How Long Do the Police Have to Charge You with a Crime in Canada?

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How Long Do the Police Have to Charge You with a Crime in Canada

Are you being investigated by the police? Have any charges been brought under your name? If you are currently facing any such situation. In that case, you must want to know the answer to “How long do the police have to charge you with a crime in Canada?” as knowing these will help you to understand many crucial things and strategize many things accordingly.

Generally, the police get a limited timeframe of around 6 months from the date of crime to put charges against a criminal. And if the suspect is behind bars, they will get 48 to 72 hours to file charges.

However, it may differ from case to case based on the severity of the case. Read on to know further in detail along with various important related topics that you must have a clear idea about.

How Long Do The Police Have To Charge You With A Crime In Canada?

If your name comes in any criminal charge, you will certainly be in a frightening state. And why not?

As a normal human being, having our name on the list of criminal charges is something that will stay for a lifetime if not cleared.

Apart from these, there will be a constant fear that the police can come at any time to our house to arrest us, observe all our moves, can call at the police station for any inquiry, etc.

Therefore, if you are a suspect, the smarter is to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. They can play the most crucial role, right from talking with the police to guiding us in every step—they can be our true saviour in this critical moment of our life.

Except for summary conviction offences, the other 2 offences (indictable and hybrid) don’t have any statute of limitations. To simply put, the police can charge you at any time of the day and night if they have strong evidence or they have caught you red-handed at the crime scene.

Read the above section carefully, because we have shared the most crucial part of our discussion in that section. If you can understand it, you will know how long do the police have to charge you with a crime in Canada? Now that you know the time frame, its time you know about the types of charges:

3 Types Of Criminal Offences

There are 3 main kinds of criminal offences recognized by the Canadian Criminal Code. Each of them comes with different punishments and trials.

Let’s know about them in detail:

Summary Conviction Offences

These type of offences basically falls under the minor crimes. For instance, any indecent activities, breaking a probation order, trespassing at night, fraudulent phone calls, creating a disturbance in a public place, and many more.

So, if you are accused of these types of charges, then you will not have a preliminary trial. Instead, your hearing will be held in court before a judge without the presence of any jury.

Indictable Offences

These crimes are the most serious kind of offences, such as murder, thievery over 5000 dollars, aggravated assault, manslaughter, terrorism, trafficking, etc.

Here, based on your crime, it will determine whether you will have a preliminary trial or not, whether or not you will get the right to choose a hearing by a judge, etc.

Read more on Indictable Offences in Canada

Due to the seriousness of this crime, you will need the help of an experienced lawyer to represent your case.

Hybrid Offences

The hybrid offence is considered those crimes where the prosecutor selects whether it falls under a less severe summary crime or more severe indictable one.

Here, the prosecutor’s verdict will play a crucial role regarding where the hearing will occur and which kind of punishments or fines will be given to the offender.

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What Should You Do If The Police Want To Speak With You?

In Canada, you have full freedom to remain silent if you think it is the best thing to do. No one can force you to speak forcefully, just on mere suspicion.

In fact, in most cases, you don’t have any obligation that you must give any sort of information or assist the police in the investigation. It is your sole decision whether you want to speak about it or not except for two rules. They are:

  • If the police arrest you, you must give them your name, address, and date of birth correctly without any mistakes. Don’t hesitate to give them or make any errors while providing this information.
  • If you are the driver or the vehicle owner, you have to give detailed information on the situation based on the Traffic Safety Act. For instance, the involved vehicle driver must give a precise and complete statement about the accident by law.

If you are unsure what and how to speak with the police, you are always free to consult with an experienced lawyer. They can guide you about what you have to say and what not to.

Can I Give Any Informal Statement To The Police?

Definitely not. In fact, you will be surprised to know there is no such thing as an informal statement in the dictionary of a police officer.  Anything you tell the police can be used as solid proof to take action against you.

Therefore, make sure not to sign any documents, give any written statements, audio or video, etc. All these actions can be used as solid grounds against you at the time of a hearing. So, the moral of the story is always to be aware of your actions.

FAQ on How Long Do the Police Have to Charge You With a Crime in Canada?

We have received a lot of queries regarding the reporting assault time limit and various related topics. As a result, in a quest to help you around, we have tried our level best to answer the most asked question, so you can have an overall idea.

Have a look at the below answers carefully if you have any doubts to clarify:

Question: How Long Does Police Have To Charge You?

Answer: The time frame basically depends on the severity of the case and thus varies from one case to another. However, the police have around 6 months to press criminal charges against you for a summary offence. On the other hand, there are no time limit restrictions if the crime is serious and falls under hybrid offences in Canada. Instead, they reserve all the right to charge you at any time if they have strong evidence.

Question: How Do I Know If I Have Been Charged With A Crime In Canada?

Answer: If you are charged with a crime, then you will either receive a criminal order or may be directly contacted by the police for any further inquiry. However, if the charges are too extreme, the police can also put you behind bars if an arrest warrant is issued against you.

Question: How Do I Tell If The Police Are Investigating You?

Answer: There are some signs following which you can understand that you are under in suspect. Some of these noticeable signs are: the police may call you or directly come to your house for inquiry, contact any of your relatives, friends, partners, or colleagues, police vehicles around your house, getting any social media requests from unknown persons, etc.

Question: Can The Police Charge Me Later After Letting Me Go Once?

Answer: Of course, they can charge you later. In fact, they have all the right to charge you at any time if they find you guilty, irrespective of how many times you are interrogated and released.

Question: How Long Does CPS Take To Decide To Prosecute?

Answer: CPS (Child Protective Services) has an approximate timeframe of 30 working days within which they must give their final verdict about whether to or not to prosecute.

Question: Can You Be Charged Without Being Interviewed?

Answer: Yes, you can be charged without being interviewed if the police have solid grounds against you o have caught you red-handed at the crime scene. Therefore, except for these 2 reasons, no charges can be brought without further going through the interrogation procedure.

Question: Can I Give Any False Information To The Police?

Answer: Obviously not. You don’t have any right to lie or mislead the police in any condition. In fact, these acts of yours are enough to put you behind bars.

To Conclude

Many people have the misconception that is talking to a lawyer will make them guilty in front of the police. Well, it is not the case at all.

Instead, if you are under any charges (innocent or guilty), the smarter call is to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. They will know how to deal with each situation and give you all the essential advice you need to know to avoid making any mistakes.

Hopefully, this article was a useful one for you and gave a complete idea about how long do the police have to charge you with a crime in Canada, along with other crucial things you need to know.