminate yourself.
  • The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. (The onus, or burden of proof, is on the plaintiff who is charging you with an offense, to prove you are guilty of that offense)
  • The right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause. (Unless it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you would interfere with the administration of justice or cause harm to those around you if released, the crown has no right to withhold bail as an option from you)
  • The right to be tried by jury for any offence where the maximum punishment is imprisonment for five years or more. (The crown must provide an impartial jury to judge your crimes)
  • The right not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless that act or omission constituted an offence under Canadian or international law at the time the act was committed. (In order for an action to be considered a crime, that action must have already been criminalized beforehand)
  • The right not to be tried again for an offence for which you have already either been acquitted or convicted and punished. (If tried for a crime, and acquitted or convicted of that crime, you cannot be accused and tried again for the same crime)
  • The right to benefit from the lesser punishment in situations where the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing. (If during a trial more than one punishment was decided upon, if convicted the lesser of the sentences will be carried out)

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